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MLS applies for trademarks for two potential USL team names

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It's looking more and more like Bethlehem Steel FC is coming back.

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Last night, Massive Scoop found that Major League Soccer has applied for trademarks for the names "Lehigh Valley Steel FC" and "Bethlehem Steel FC."

Both applications were filed on September 8th, the same day the Philadelphia Union and The Morning Call, a Lehigh Valley-based daily newspaper, launched a fan vote to decide the name of the USL expansion side set to play in Lehigh. The two above names were on the ballot, along with "Lehigh Valley Blast" and "Steel FC," neither of which have been submitted for trademark by Major League Soccer.

This news just further confirms that the fan vote was decided before it even started. Sure, this was a marketing ploy to give fans the illusion of choice, but the fanbase had been clamoring for the resurrection of Bethlehem Steel FC long before the team was officially announced. Neither side had any intention of naming the team anything else, and, if anything, applying for the trademarks as early as possible without tipping off the fan vote's big reveal was smart business by MLS and the Union.