- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 3, 2008
- 12 Comments
We now know the MLS is going to be a 16 team league in 2010 with the recent addition of Philly as the 16th club. But we all know the league isn’t looking to stop at 16 clubs anytime soon. Most reports and talks out there suggest the league will stop at 18 by 2012 or 2013.
The city that lost out to Philly for that 16th bid, St. Louis looks to be a near lock as the 17th expansion site for the league, possibly as early as 2011.
I’ve said this many times before, and I’ll say it again,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber. “We’d like St. Louis to be our next team. … We want a team in St. Louis. We need teams in the Midwest.”
Garber said this right after awarding Philly the 16th expansion site for 2010. The league will play with 15 clubs in 2009 and return to a balanced league in 2010 with the addition of Philly then to probably go unbalanced again with the hopefully addition of St. Louis by 2011.
Still, the final thing that St. Louis needs is some financial backing for Jeff Cooper’s ownership group. Cooper is hopefully that he can get that backing as soon as possible.
“This is our moment in the sun, and we’re ready to make our case. I think we have a three-, four-, five-month window in which to do that, without a credible bid from another city. The finish line is in sight, and I feel good about it.”
Some think that other cities like Miami or Montreal could pose a threat to St. Louis and their expansion bid for the 17th club but with the way Garber is talking, those cities will have to duke it out for that 18th bid. Honestly, that is a smart move for the league to take as they do need a club in St. Louis.
A lot of you have been asking me lately who would join St. Louis if they are awarded that 17th bid, honestly I still believe it won’t be Miami. I know they have a possible deal for a stadium but as of right now they have no clear ownership group. I think before it is all said and done they will return to the city that they once had a club in but it won’t be anytime soon.
It will be interesting though for that 18th bid. I do think that St. Louis will be the next expansion site but there are a couple cities that could sneak up and get that 18th bid and join the league with St. Louis by 2012 or 2013 like I think the league is hoping for. Once the league gets to 18 I think we won’t see another round of expansion for another five or six years at the very least.
Most will be upset to hear this but it will probably be either Montreal or a second club in the New York market. I think all of these markets have a lot of work but I don’t see Miami just yet and I really think it is down to another Canadian club or another New York club. No Portland, Phoenix, Vancouver (unless their stadium situation gets better), or Las Vegas.
I doubt we will get anything on St. Louis’s bid for another few months at the very least unless a solid financial improvement presents itself in that time. Still, I believe by this time next year there will be an announcement in St. Louis about a new stadium and a new club coming to the MLS.