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MLS names Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville, Sacramento as expansion finalists

The MLS expansion list has been narrowed down to four.

MLS announced on Wednesday that Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento have been named finalists for the two expansion slots set to be handed out in December. Owners and officials from all four bids are set to make a presentation to Don Garber in New York on Dec. 6. Afterwards, a meeting of MLS’ Board of Governors on Dec. 14 will see additional discussions with owners from each MLS club with the two slots set to be decided upon by the end of the year.

“The leaders of the Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento MLS expansion ownership groups have bold visions and innovative plans for their clubs, stadiums and their involvement in their respective communities,” said Garber.

“We are pleased these highly-respected business and sports leaders have been so determined to bring Major League Soccer to their cities. We have been greatly encouraged by the progress that all four of these groups have made and we are looking forward to their presentations.”

In total 12 markets submitted bids for potential expansion, with Charlotte, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa/St. Petersburg eliminated from this round. MLS is set to add two more teams at a later date.


  1. Gotta figure Sacramento is a lock, they’re they only club west of the Mississippi under consideration. League has already had to shove Minnesota, Sporting, and Houston into the Western Conference, they need to place a club out west that is actually in the Western US.

    Detroit and Cincy – only one would get the other slot, right? Too redundant otherwise.

    Nashville is in the south, and The Don has got to be salivating over the wild and totally unexpected success in Atlanta, and hope the league can get lucky in some other southern city.

    So those are by guesses: Sacramento and Nashville. The Rust Belt cities lose out.

  2. All the people crying about how the quality of play getting diluted with each new round of expansion… Doesn’t expansion allow for more opportunities for young American players to show their stuff and gain experience? You know, what Pulisic was talking about a couple weeks ago.

  3. So more teams dilute quality, eh? Maybe we should have a league with only 2 teams. This, of course, would increase the quality of play. The 30 or so players would be the best ones in the entire nation, except for foreign players, which means we would have a player pool of 20 people more or less.

    Makes perfect sense.

  4. Expansion will dilute play in the short term, but increase it in the long term. More teams, more academies, eventually more tiers will work to groundswell the talent. The crying wolf people don’t see the big picture. Just need to shift away from pay to play and introduce transfer fees to the lower divisions.

  5. The more markets you have, the greater the national footprint and TV viewers. The only way MLS is going to make it (i.e. have the financial clout to rival top leagues and attract top players in their prime) is with increased TV revenue.

    The league has more than doubled its number of teams since 1996 AND the level of play in MLS is miles ahead of where it was in the early days. This idea of diluting talent would make more sense if the league relied mainly on U.S. players. It doesn’t.

  6. Yay, the pyramid scheme called MLS at work…keep expanding, who cares if the quality of football is shockingly poor, borderline unwatchable…All hail the Don!

    • Since you clearly have contempt for the quality of play in MLS, I’m really curious if you follow one of the other US or Canadian based leagues.

      Thanks in advance.

    • You hate MLS so much, but you’re hanging out on the comment boards for a three paragraph article on potential MLS expansion teams? I do believe that you, sir, are a troll. Feel free to find a Bundesliga or La Liga website. Because those leagues are soooo competitive.

  7. It seems like this announcement is unnecessary – unless Detroit has leapfrogged others.

    If Sacramento is denied after checking all of the boxes more than a year ago, MLS will be dead to me.


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