Sounders owner says MLS is near

SEATTLE - The owner of the USL Seattle Sounders is becoming more optimistic about the chances of an MLS franchise coming to Seattle in the near future - likely the 2009 or 2010 season.

"I'm highly optimistic we'll be able to get this thing done this time," Sounders' owner Adrian Hanauer said after Seattle's 5-0 win over the Colorado Rapids of the MLS in Tuesday night's U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals.

The effort to bring a MLS team to Seattle has been ongoing since the opening of Qwest Field in 2002. Part of stadium's selling point was the possibility of bringing professional soccer to Seattle.

Hanauer said a handful of groups have shown interest, but one group - with one individual spearheading the effort - has moved to the front. Hanauer indicated he would have a role with this leading group, the team would be an expansion franchise - not an existing team - and likely play at Qwest Field to start.

MLS officials could not immediately be reached for comment late Tuesday night.

n BEASLEY TAUNTED BY FANS DURING WIN: American midfielder DaMarcus Beasley scored his first goal for the Glasgow Rangers and was taunted by racist fans during a 1-0 victory over FK Zeta on Tuesday night in European Champions League qualifying.

A small section of fans made "monkey chants" aimed at Beasley and teammate Jean-Claude Darcheville, according to the Rangers' Web site.

"It happened to me a few years ago when PSV played Red Star in Belgrade, and I can't believe racist abuse is still in football," Beasley was quoted as saying.

"People can come to a match and jeer, but the racist thing just has to get out of football."

n Iraq draws Pakistan iN WC qualifying: Asian champion Iraq will open qualifying for the 2010 World Cup against Pakistan.

China opens against Myanmar and the United Arab Emirates against Vietnam, according to Monday's draw for 19 Asian first-round pairings. The two-game, first-round series will be played Oct. 8 and Oct. 29.

Track and field

n Year's fastest 400 clocked in Stockholm: Olympic and world champion Jeremy Wariner won the 400 meters with the year's fastest time Tuesday, finishing in 43.50 seconds to earn a 1-carat diamond at the DN Galan meet in Stockholm, Sweden.

Wariner set an Olympic Stadium record in running the sixth-fastest 400 ever. Fellow American Michael Johnson set the world record of 43.18 in 1999.


n Eye infection could end WBA champ's career: WBA super middleweight champion Anthony Mundine has an eye infection that might end his career and leave his sight permanently impaired.

"The infection's that severe," his manager, Khoder Nasser, said Tuesday. "They're just going to have to fight that first before they can tell what's going on."


n Djokovic cruises at Rogers Cup: Third-seeded Novak Djokovic defeated Nicolas Kiefer 6-3, 6-3 Tuesday to advance to the third round of the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

James Blake held off Jurgen Melzer 7-5, 7-6 (4) in a match that featured only one service break.