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Major League Soccer

Garber reveals expansion announcement could come in 4-6 weeks

Don Garber

 

By FRANCO PANIZO

The long wait to find out which city will house MLS’s 20th team looks set come to an end.

MLS commissioner Don Garber told reporters at halftime of the Amway Canadian Championship match between Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact on Wednesday night that the league hopes to be able to make an expansion announcement in the next four to six weeks. Garber did not directly mention which city was close to winning the sweepstakes for team No. 20 but he did give the aforementioned timetable after giving an update on New York.

“We’re making progress,” Garber said at BMO Field. “We continue – you’ve heard this for the last year – but we continue to negotiate with the city of New York, meet with local political folks and community leaders to get support for the stadium we hope to build in Flushing Meadow Park.

“We are deeply engaged with potential ownership groups, and we are hopeful to be able to announce a 20th team within the next three to four weeks, perhaps, so the timing’s accelerated a little bit. I should moderate that — four to six weeks. Got that? Four to six weeks, not three to four.”

Garber also deflected a question when asked if the New York Cosmos were going to be the 20th team, only saying that he and MLS support what NASL is doing. The Cosmos are expected to begin play in NASL later this year.

What Garber did say is that he believes MLS will continue to expand beyond 20 teams by the end of the decade but that the league is unlikely to ever reach 30 clubs, at least under his watch.

“It’s hard to imagine we’d have 30 teams,” Garber said. “The other major leagues are around that size, they’ve been around 100 years.

“Again, life’s a long time, I don’t know what’ll happen when your grandkids are putting that mic in some other commissioner’s face, but it seems to me by the end of the decade, we’ll have more teams. How many more, I don’t know, but 30 seems highly unlikely in any time period we can see.”

While New York is the league’s preferred choice for expansion, USL PRO side Orlando City have made lots of noise in recent weeks and they are in the process of trying to secure a deal for a soccer-specific stadium.

Miami and Atlanta are other cities that have been linked with expansion talk recently.

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What do you think of Garber saying that team No. 20 could be announced shortly? Which city do you think will be given the expansion club? How many more teams do you think should be added to the league?

Share your thoughts below.

185 comments
    • Josh D

      I agree. NY2 just isn’t far enough along to make an official announcement and commitment to MLS fans. I’m sure he’ll phrase it like, “Congratulations Orlando. We aren’t giving up on NY2 and will continue developing the team for our next expansion.”

      Like

      • drew11

        It could just be an announcement of an owner for NY2. But since Garber is talking about more than 20 teams now that seems unlikely.

        Like

    • The Imperative Voice

      If it’s Orlando it’s an impressive bit of mis-direction because MLS is talking about NY (ownership groups, stadium, etc.) and Orlando is the one tooting its own horn.

      Like

    • Sergio

      It’s NYC2. Man City’s owner is buying in. Orlando and Atlanta are next. Then we have Southeast taken care of and a 22 team league.

      Like

    • jim in Atlanta

      Says the guy who has never been to Atlanta. Are you employed by fox news?

      Like

      • Bystander

        Been to Atlanta. Lived in Atlanta. Saw all the cars heading to Athens every Saturday morning in the fall with little red and black flags jammed in the back windows. Saw empty seats at Atl/Fulton County Stadium during Braves playoff runs.

        Soccer will not play there.

        Like

      • RK

        The popularity of college football in the south is serious competition for any team in the fall.

        Like

      • its always sunny in philadelphia

        but why is that? whats the cause of this

        Like

      • RK

        The south was long-neglected by all professional sports, which allowed college football to dig in and flourish.

        Like

      • Rory

        Right, good thing college football isn’t a distraction in Columbus, Ohio or else the Crew would never have survived.

        Like

    • The Imperative Voice

      4500 people average in a 5000 person stadium does not sound like a crowd eager for domestic big league soccer.

      I’d upgrade San Antonio before them, they attend like a low-end MLS franchise and they have a minor league team.

      Like

      • WayDownInTexas

        Must agree. San Antonio has great attendance records for the Scorpions (Average 9K). The atmosphere pre and during game is so much fun. New stadium (it’s gorgeous BTW) is expandable to 19k and there are at least three supporter groups. Given what we’ve seen with NYRB ,I’d even go as far as saying SA should get the nod over a second NY team. But hey, I’m biased when it comes my hometown!

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      • Joe

        I’ve read great things about SA and Orlando, but does MLS really need another team in Texas? Granted, support is all that matters and if they can get 15,000 avg, hey more power to them. I’m thinking that the reason for SE expansion is to increase the footprint and Orlando seems to have less of an issue with support than a Miami or a Tampa Bay – at least when those pro teams are doing poorly that is. When the Bucs, Heat, Lightining, Dolphins are doing well, they have great numbers, but what team doesn’t really?

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      • Dan

        Red Bulls have a nice stadium…with lousy parking in a crappy part of Newark.

        Like

      • Beto

        San Antonio and Pittsburgh’s new stadiums are great. Really would like to see them continue growing into big league teams. Really wish someone would do give the Aztecs a home and make a Austin-San Antonio rivalry.

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      • NE Revs

        Ha, you got a problem with House Park? obviously the biggest problem is they can’t sell beer there. They need to move up from the PDL to Pro before they do anything else. Austin’s potential as a market end with USL Pro or the NASL though.

        Like

      • WorldCitizen

        Fact: The Seattle Sounders drew sparse crowds during their time in the minors as well. Using an underperforming minor-league franchise as the reason why Atlanta will inevitably fall flat for MLS just doesn’t make sense. And yeah, the city’s other pro teams don’t do too well at the gate, but soccer tends to have a different fan base from the “big 4” leagues anyways. I’ve been to the ATL; it’s the 9th largest metro in the country and a very cosmopolitan place that’s fast becoming a bona fide “world city.” No rational person would expect it to be Seattle, but it might just surprise a lot of people if given a chance.

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      • MrMaxican

        Waiting for for SA as well, looking forward to expand the Texas rivalry.

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    • NE Revs

      Atlanta is just a terrible sports town in general. Thrashers left town. Hawks don’t sell out playoff games. It’s a college football and NASCAR town. Sometimes they support the Braves..

      Like

      • AzTeXan

        Please google “ad hominem.” My team has nothing to do with Atlanta being an awful sports town. Per capita it’s probably THE worst.

        Like

    • Sergio

      Sigh. Gotta keep explaining this: Silverbacks have 2nd highest attendance in NASL, with regular sellouts at their 5,000 seat stadium, all done with no marketing and in an out of the way location. With Major League marketing and games in the new stadium, which will have a lower bowl configuration like Seattle, we’ll be able to get 15,000 to games on a regular basis to start with, no problem. It’s a major city with an ethnically diverse population and plenty of young people who are into soccer, not to mention the largest media market not yet covered by MLS.

      Like

      • Sergio

        But go ahead talk it down. That’s won’t change the fact that it’s gonna happen.

        Like

      • Rory

        Not to mention Atlanta is a fairly easy drive from Nashville, Birmingham, etc… not that these cities will produce regular fans but every club could use a few extra fans every now and then. Heck, I’m six hours away in Kentucky and Atlanta would still be my closes MLS franchise depending on where the stadium was built (Chicago and Columbus are 6 hourse away, KC is 8). I’d rather see St. Louis but for geography sake Atlanta would be good to have a footprint in the south.

        Whatever happened to Birmingham? They used to host USMNT matches pretty often a decade ago… No pro teams to compete with either.

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    • Dan C

      There was actually talk years ago of putting a local MLS Franchise in Glassboro, with a stadium adjacent to Rowan U. Wouldn’t have been a bad spot, but from an ownership standpoint Chester made sense once Rendell started redirecting money/land to build up the Chester waterfront. Add in the fact that the DRPA used money to fund all the needed infrastructure improvements and it still amazes me how Sugarman and Co. are….. everything was paid for by taxpayers and bridge tolls….

      Like

    • 2tone

      Uhm, there is no reaosn to cap expansion at 20 teams. Personally I think it gets to 24 teams in the next decade.

      Like

      • Josh D

        Based on the acceleration of the game and a World Cup next year, I’d think it’ll get to 24 in the next five. There are too many teams knocking on the door and too many successes with our new teams to not keep momentum building.

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      • solles

        5 more teams in the next 5 years? really? aside from Orlando and NY@, who’s on the radar? San Antonio? can’t really think of many more

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      • bryan

        St. Louis. a company Kroenke owns just purchases land in downtown St Louis with plans for a $100 million stadium.

        read about it here.

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      • The Imperative Voice

        I don’t think there needs to be a numerical cap but we’ve incorporated most of the obvious choices with enough attendance, so it should be a Good Sense limit instead. The options outside of San Antonio strike me as reaches. NY2 when NY1 doesn’t sell out? Ottawa? Orlando? Miami again? The gimmes are all gone and one virtue of recent MLS expansion is it hasn’t been mistake-ridden. Why start now? Stick with what works, let the teams get profitable.

        If some of these outliers want to be MLS cities they need to pick up their interest levels.

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    • The Imperative Voice

      They had to fold the last two and Orlando is smaller than Miami or Tampa.

      Like

      • The Imperative Voice

        300K population in the city is irrelevant?

        That bigger cities in Florida couldn’t maintain teams is irrelevant?

        Seattle manages to be healthy despite playing in someone else’s football stadium. You can blame owners and stadium deals but if your fanbase is strong, you survive it.

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  • Bundesliga on TOP

    though realistically 26 MLS teams could do well. well no more than 30 for sure. they could be any of the following

    Orlando, Ottawa, Atlanta, Minneapolis, St. Louis, 2nd NY team, Miami, Charlotte, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Antonio

    though honestly I do believe 20 teams is all we need at least for a decade. Perhaps we could start forming a legitimate 2nd division with say 12-20 teams.

    Like

    • patrick

      you are never, ever getting teams in both orlando charlotte and atlanta, and for that matter, san francisco. The quakes play in SJ, which is what, 45 minutes away?

      Like

      • Ceez

        To say it can’t happen is foolish. Take Merseyside County in England for example — Everton and Liverpool. True, the culture HERE IN THE STATES needs to develop more to make that kind of a setup possible BUT the precedent is there; it can work.

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      • wides

        Well, you can look at any major city in England and find literally a dozen teams.

        Let’s just take a look at how many teams London has in the EPL…
        Arsenal
        Chelsea
        Fulham
        QPR
        Tottenham
        West Ham

        England is just a different animal. There are 14 professional football teams in London playing in the different leagues.

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      • solles

        but that;s not the point, who in Charlotte or San Francisco is ready to step in and fund an MLS team? Build a stadium? You can’t just list cities you think would be cool, there has to be some evidence there’s someone in those cities prepared to make a commitment to MLS.

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      • BumpBailey

        And the distance between Red Bulls, D.C. United, Phillie is soooo vast! And, you can almost throw the Revs into that mix.

        Being a Quakes fan I hope for another NorCal team further down the road, S.F. or Sacto would be great…. The Bay Area is a huge and knowledgeable soccer community where eventually two teams could prosper.. ie Giants v A’s and/or 49ers v Raiders.

        Maybe we can bring back the Oakland Stompers!!!!

        Like

      • QuakerOtis

        Would love an SF team (live there), but I think Sac would be a better spot for a number of reasons.

        Like

      • Michael

        Garber is going to be visiting Sacramento within the next month. It will be very interesting to see what happens with this. If the Kings leave there will be a professional sports vacuum in the 20th largest tv market in the United States.

        Like

  • Tony in Quakeland

    After talking up NYC for a couple years, they would look foolish if they announced the new team will be anywhere else.

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    • solles

      no they wouldnt if anything they’d look like they were being realstic and smart, NY2 doesnt seem to be close to happening, where Orlando is chomping at the bit. have to be able to adapt to the circumstances.

      Like

  • Ryan

    Arthur Blank repeatedly states he wants an MLS team.

    He also wants a new stadium with a lower bowl designed for soccer matches.

    Funding plan for that downtown stadium is based on economic plan that includes 18 “Atlanta MLS” matches: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=504433622941408&set=a.188591517858955.59944.111129092271865&type=1&theater

    Atlanta city council votes on March 18 to fund new downtown stadium.

    MLS schedules expansion announcement shortly thereafter.

    Smoke and fire people. Smoke and fire.

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    • RK

      That was what I was thinking — but it would be out of the blue, after all of the NYC and Orlando talk. Possible, sure, but unlikely.

      Like

      • slowleftarm

        Please. Atlanta is the worst (or tied with Miami) sports city in America. The WORST!!!!! (or tied for WORST!!!!)

        Like

      • Tyler K

        It’s absolutely true. Atlanta has a team. When Silverbacks support swells to a level equivalent with that of Orlando then I personally will happily embrace ATL as a viable location but until then, it is undeniable that Atlanta sports fans are a hard draw.

        Like

      • RK

        That is more sensible for smaller towns, but not large cities that expect major-league entertainment. Even then, it’s not a strong correlation.

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      • 407

        You’re not saying that because Atlanta is a large city it’s OK for its teams to have lower support than smaller towns, right? You get that fan support is not proportional to population, right?

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      • Mike V.

        I am neither for or against MLS moving into Altanta. However, ATL being labeled the worst pro sports is just B.S. I don’t have the historical figures in front of me but I did look up average attendance for the Falcons, Braves, and Hawks for 2012. The Flacons averaged 70K, ranked #11 (out of 32 teams). The Braves avergaed 33K, ranked #9 (out of 30 teams) and the Hawks averaged 15K, ranked #23 (out of 30 teams). Clearly the Hawks are on the lower end of the NBA but the attendance figures hardly suggest ATL is a crappy pro sports city.

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      • Joe

        And the Flames and Thrashers both moved out because of lack of support within 30 years of each other. True, different sports and all of that but NHL and MLS definitely share passionate, niche followers who stick with the sport through thick and thin. I think there is a thin connection to be made and brings up many talking points about viability. If Arthur Blank can get a plan together, why not wait a few years and give it to him then?

        Sounds like a legit possibility. Have Orlando and Atl in the SE within the next 6 years?

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    • Bystander

      Blank (like Ziggy in Minneapolis) only wants another item on his list that will help him get money for the Falcons stadium. And that is exactly what it will be–the Falcons stadium.

      Like

      • RK

        The Falcons stadium is already a done deal.

        In fact, the detail that it would be used for MLS was barely noticed (I missed it) and not a factor in sealing the deal. I would absolutely prefer a SSS, as would MLS, so I wonder if it is a viable solution. There’s no way Atlanta would pull Seattle-sized crowds.

        Like

      • drew11

        Yep. I am thinking NE Revs 2.0 . MLS in an Atlanta NFL stadium would be strictly for the expansion fee and TV footprint.

        Like

  • Matt C in Tampa

    As much as i hate to admit it and i miss the MLS in Tampa, i think it has to be Orlando City. They have a decent fan base, a concerted movement to build a stadium, no competition with football or baseball, a large university and the draw of the theme parks.

    I’d be a jealouse neighbor, but i think Orlando has it’s ducks in a row.

    ps. i’m not in any way suggesting that Tampa should be on the list.

    Like

    • NC Jeff

      Gotta think you’re right. The Raleigh area also has a few of the same advantages that Orlando has, but like you mentioned with Tampa, probably has a couple obstacles that can’t be overcome yet: just isn’t a quite big enough population center, nor seen the game’s popularity here take off enough.

      Like

    • Beto

      +1 lack of other major league sports is huge. Portland, Seattle, LA, KC, Columbus have all benefited from that, portland & orlando only have an nba team to compeate with, thats a great situation to start from. The opposite here in Colorado where an okay sports town is devided into 5 major league teams…hasnt helped

      Not that it should be requirement but its certainly a plus for an expansion bid. Austin, Carolina, San Diego, Sacramento, San Antonio all come to mind as other cities that could use that angle.

      Like

  • Travis

    It looks like its Manchester City in talks again about forming a team in NYC. Here’s a link from Philly.com here.

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    • Tony in Quakeland

      Interesting deep pockets, world class organization (even if I hate hate HATE them)

      Like

    • Redneck

      As a Railhawks fan, I’d love to see them make the jump from NASL to MLS. But I wonder whether there would be enough fan support. The stadium in Cary is wonderful, soccer-specific, etc., but it’s also small and the Railhawks rarely fill it.

      Like

      • Roman Lewandowski

        I’ll admit the problem with NC is this: the Railhawks franchise, by far the most promotable team in the area, is located in Raleigh. It needs to be in Charlotte, the bigger city and metro area.

        I read someone’s speculation about moving the Railhawks to Charlotte, but that seems highly unrealistic.

        Hopefully NC will pull this off soon. A lot of soccer fans live here. I just read a blog article, dated 2011, about MLS expansion in the Southeast. It didn’t even mention Orlando. That gives me hope. These things can happen quickly.

        Like

    • Bystander

      Really? The Charlotte Eagles? Will all 850 of their fans that attend games rally to support this new MLS team?

      Like

      • Mark maxen

        No one goes to the eagles games bc they play at a church. No beer, no chants, no fun. As the founded of our ao chapter here in clt I have reached out to them many times to get them to relax their policies for the sake of having a bigger fanbase. They are not interested. It is a Christian mission, not a football club.

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      • Bystander

        Granted, the eagles have their own agenda but is there no interest from anyone local in starting another club? If not a NASL club, possibly a PDL or NPSL side? My skepticism about Charlotte is that we never hear of any real interest from the city for MLS. Instead, Charlotte is thrown out there as a possible location only due to its size and location.

        Like

  • im only me

    how about if we allow expansion until 24 teams

    Orlando, 2nd NYC, St.Louis, Atlanta, Ottawa

    but say the last 2 stink. Okay maybe Minneapolis or Phoenix or Charlotte

    Like

    • zippy

      why do people keep bringing up St. Louis? They already failed at it. Cleveland is a better choice. St. Louis was a great soccer city 60 yrs ago, Cleveland is now.

      Like

      • RK

        They did?

        No, their would-be ownership did. Without a good owner, no city is getting a team.

        Like

  • Anthony

    It has to be Orlando City. NYC2 is all talk/research/negotiations. Right now, Orlando City have investors, stadium proposal, pre-existing club with an amazing fan base. Finally MLS can send Houston back to the Western Conf.

    Like

    • Beto

      +1, Orlando 2014 (2015?)
      New York (Cosmos?) 2018?
      hard to imagine what mls/us soccer will look then.. But i imagine continually expanding.

      Like

  • g-dub

    I really wish MLS could have worked a deal to acquire the Cosmos brand for this NYC2 team. Starting a new club from scratch with no history isn’t as cool. But I’m excited for NYC2 nonetheless

    Like

    • slowleftarm

      The Cosmos played fake soccer for a few years in the meadowlands with some washed up stars in a league that folded. Most overrated “history” ever. At this point, NYRB have been around longer.

      Like

    • The Imperative Voice

      Style over substance. I don’t think we should pay extra for a name, and all due respect to the Cosmos history but that league failed.

      Like

  • Gabe79

    How about the new team goes to NY and then the league buys out Chivas USA from that terrible ownership, rebrand it and locate it in Orlando?

    Like

    • Bystander

      Even though the Chivas USA experiment has failed horribly and they refuse to rectify the situation by rebranding, it still maintains one major asset– territorial rights in Los Angeles.

      Moving the team nullifies that.

      Like

      • The Imperative Voice

        Failed horribly? I think if you have a team averaging 14K-20K as the second offering in a major city, people would be happy. Sounds like most people’s idea of NY2. But somehow Chivas is unworthy.

        The field product, well, people forget the Bradley/Preki years when they were a playoff/ CCL team. You could fix that glitch, I think, with a sale and re-branding IN LA.

        Now, it could also be an opportunity to take the team and move it somewhere better, but that would be San Antonio, not Orlando. I think they’d be lucky to pull Chivas attendance in Atlanta, Orlando, or the list of non-NY sites. I think as NY2 they’d be attended just the same. It feels like action for the sake of action. If you move you should move to someplace that actually has the capability to attend better. Otherwise we should hush and let Vergara have his wierd little franchise, because it’s attended at big league levels (13k)….that’s good enough for SJ and DC. I know people want stadia for them but what’s good for the geese should be good for the gander.

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      • The Imperative Voice

        “Like to provide real numbers?” Your own source verifies my 13K — last year. Look right next to your cherry pick.

        4 home games so far this season.

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      • The Imperative Voice

        2005: 17,080 / missed playoffs
        2006: 19,840 / 15,110
        2007: 14,305 / 19,711
        2008: 15,114 / 19,265
        2009: 16,107 / 25,218
        2010: 14,575 / missed playoffs
        2011: 14,830 / missed playoffs
        2012: 13,056 / missed playoffs

        Since you claim to want numbers.

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      • The Imperative Voice

        The issue is more the dysfunctionality of Chivas’ organization, which has impacted their competitiveness and is eroding the attendance from its peak; than it is that people won’t attend LA2. The very fact they have averaged nearly 20K suggests there is room for growth if they were properly run.

        Meanwhile you have people who want to move the team to Atlanta, who gets 4500 a game. There might be buzz associated with some of these theorized teams but there needs to be the basic reality check of whether they can routinely do what Chivas as dysfunctional as it is, still manages.

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      • Wild Draw Four

        Buy one get one!

        Moving the team to another area of Southern California, such as San Bernadino, Riverside or Orange County is an option. Big population and tough to get into LA. I think the ‘Inland Imperials” sounds pretty cool.

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  • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original

    C’mon people! Two press conference and Garber himself stating multiple time how important a second NYC team is to MLS means only one thing…NYC get it’s second team. Guaranteed!

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    • Bystander

      Yep. Sounds like NYC-2. Not the Cosmos but another ownership group willing to make Garber’s obsession a reality.

      Like

      • drew11

        It’s not a reality without a stadium. Unless they plan on playing in RBA! LOL.

        Like

  • Ivan

    How about they call it promotion and the team that gets promoted is the team that is top of the table in NASL this season?
    Conversly, the team with the worst record from MLS gets relegated?
    Such novel concepts, right?
    Don’t pervert and zombify the beautiful game!

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    • zippy

      That has actually been done before and all it caused was the promoted team to go under.

      Like

    • whoop-whoop

      Promotion-relegation willllll N E V E R happen. E V E R.

      Makes the game no less beautiful…. any and everything must adapt to the environment it is placed…. or die. Ignoring the cultural, geographic, ECONOMIC conditions for the sake of mindless, rote, imitation is a perfect recipe for extinction. Leagues where it exists put it in place long before professional sports were multi-million dollar, profit driven business. There is another novel concept much stronger: Return on investment. Tell any investor that he needs to front millions in franchise fees and enough $$$ to build a stadium, team infrastructure, marketing ete… etc… with the caveat that the rug could be pulled out after one bad year…. see how long they stay in the room. Repeat after me….. N E V E R E V E R.

      Like

    • Beto

      As much as i would like that to be, i wouldnt trade tfc for minnisota stars/united… The day there are 10-20 big league teams in the second division i believe that pro/rel will work.

      Like

  • zippy

    NYC has not proven it has the fanbase. The team with the best fanbase that can swing the finances and the stadium, is the team that should be awarded the next expansion franchise. I think Portland, Seattle, and Philly show the wisdom of this.

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  • Dennis Justice

    Let me try this again for the MLS-bots out there: FIFA has a LAW that says you cannot expand your first tier past 20 teams. Sepp Blatter wanted it reduced to 18 teams, remember? http://www.nairaland.com/14864/fifa-cut-league-number-20

    They DID reduce the top leagues from 22 to 20 teams in 1995.

    MLS CAN NOT EXPAND PAST 20 TEAMS LEGALLY. They are trying to protect “McSoccer” from what every other serious soccer nation has, and that’s promotion and relegation. Qatar has it. Japan’s men AND women have it. But “the infrastructure is not there yet” for America according to you trained fleas supporting MLS. But at least according to TV ratings there’s not that many of you.

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    • 944444444444444444444444444444444443333333333333333333333333333333333

      trust me, they’d make an exception for MLS. FIFA wants 300 million supporters of MLS/soccer. 20 teams just isn’t enough for our country. We could have up to 30 teams but that seems too much even for me. 24-25 would be enough.

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      • Freddy

        I think FIFA also has to consider that MLS is also a Canadian league. Our league serves two huge countries so it is foreseeable that eventually the interest/need for teams is going to exist beyond 24, maybe even beyond 30 in the years to come.

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      • BamaMan

        I don’t think Sepp Blatter or Michel Platini believe in MLS enough to grant that kind of exception. The problem is that once they grant MLS an exception, then they would potentially have to grant China a similar exception and so on and so forth. The US/Canada argument has no merit whatsoever as multiple European leagues include teams based in other countries. Once MLS hits 20, they need to concentrate on building a legitimate second division. Once they’ve done that, I think a two-tiered MLS with 38-40 teams spread across the US, Canada, and maybe Puerto Rico is possible within 10-20 years. A full on pyramid is difficult to imagine in the US, but a two-tiered system with promotion and relegation between the tiers would allow the league to have a truly national footprint. Without any representation in the South or the Southwest, I think MLS is severely hindering its growth.

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      • Gary Page

        Multiple European leagues have teams based in other countries? Where? I can’t think of any. Also, the US and Canada have about as many people as all of Europe combined outside of Russia. It’s hardly a comparable situation.

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      • MN Footie

        Well, the English F.A. includes welsh teams, and, for that matter, it looks like two of them (Swansea and Cardiff) will be in the top flight next year. So there’s that.

        Like

      • BamaMan

        Not just the Welsh teams in England (and the English team in Scotland – Berwick Rangers), but you’ve got Lichtenstein teams located entirely in Switzerland, an Andorran team in Spain, a San Marinese team in Italy and I’m almost certain there are some others. The latter examples are microstates, but they’ve got one FIFA vote just like everyone else.

        MLS hasn’t shown it can support 20 teams yet. At some point, MLS is going to have to make it more than a year or two without having an expansion fee come in. When they do that at 20, let’s see what happens next.

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      • Beto

        +1 bamaman, re fifa stepping in… If Qatar can host the WC (summer/winter regardless) There is nothing that money cant fix…not just in form of bribes but also economic development..

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      • Freddy

        US/Canada argument has no merit? Yes, there are other leagues in the world that have teams from two countries but the last time I checked Monaco is nowhere near the size of Canada in terms of land space or population.

        Promotion and relegation will most likely never happen in MLS. It would be to tough of a tough sell to current and future owners.

        Like

    • RK

      Yeah, they also had World Cup rotations.

      And Mexico expanded earlier in the century to keep one star team from being relegated.

      The US isn’t the rest of the world.

      Like

    • QuakerOtis

      Because Sepp Blatter values integrity and the way the league is structured makes the game beautiful… right. I remember my first copy of FIFA too!

      Like

    • Eric B

      Uh, you’ve linked a seven year old message board post with no link to an actual source. There is no FIFA law about limiting the number of teams. Blatter said they wanted leagues to have less fixtures. MLS solves this problem by not (always) having balanced schedules to being with. Try again.

      Like

      • slowleftarm

        There is a (non-binding) FIFA directive capping domestic top flights at 20 but I don’t feel like finding a link for it. MLS could disregard it if it wanted. I think pro/rel would work eventually, and maybe even now. I think within a generation or so there is probably support in this country for maybe 35-40 teams so pro/rel with an MLS and MLS2 of 20 teams each is plausible. You could still have playoffs both for MLS cup and for promotion. That’s long term though.

        Like

      • shane

        We are NOT ready for it. The USL and NASL teams do not have the finances and facilities required to play in MLS

        Like

      • drew11

        It’s a dumb statement because we already have promotion. Anybody with the cash and a stadium can get into MLS.

        Like

  • Dennis Justice

    And yes you CAN play pro-rel in most NFL stadiums. Play 18 teams, 34 games, completely off-season to NFL if you have to, start the season at southern states and work up as the weather warms, be done by August. Don’t buy the garbage that taxpayers HAVE to build your own stadium. New Jersey Red Bull’s stadium is immaculate and draws flies. The stadium for Philly’s team is killing the local economy. Maximize what you have. Quality over quantity.

    Like

    • Bilbo Baggins

      Definitely. MLS’ talent pool is not confined to US/Canada. They can get whoever they want, and international players are becoming more and more interested.

      Like

  • 944444444444444444444444444444444443333333333333333333333333333333333

    Relegation won’t work currently in the US. Hard enough to have support for MLS as it is. If say New York Red Bulls got relegated, it would be a huge flop for the image of the league. Would Henry or Cahill stay until they won promotion back to MLS?

    seriously cap the league at 24. Allow Orlando to join the league 2015/2016 in time for the league’s 20th anniversary. And then add a 2nd NYC team, a team in Ottawa (Canadians need it to grow their NT), St. Louis and the last club in either Atlanta or Charlotte.

    24 teams is enough for the league. And say we finish expansion by 2021 in time for the league’s 25th annieversary, all the while focusing on promoting a proper 2nd division.

    Like

      • Neal

        Think it may have been a rhetorical question.
        Either way though, you’re right. No great player stays with a relegated team.

        Like

  • Freddy

    As a Fire fan I would like to see more more Midwest teams. I think rivalries is what will ultimately sustain our league and make it profitable.

    I would love to see: Milwaukee (doubt they have the fan support for MLS), Minnesota, Detroit, Indy, St. Louis.

    We’ve had a few USMNT games in Tennessee in recent years, what’s the soccer pulse out there?

    I would also like to see more Canadian expansion: Ottawa, Edmonton.

    As long as there is solid fan interest and potential owners have deep pockets, I don’t see why there ever has to be a cap. If a billionaire wants to start up an MLS franchise in Billings, Montana and he already sold 15,000 season tickets on pre-sale and has a deal in the works for a SSS, why shouldn’t they get a franchise?

    Like

    • 34

      why can’t Canada get their own league?

      they could have a professional league with 10-12 teams akin to the Danish league..

      Like

      • a

        word……..kcuf canada. Get your own league.

        I think 20-24 teams should be enough for the US canada with at least 8 teams can start their own league

        Like

    • drewcore

      Agreed, there would be some great Midwest rivalries. Milwaukee came pretty darn close, per my comment below, before the franchise “boom” but a team now seems like a long shot for the forseeable future.

      Like

    • MN Footie

      As my posting name might indicate, I heartily endorse the idea of more midwest teams. As a regular attendee of MN Thunder games (back when that was a thing) and now a fan of the current team MN United FC – we’ve got a pretty strong (and growing exponentially, year after year) fan base. Very good atmosphere – better than any other sporting event I’ve been to in Minnesota.

      (With the possible exception of the occasional important hockey game, pro and college. We take our hockey seriously in MN.)

      Like

  • 34

    MLS should add the 20th TEAM by 2015

    Expand to 24 teams by 2025.

    Expand to 30 teams by 2035.

    Win WC by 2050

    Like

  • 34

    every team needs at least 3 and no more than 4 DP’s. The salary cap is just about 3 million. It needs to be raised to 5 million by 2023.

    Like

  • its always sunny in philadelphia

    I predict by 2025 only the top 10 leagues in Europe (Spain, Germany, England, Italy, Portugal, France, Russia, Netherlands, Turkey, Belgium) will be better than MLS. And the salary budget will be 6 million.

    Like

  • 17 c

    Chivas needs to be moved to another city. San Diego maybe? Their attendance and fanbase is weak

    Like

    • Gary Page

      That would make sense and I would like to see it, if Chivas got a decent owner and management. San Diego is a real hotbed for soccer, producing a lot of good players and many residents now go across the border to watch the Xolos in Tijuana. If Chivas USA were any good in San Diego, they could probably also draw from Mexico and then friendlies between Xolos and Chivas would be a natural.The only real problem is that City leadership doesn’t seem very interested and where they would play is questionable. There are two decent venues, but they aren’t soccer specific and hold 42,000 (baseball) and 65,000 (football, multi-purpose). Exhibitions and international friendlies have been held at both sites and draw well.

      Like

  • Bilbo Baggins

    So, I think everyone believes Don will cap expansion at 24, which I guess I can handle, although I do like the 20 team cap.

    The sure things:

    Orlando City SC
    NY2

    The almosts:

    San Antonio

    The maybes:

    Carolina Railhawks
    Pittsburgh
    Minneapolis
    Miami/Ft. Lauderdale
    St. Louis

    The longshots:

    Atlanta
    Oakland
    Cleveland
    Richmond Kickers

    I think we can for the most part agree on this? Orlando and NY2 are shoo-ins, the rest, we have no idea.

    Like

    • Cairo

      I think you should add Sacramento to the maybe group–they have a suburb (Elk Grove) that’s building a stadium, and it would be a great market, given that the Kings are probably leaving (despite pretty good fan support) and an MLS team would be all alone. If the Quakes are selling out their new stadium, I don’t see a big conflict here. Not sure the league would go for another West Coast team soon, though…

      Like

    • NE Revs

      If you are going to include Pittsburgh as a maybe you need to include Indianapolis as well. They already have 3K season ticket deposits and they haven’t played a game yet. The Riverhounds stadium can only hold 4K max. I’d have Indy at #4 behind NYC/ORL/SA.

      PS IndyProSoccer just revealed their team name today.

      https://twitter.com/IndyEleven

      Like

  • JoeW

    It’s really funny to me how many posters are just wrong on this issue of expansion. It doesn’t matter about attendance for prior soccer games (USNT or exhibitions or MLS preseason or whatever). It doesn’t matter if it’s seen as a good “soccer community.”

    The two biggest factors that will influence MLS’ decision on expansion are:
    –good ownership
    –a SSS
    And that’s it.

    KC is a great example of a town that had dreck for attendance, MLS fans for a decade would beat-up KC wiz fans for such bad support, talk about how that team had to be moved. And they got good owners and a SSS and now…..KC is a poster-child for a great MLS franchise. They’re doing just about everything right (or close to it). DC is a great example of a franchise that had almost everything right EXCEPT the ownership and the SSS. They had good initial management, good coaching, made smart personnel decisions, got fan groups started well, were in a big international city with a strong background for soccer (both domestic and international), tapped into youth academies before the rest of the league. But DCU has (until recently) never had good ownership…it’s mostly been absentee ownership or a ward of the league. And RFK isn’t a SSS. And so none of the other pluses that DCU had were never able to offset those negatives and as a result, the franchise has mostly been bad the past decade.

    It’s all about the ownership and the stadium. Every other factor is in last place in the decision-making criteria.

    Like

    • Cavan

      You sir, are making too much sense! You’ll have to say something about why we need pro/rel now now now or why we need to cut back to 18 teams or something to satisfy a non-existent FIFA rule to offset all your reasonableness.

      Like

  • Pollito

    New York. Some people who should be “in the know”, with whom I had dinner this week, say the team will have a Man City connection. That strikes me as extremely plausible given that Garber so suddenly is talking about an announcement in 4-6 weeks. The big money is not as patient as MLS has been to date in making this decision, and the big money indirectly works its magic with the extant political opposition. Forget the Cosmos.

    Like

  • drewcore

    I wish we could rewind to 2006 and get MILWAUKEE some consideration again. I’m a Fire fan but would love to see a team in MKE.

    The city came dangerously close to landing a team and although the market is not the biggest, I think its a city primed to embrace an MLS team and I think one could really thrive here. (Ignore past 2nd division failures, because the conditions were not right for those teams, and I would say we’ve seen that 2nd division support doesn’t necessarily correlate to how an MLS team would fare).

    But sadly, with the growth of the league, MKE seems to have missed out on their best, and probably only, opportunity.

    Like

  • Officer George Green

    I suspect Orlando will be announced for 2015, and then later in the year it will be announced that New York City will also join MLS in 2015. 2015 will be a double expansion year with Orlando and New York ala 2009 with Vancouver and Portland.

    Like

  • Danny M

    This has been a long time in the making. Things seem to be going as planned and that is great. The MLS is over stepping the likes of the national hockey league and even the national basketball association. Tickets and jerseys are selling and tv ratings are high especially when our national team plays mexico in a wcq. Didn’t they say around 6 million tuned in to the last one.

    The revenue the mls is bringing in makes all of this possible. They can’t add 10 teams over night because the league has to ration spending budgets for each team every year. Having the ability to expand by just 1 team speaks volumes and the ability to constantly improve year to year is telling.

    The best leagues in the world have around 20-24 teams or even less. If other cities really want to join than they can buy out a team in another city. Stability and fair competition are keys in making this work. You guys brought up a good point given only 16 or 17 teams are actually in the US and 3 or so are in canada. If the revenue will be there in more cities than anything is possible. Even a 30 team league. I guess.

    The copa libertadores is a blessing in disguise. How can an MLS team get embarrassed playing in the most watched tourney? That’s absurd. Not 1 but 2 MLS teams made it the semifinals of the concacaf championship. 2 or 3 mexican teams make it in to the tourney every year and lose to an argentinian or brazilian squad. Santos won it 2 years ago and I know MLS squads competed against them in the concacaf champions league. It is an honor for them to even consider letting MLS teams compete in this tourney. We already know the premier league is number one so why not compete at number 2 and continue to improve as planned.

    Like

  • WorldCitizen

    Orlando would make good sense. MLS would do well to get back to that area of the country in order to expand its footprint, and the Lions are well-managed, doing well at the USL level, and forging full speed ahead with a soccer-specific venue. I for one hope it turns out to be them, especially if NY2 isn’t ready to go yet.

    Like

  • KC

    Here is what makes a successful franchise. 1) A competant ownership group. 2) A stadium that makes people excited about showing up. 3) A good product on the field. In that order. Any of the cities listed so far, Orlando, NYC2, St. Louis, Atlanta, Phoenix, Bay Area, Minneapolis could be successful if they had those 3, or even just two of the three. I saw it here in Kansas City. You couldn’t give away tickets to see the Wiz when they were at Arrowhead. Now, a new dedicated, innovative ownership group, rebranding, and a state of the art stadium and Sporting is the hottest ticket in town. Hopefully, MLS will see this path to success and choose the group that fits best and not put a team where they think they “need” a team for footprint. I’d rather see another healthy team in Texas or California than a poorly supported team in NYC or the south (I’m not saying that they will be poorly supported, I’m just making a point here).

    Like

  • Jason

    24 Max. I’d love to keep it at 20, really. I still dream of a balanced schedule and a viable second league with Pro/Rel but only between two divisions.

    That way, you can have a legit 40+ cities where soccer has a big time presence that either play in the top league or are only 1 year away from doing so.

    Like

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