By FRANCO PANIZO
HARRISON, N.J. — MLS is still focused and hopeful of basing its 20th team in New York City, but the pressure is on to get a deal done and soon.
Speaking to reporters at halftime of the New York Red Bulls’ scoreless draw with D.C. United on Saturday, MLS commissioner Don Garber touched on expansion and the league’s need to get a deal finalized with the city of New York finalized over the construction of a soccer-specific stadium in Queens.
MLS has been working hard in recent months to try and get New York officials to support the New York project but there are outside pressures – such as Orlando City attempting to finalize a stadium deal of their own that will hinge on entrance into MLS – to get something done soon.
“It needs to get done so that we can move on with our expansion plans,” said Garber. “I’m not going to put any timing on that but we’ve got to finalize our expansion plan. There’s a lot of activity in Orlando and we’ve got to figure out where that fits in with our expansion timing.”
Garber also added that Florida as a whole is becoming a more attractive option for future MLS expansion, which may mean that more than one city in the Sunshine State could house a team in the future (Miami has been reported as a possible destination in recent weeks).
“We are focused with Florida more so than we’ve ever been in the past,” said Garber. “There are about 80 million people in that part of the country and we don’t have any representation lower than (Washington) D.C., so Florida has become a bit more of a priority.”
What do you make of Garber’s comments? Do you see NYC2 being finalized any time soon? Happy to see MLS considering Florida as more of a priority? Which Florida cities do you think would be able to house MLS teams?
Share your thoughts below.