When MLS commissioner Don Garber mentioned that Major League Soccer would look to add two more expansion teams by 2012, bringing the league to 20 teams, MLS fans were left wondering whether MLS wasn't going too fast in its expansion plans.
The league may not be moving quite that fast.
Garber clarified the comment he made at Vancouver's MLS expansion announcement on Wednesday, saying on Thursday that the league is not locked into a plan to add two more expansion teams in 2012.
"We've not said 20 by 2012, we're saying that we have to decide what we are going to do in the next round (of expansion)," Garber told SBI on Thursday night. "That next round would come no earlier than 2012, but we've got a lot of work to do to figure out when those next two teams come in, where they should be, where they should be geographically located and how we will manage the player pool."
While 2012 may not be a lock, MLS is keeping the possibility of 2012 expansion open at least in part to keep the losing 2011 bids engaged and interested in continuing their pushes for expansion. Whether teams 19 and 20 join in 2012 remains to be seen, but it is evident that MLS officials are aware of the challenges that expanding to 20 teams so quickly would present.
Given the early success in Seattle, and the promising reactions to expansion teams in Vancouver and Portland, MLS may find itself with a crop of expansion candidates eager to join MLS as soon as possible, which could force the league to add two more teams in 2012.
What do you think MLS should do? Should the league expand to 20 teams by 2012 or should MLS hold off a year or two in order to let the talent pool be replenished? Do you think MLS should stop at 18 teams?
Which did you choose, and why? Share your thoughts on Major League Soccer's expansion plans beyond 2011 in the comments section below.