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My take on the MLS Expansion Seven


Good evening folks. Apologies for the heavy coverage of the Red Bulls perfomance-enhancing drug suspension, but sometimes a story can take over a day.

For those of you a bit tired of that story, you can read my story on the seven teams preparing to battle for the two MLS expansion slots. You will notice that each bidder has a grade with their write-up. Those grades are the values of their bids, according to information I’ve gathered from various sources. It is still clearly subjective, but the grades are not my odds on who will get bids, nor my personal preferences.

There are no such things as perfect bids in this particular process, but you can figure out the stronger candidates from the weaker ones.

Feel free to discuss the story, and the grades, in the comments section below (and for those of you who have been waiting for This Weekend’s Soccer on TV, I will crank that out as soon as I finish my piece on the Red Bull suspensions).


  1. I think Portland and St. Louis are going to to get screwed. With St. Louis it will be a 2nd royal screwing.

    I see Montreal deservingly getting one team and Barcelona undeservingly getting the other but how does a league that so rightfully seeks recognition and legitamacy turn down a direct tie in to one of the 4 biggest clubs in the world in Barcelona? If I were Garber I don’t think truthfully I could.

    I do wish Barcelona would pick a 2nd New York team over Miami because it is not a top 4 choice for the MLS potential markets among the locations availible.

  2. so would Montreal also require an exception to the international roster rules? TFC has an extra two spots, right? If they want in so badly, let them play by the same rules that the rest of the league does, both Montreal and TFC lose their bonus spots in 2011, and i am fine with it. what? there isn’t enough Canadian talent? well, maybe they shouldn’t be in the league then. sorry. and, of course, Canadian talent would have to enter the league through the draft and allocation process like US talent. one team can get an exception, two just begins to sound odd.

  3. Miami does deserve another team. If San Jose does, then miami definately does, especially given the fact that the fusion played 2 hours out of miami in boca raton. Who cares about the marlins? This is a diferrent sport, the marlins’ stadium isnt conveniently located, and just because nobody shows up to their games doesnt mean there won’t be any soccer support. People from miami would pack the orange bowl every time there was the gold cup here in the states, and they’ve come back everytime we’ve hosted, no matter the teams. What it boils down to is that people like chris want all the teams midwestern and nothern, because they want rivalries and all of that but isn’t considering the FACT (whether anyone wants to admit it or not) that the southeast region is an untapped market that with the mls expanding it to miami or atlanta will only help expand the brand of mls and their viewers. You guys are all worried about Barca Alienating fans….There is an Arsenal de Sarandi team that plays in the argentine league, supported by arsenal, and also an everton team in chile. Both have thrived and so have the leagues from their inclusion, especially considering both sister teams have done exhibition matches often in south america. And honestly, if barca don’t implement a youth system or whatever they do here, it’s no sweat off my back. We already have a youth system for our US team in the works, along with other mls teams, so who cares. Seattle was just granted expansion for next year, which is a state away from Oregon. I think that will hold portland off until next expansion. Not saying portland doesn’t deserve a team, I just think Miami has more of a priority being a bigger city and having no team in the southeast. MLS would be stupid not to put a franchise in miami, especially when Barca is knocking on the door, which they probably won’t be back if they don’t get the bid the first time. Portland can wait, and so can St. Louis if they don’t take the wizards from KC first. Montreal and Miami will be the expansions of 2011, And St. Louis for KC with San diego taking Chivas hopefully.

  4. Miami can’t even get 100 people to a baseball game with half the town being Cubans and Dominicans. Isn’t baseball the sport of choice for those countries, yet they cannot pay people to get to a Marlins game????? Plus they are a winning team and still no support!!!!! Why on earth would a soccer team work there?

    I am for Montreal and Portland.

  5. Ives, based on your article, I believe Montreal and Miami will be offered the expansion slots. I’ve read elsewhere that MLS is expected to announce the winners in late 2008/early 2009.

    Is it true that USL-1 seeks to grow in order to rival MLS? If so, are any rejected MLS bidders likely to end up there?

  6. Positives for St. Louis:

    1. Check out the previous link to article on Cooper’s investors and SSS plans. (Silent investor).

    2. St. Louis sports fans really are some of the best fans anywhere.:)

    3. St. Louis-Chicago rivalry has precedent in Cards-Cubs.

    Negatives for STL:

    1. Stadium plans are for Collinsville, IL — I’d rather see it in or closer to the city (that’s where all the other sports stadiums are there).

    2. St. Louis is hotter than Atlanta in the summer.

    I like Montreal and Portland for reasons other people have mentioned. I’m not convinced STL should be top 2, but moving KC to STL (if it could happen) would be a good idea.

  7. I’ve heard a few people, (including Ives), say that Montreal getting a team may result in a canadian national tv deal. I find this unlikely. Having only two canadian teams in MLS with both of them in the east just wouldn’t convince CBC or anyone else that they should commit to a national tv deal, (even if those cities are the biggest in the country). I don’t think it’s likely to happen until both Vancouver and Montreal get teams in MLS and who knows how long that will take or if it will happen at all.

    For what it’s worth, as important as getting more tv revenue is to the league, the fact is that this is an attendance driven league. I think that should be given higher priority for the time being.

    Also, given peoples concerns about the talent pool, (I include myself here), should the league give greater consideration to cities with established, competitive clubs in place?

  8. Another shift in Miami’s favor: the redevelopment of the OB site. That was not in the works for the Fusion. Fans all over the city are fed up with the past wrangling over sites. Now however, we have an opportunity to build both a baseball stadium, and potentially a football (soccer) one. As for those of you who say it gets hot there: SURE it does. Although I don’t think it is as hot as some people say. Rarely over the low 90’s, if ever, and there is an ocean breeze. Orlando is far hotter with less breeze. Probably the same for Dallas. Real players aren’t bothered by it.

  9. LOL, chris, haven’t you read “how to win friends and influence people?” Or is that not yet offered at the sophomore level?

    Your only point worth noting is the stadium issue. I would like to hear more about Barca’s plans for a SSS. I agree that is essential. Perhaps you raise an area of concern when you reference the fickle fanbase of some of the teams. But again, your evidence is more knee-jerk than knowledge based. Fact is that attendance WAS climbing with the Fusion, ending with an 11.5K avg. Not great, but it was climbing. Secondly, we are talking about attendance of 20K or less for far less games than are required by MLB. Thirdly, some sports have thrived in Miami, even with dismal team records. Maybe not sellouts, but we are talking about stadiums that hold far more than 20K. But as for the rest of your case, it is short on reason and factual knowledge, and blinded by vitriol. You can’t make a great case for your views like that.

    By the way, what is a paste supper?

  10. Ives,

    You are right on with this. I think the MLS has shown a desire to court Miami even before Barca and the other possible owner joined in. For that reason, I think they are probably ahead of Portland.

    Plus the mayor there has pushed for a new SSS near the Orange Bowl site, even without rich owners in tow. Should be easy to convince him once the owners throw in half the dough.

    I feel bad for Portland and Vancouver, though. Those are some real soccer-loving cities. But it seems to me that Montreal is so good that it makes Vancouver impossible. They aren’t going to add two Canadian teams ahead of all of the U.S. cities. And Miami may ace out Portland because of the things I just spelled out.

    Cooper in St. Louis needs to enlist the Busch family or something.

  11. My mistake regarding Gillett and Liverpool. Nevertheless, does Liverpool have any debt problems, like other EPL clubs? That would make a big difference. If not, then a Gillett-Saputo partnership makes sense, especially if the Canadiens have no financial problems.

  12. This is to the Miami pimps who question my post.

    Dear Paste Eaters,

    Because you people live in that soon to be underwater city you are disqualified from making any logical sense.

    First, yours is a terrible sports town. We see far more empty seats at your home games in all sports than actual people. Countless statistics prove you support your home teams poorly. You’re fair weather fans who only support the team when they are close to a championship. See the Marlins. See the Heat. Your town won’t put up with MLS because the parity and the salary cap means periods of feast and famine. Only the wishful thinkers will show up clustered in one small section of the stadium.

    Second, FC Barcelona doesn’t care about developing soccer in North America. They’re only doing this in order to try and pimp their brand name. They’re a rich club that believes they can get a leg up on their European rivals, like Real Madrid who have a partnership in Salt Lake City of all places. Barca’s president Joan Laporta has come under fire because of his leadership and questionable decisions that nearly got him fired. And this bid is the latest in these types of decisions.

    The Chivas factor is also in place because Barca has as many detractors as they have supporters. Like Chivas you will get people who already support Barca to show up and turn away others who will not support them. In the highly partisan world of soccer support, that’s a guarantee. Toronto nearly named its club Inter Toronto but found many would not support it because of the suggestion of an Inter Milan connection, even though there wasn’t. They made a wise decision by sticking with the generic Toronto FC name.

    Third, MLS is looking at places where teams control their own buildings and all the revenues. Montreal already has a stadium that can quickly be expanded. St. Louis has a deal in place where a stadium will be built once they are given a team. FIU Stadium is owned by the university. It does not fit that business mode. And if you try and sell the notion that it’s just a temporary venue in hopes of a new stadium down the line, well then Vancouver kicks your ass left, right, and center.

    You keep saying the reason you lost your team was because of underfunded local ownership. Yet MLS has awarded six new teams since they “made a mistake” in pulling out of Miami. Including San Jose, who lost their team because the owner didn’t like the stadium they were playing in, the same kind of stadium your bid is proposing. And yet they got back in because of strong local ownership fronting the team.

    You call yourselves a strong soccer market. Yet when the time was needed to form a local grassroots effort to save the team, you failed miserably. And now you’re pinning your hopes on an entity based in Europe who are in this for an ego boost.

    Bottom line: Any way you slice it, you had your chance, and you blew it. You. Don’t Deserve. Another. Team!

    There are other cities in the mix that have stronger soccer backgrounds than yours who deserve the chance to give what MLS truly needs, support from the bottom up. Miami’s is a house of cards waiting for a tropical breeze to blow it over.

    Now run along you pathetic posers, and go back to your paste supper.

  13. Again all you hater, doubters, negative posers I invite you to visit, you will want to put a team here, trust me! Having been a fan since opening day Metro and played in Miami 17 years, Del Piero like ofcourse, I have met every nationality of the alphabet and they all attended our beloved Fusion. The team was disbanded in a knee jerk reaction to 9.11 splintering all our lives, coaches, players, and fans. We were heartbroken and cant wait to recreate the magic of winning the shield once again!!!

  14. 1. It’s humorous to read some of the comments about various markets. Miami “failed”–umm…that as a about a cheap owner with no cash (Horowitz) and they were drawing numbers comparable to most of the rest of MLS. One city is better than another? They’re all good candidates. And let’s be clear: with a 20k seat stadium, you don’t need to be NYC. In fact, probably the BEST demographic market in US/Canada for soccer would be NYC–and just how have the RedBulls worked out attendance-wise?

    2. I think it will come down to ownership and stadium status. Everything else is far down the ladder. Yes, Portland-Seattle would be a great rivalry. Yes, another Canadian city might duplicate TFC (I doubt it but that’s another matter). Yes, St. Louis has heritage. Yes, the South and middle of the US is under-represented. And none of those are reasons to put a team in. Chivas, RSL, Columbus are all examples of clubs going in not because of markets or great fit but because: (a) committed ownership and (b) commitment to a stadium (or one already in place).

    Frankly, I see nothing wrong with telling a good USL city like Rochester, Vancouver, Montreal, Charleston….”hey–good bid but you just didn’t make our top two–tough luck!”. Nothing against USL but drawing at the USL level doesn’t demonstrate a team has the stadium and ownership package and while I wouldn’t discriminate against USL cities, I also don’t see a reason to cannibalize that league either–there are more than enough great opportunities to expand into.

    3. I don’t think it should be a deciding point but I do think it needs to be a consideration….there just aren’t enough Canadian players good enough to start in MLS right now that are affordable for a second Canadian side. Unless we continue to do what we’ve done with TFC–basically make it an American team with 2 Canadians starting and a few others seeing some minutes. And long-term (ie: next 2-3 years), that’s a bad thing. If people thing the talent pool for American players is going to be thinned out, look at the Canadians. TFC got a late start on the Academy thing and it’s unrealistic to expect all the good Canadians to leave Europe and take paycuts.


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