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Montreal plans on making MLS impact sooner rather than later



The question isn't "If?" for Montreal Impact president Joey Saputo. It's "When?"

The Vancouver Sun reported Monday that Saputo plans on having his team join Major League Soccer as soon as 2011, with realistic hopes set at 2012.

Saputo has met with MLS league officials, including commissioner Don Garber, in each of the last two months, and he's as optimistic as ever that the Impact will make the leap from USSF Division 2 to MLS within two years.

"We are closer now than ever before in making an announcement," Saputo told the Sun. "MLS was satisfied with the meetings and received the assurances it needed. Our bid has now proceeded to the next level."

With Vancouver and Portland set to join the league in 2011, Montreal will likely have to wait another year before making the leap. But Saputo appears to be more eager, and in the event of a snag with either the Whitecaps or Timbers, the Impact president has "advised the MLS that if need be we can ready for 2011."


Would you like to see Montreal join MLS? What would a potential third Canadian team do for the league? Do you like that MLS continues to expand, or does it dilute the talent pool too much?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Oh, that’s the old stadium, and an old tifo.

    Here’s the latest activity out of montreal:

    Stadium and Championship tifo:



    IMFC is one of the oldest teams in North America, older than the MLS.

    Some of you may not like it, but its a name that’s known all across the Americas and even the world.

    It may have been weird at first, a typical 90’s name, but now that name carries 4 stars with it, numerous leagues and an overall tremendous history that most teams lack.

    It’s an institution now, even with the name. If you don’t like weird names, go talk to Grasshopper Zurich and the Bern Young Boys before starting with us.

    If anyone is unable to see the potential here, a city in a new stadium with a rich, committed owner, get your eyes checked.

    This situation as it stands now, would already be great in the MLS, imagine the effect of the MLS bump that happened in Toronto and Seattle.

    See you around very soon!

  2. I will miss the Impact v Rhinos USL games, but agree Montreal should get into MLS asap.

    And also agree Rhinos v Sounders were also good matches.

    But Rochester is not an MLS city – the whole promo/relegation thing is a tough sell to ownership – and for TV contracts.

    On other hand Montreal, a large and Euro-feeling Francophone city should help attract some more talent into the league.

    The Northern tier of MLS newbies Seattle, Toronto, Montreal televised games will help teach the deadwood teams and their fans how to build atmosphere – and how to draw crowds/make money. Atlanta…is a fine USL market.

  3. MLS and Canadian soccer are so intertwined that the only way there will be an independent Canadian professional league is if it is part of MLS. Two leagues in one corporate umbrella.

  4. But like I said Charlotte has less to compete with than atlanta which makes it more viable.

    The population in the Charlotte metro area is around 1.7 million which is good and I know that is much smaller than the Atlanta metro area which has 5.4 million, but the Charlotte metro area is comparable to other MLS markets that are already in place.

    Kansas City metro- 2 million
    San Jose metro- 1.8 million
    Columbus metro- 1.8 million
    Salt Lake City metro- 1.1 million

    The Smaller metro area has the potential to lead to a better location for the stadium.

    New York Metro area def needs a second team…. it just needs to be in either Brooklyn or Queens… I love the red bulls but they play in New Jersey. You need to drive if you want to get to the Meadowlands comfortably… now that they are moving to Harrison, New Jersey I could take the train there but that team really belongs to New Jersey…. We in the five boroughs need our own team…. Brooklyn and Queens are so diverse that with the right placement of the stadium we would be able to fill …. as far as the red bulls go there new stadium is going to be full as well because they built it right next to a path train line and directly across the river from one of the biggest Portuguese speaking communities in the United States… they just need to bring a couple of young Brazilians and call it a day.

    P.S. The combined population of both Brooklyn and Queens is 4.8 million…. and that is just two of the five boroughs….. we deserve a team of our own

  5. Very good point. I don’t understand why it’s not standard procedure. I saw a Dallas/Chicago game in Dallas a few years back that was held in the Summer at about 1PM. Everyone (even Blanco who is used to the heat) was gassed after ten minutes and it was slow motion and bad ball control from that point onward. I lived in Houston for a while and it can still be brutally hot at night by the standards of most of the country, but at least the sun is not beating down making it worse.

  6. Atlanta is just so much bigger than any other southern city that it would have to be a prohibitive favorite. The challenge would be to build a stadium in a place where wealthy suburbanite families AND city-dwelling young folks and Latinos could get there in less than an hour.

    A lot of Atlantans don’t even bother doing anything on the other side of the perimeter. Traffic is THAT bad.

  7. Houston is hotter and more humid than any southeastern city except possibly New Orleans. And yet they have been a success.

    MLS should do what Southerners do: don’t bother trying to do anything outside on July and August afternoons. The league could easily schedule night games for any southern teams during the hottest part of the year.

  8. Sninho, I live in Nashville, and while I would love to see a team in the southeast, until a committed ownership group who can meet MLS’ financial requirements steps up, MLS will not expand in our region.

    Believe me, the problem isn’t that MLS doesn’t want to expand to the southeast. It’s that no one who can put the money out has demonstrated a commitment to MLS.

    (That said, I’m not entirely confident that there is a southeastern city who will support MLS at the level that recent expansion cities have demonstrated. Atlanta is, by far, the biggest city in the region, but the sprawling geography and the demographics could make it a new FC Dallas. The next tier are Charlotte and Nashville, who can definitely support major league teams and I believe are great soccer markets, even with 1.5 million or thereabouts would be among the smallest markets in the league. Memphis once had an NASL team, but it’s a much different and poorer place now, and is basically a southern version of a declining rust belt city. New Orleans, though larger, has similar problems to Memphis. Birmingham and Louisville are too small. That really leaves the Triangle region of NC, which is a great soccer market, though it’s not larger than Charlotte or Nashville and is much more spread out. Ownership aside, what are your thoughts on markets?)

  9. Additionally, DC United wanted the District of Columbia to pay for infrastructure and utility improvements. They argued that ANY development of the site at Poplar Point would require such improvements. This was a sticking point, and rather than lay out many millions of dollars, the DC government decided against developing Poplar Point until the economy improves.

    Self-inflicted wound from DC United. What they need to do is build a stadium without expecting the public to pay for anything, including land and the incremental costs of preparing the site. If they’re that confident of their prestige and the number and commitment of their fans, they would do it.

  10. Raleigh has a pretty good soccer culture. I wonder how a team would do in Charlotte or Raleigh. That said, for whatever reason, pro sports in Atlanta have never done well attendance-wise unless the team was winning.

  11. Impact? What a horrible name. Thats embarrassing. Sounds like arena football or indoor lacrosse. No wonder MLS is a joke to the rest of the world.

    Other than that, I think a team in Montreal is a good idea, but the priority needs to be a team in NYC proper. London has 5 teams, but NY has 0. Do you really think an immigrant from Central America will travel from Queens to Newark to watch the red bulls???

  12. It’s understandable that people in the sunbelt want an MLS team in their area, but under the present MLS schedule I would be against it. The game was never meant to be played in blazing heat and I’ve watched enough Dallas games to know that the Summer heat just kills the pace and the quality of the game. Switch to an international schedule and Atlanta, etc are perfect. However, New York, Chicago, Toronto are practically unplayable on an international schedule. Perhaps the solution is to go to an international schedule play most games Aug-Nov up North, most of the dec-feb games in sunbelt cities and March through May all over the place. The quality of the games really suffer above 85F and below 25F. There’s got to be a way to sort this out without domed stadia.

  13. Thank you Rory for using actual facts to dispute this guy. He pisses me off so much with his blind hatred for the south and for my home of Atlanta in particular, that I could only think of 4-letter words in response.

  14. Does anyone else out there cringe when they hear names like Impact? I’m no snob or Europhile, but it sounds like one of those XFL teams that folded a few years back. I suggest changing the name to Fleur De Lis Montreal and coming out in the blue and white of France. Bring on the tribalism!

  15. Despite what some think, Atlanta could support an MLS team in today’s society. They probably couldn’t 10 years ago, but they can now. I’m from an Atlanta suburb so I’m slightly biased but I also know what i’m talking about. Midtown Atlanta is full of trendy 20 somethings who would love to regularly attend matches because it’s a “cool” thing to do. Additionally, Georgia (specifically the metro Atlanta area) has a huge soccer following and an explosion of popularity at the youth and high school level. The fanbase would be on the young side, but it could draw fans well in my opinion.

  16. I’m not totally disagreeing with you but I still argue that Chivas USA still serves as a feeder club for Chivas Guadalajara. If I’m not mistaken, wasn’t Barcelona interested in establishing an MLS club a while back? It would have been the same relationship with that club.

    I actually think that would be be really coo, having Man Utd and Arsenal clubs in MLS. It would help those club’s brand awareness here in America.

  17. Chivas USA should have a similar special rule as the Canadian teams where they can have more international players (13) than USA MLS (8) teams … however, they should be Mexican players. This way it plays-up the Mexico vs USA thing and makes the Chivas USA brand stronger for their fans.

    As a DC United fan, perhaps they should sell stock or shares to raise money for a stadium. This way fans will have even more interest and stake in the team.

  18. So Atlanta is in the middle of the pack of the MLB and NFL. But if you take out the cities with bigger crowds at their MLB/NFL games that ALREADY have an MLS teams you’ll see Atlanta doesn’t look that bad.

    In MLB terms they are the 4th best baseball crowd in a non-MLS city (not counting SF which I don’t count because of SJ failing in that neighborhood already). While Saint Louis would make more sense maybe, would you see a MLS team suceeding in Milwaukee or Detroit right now? Probably not… what about Minnesota?

    In the NFL Atlanta is the 9th most attended non-MLS city. But once again, do you think a MLS team would do better in Carolina which is 6th most attended in NFL. Maybe, what about Baltimore (7th), probably not since DC is in the neighborhood already. Green Bay is a definate no (8th), New Orleans would be interesting (11th), Nasvhille is 14th most attended NFL city and could have a team, but Cleveland is not an option since the Crew are 2 hours away.

    It’s not really a case of how well the cities fans have done for other teams, it’s more a case of what other city could do better?

    By the way, it’s hard to use baseball crowds as evidence of a MLS support since MONTREAL COULDN’T KEEP ITS OWN MLB TEAM.

  19. If the Coca-Cola Championship can run a league with 24 teams why cant the MLS? I know we’re not first division, but hell, Scotland uses a 12 team league so it’s not like it’s set in stone throughout the world.

    Want to save money on traveling MLS, two 12 team conferences divided by Geography with few cross-country trips would save money. Play everyone in your conference home and away and everyone in the other conference once for a total of 33 games.

  20. Should fit in nicely with Seattle’s Fans then.

    I just don’t like having even more turf fields in the league.

    Plus, the entire Southeastern US is missing from the MLS.

  21. I think theres some limits on how many Americans they can have, but no, they don’t count like a foriegner does for a US based team.

  22. Once the Canadian pool of talent is thinned a little TFC will be struggling. Remember, this is a TFC team that hasn’t even made the playoffs yet, right?

  23. If DCU would move to Saint Louis then the politicians might get serious about a stadium for when they get reborn ala San Jose a few years later.

  24. sounds good to me. they already have a few things that a few MLS teams have spent years trying to built; a stadium, fan base and international cup success.

    a 19 team league might be awkward but a 20th team in North Carolina or Miami should be a reality by 2014… just thinking but it sounds good to me

  25. Jerome, as a person who is a “activist” in the general neighborhood area where there was a plan to build a stadium, the plan was not sinked by Mayor Fenty and his people—and I am NOT a Fenty supporter!

    The reason it was sunk was because the owner/investor brought in by AEG to purchase DC United, Victor MacFarlane, didn’t want the team, he wanted the development rights in that area. At first his public promise was to build the stadium with his own money, while downplaying the fact that if he wasn’t granted the development rights he had no interest in building a stadium for the team.

    Both in DC, and then in Maryland, his public statements about how much he would pay for a stadium was always another story in private meetings when he asked governments to pay for the bulk of his stadium.

    I can’t speak for Maryland residents, but as a DC resident, and also a big soccer fan, if my choice is a stadium for DC United with more than 50% financing and cost overruns to be paid for by the city, OR no MLS team at all, then see ya later DC United.

  26. As much as I like the idea of promotion-relegation I agree it will never happen in the US. Mostly because there are to many teams currently in the MLS that would end up in the second division. It would take some major convincing to get the current owners to agree on such a system. This discussion does show that MLS has come a long way and is in pretty good shape at the moment. I think they league needs to address some major issues first before it can expand even more. The most important one is player development. Not having a reserve league is a major mistake and needs to return. That is the only way to have the player pool grow to accommodate more teams in the future.

  27. If Uncle Joey and company are going to pay the full price then, hey–let ’em in. Just as long as he stopped asking for a discount based largely on already having an established franchise and the variance in the currency exchange rate…

  28. I was reading where 3-4 years ago DC United had a plan and was going to pay for almost all of the new stadium costs and sorrounding development which was looking ideal to the higher officials, and it looked like it was about to be approved until the new election and new Mayor Fenty and his people destroyed the deal. And its been in limbo ever since

  29. Good post.

    But you don’t really see it being feasible do you? Maybe if soccer gets as big as the NFL, then it could survive financially?

    So maybe in theory a guy like me could like this. Rochester Rhinos was a great team for the Sounders to play against. Fun games, don’t really see them in MLS, but they could be in a single entity system with pro-rel.

    But in reality, the Jerry Jones/Steinbrenner’s of the MLS will not want to do that. They draw 100,000 people to games with a huge TV audiance….to pay the Rochester owner money ?


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