Update: Ranking Expansion Hopefuls

Update: Ranking Expansion Hopefuls

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On January 17, 2009
  • 22 Comments
  • Atlanta Expansion, Expansion Hopefuls, Miami Expansion, MLS Expansion, Montreal Expansion, Ottawa Expansion, Portland Expansion, St. Louis Expansion, Vancouver Expansion
Miami is still the front-runner for the expansion race.

Miami is still the front-runner for the expansion race.

We started a few months ago with seven hopefuls. Now we are looking at just five. Montreal cooled their jets about MLS expansion back at MLS Cup  and Atlanta did the same last week during the SuperDraft.

Five cities remain in what is starting to sound like a nasty episode of Survivor. Portland, Vancouver, Ottawa, Miami and St. Louis remain. Only two will move on.

Yeah, sounds too much like a reality show.

Anyways, what do we make of the final five here? Will another fall through before the league announces their plans? It’s possible with comments Don Garber made about St. Louis and their situation recently.

Money is still a big issues with most of these bids. Even if the owners have deep pockets that still may not be good enough for the league. And even if the bids have good stadium projects it may not matter.

So where do I see the remaining five? I figured it would be best to rank the final cities before the league made their decision. Here is where I see them standing right now. You may agree or disagree with what I am about to say, and that is fine. Just because a city is ranked above another does not mean I fully support it’s bid for expansion. I think you all know that already though.

[And please spare us all from the typical “City Name and 2010 or 2011” comments…if you have anything to say about this stuff please actually put a thoughtful comment on here and not something that I will want to delete. Believe I get way too tired of saying those kinds of comments everywhere I go that has an expansion discussion. Sorry for the rant. ]

1. Miami

It’s pretty clear that the league won’t be able to pass up this bid. Barca Miami or whatever it will be called (God I hope they come up with an actual name and not that) is bid with loads of money…and a big name in FCB. The league’s relationship with the Spanish club would probably go to waste if this bid is passed up for some reason. I have my doubt about it as I have probably made clear but for right now they are the clear favorites to be selected for a bid.

Now I also don’t think they will be a MLS club in 2010. Even if Philly continues to have issues I just don’t buy into Miami being back in the league as early as next year. Just my opinion though. I’m sure there will be floods of comments with Miami 2010 or whatever.

I still believe that the Barca owners have no idea what they are really getting into as far as dealing with MLS roster rules and such go. I know it will be more on Marcelo Claure to do the day-to-day running of this club but even he won’t be able to handle the weird rules that the league imposes on clubs. But that is a story for another day.

Pluses on the bid: Loads of money, big name.

Minuses on the bid: History in Miami, Stadium deal isn’t as sweet as some think it is due to two words: Field Turf.

2. Portland

The more bad press St. Louis gets the better for Portland. I know their owners are trying to do whatever they can to get a bid in place for 2011. Right now I have them getting in because I do see Paulson ponying up the cash to get the renovations in place at PGE Park and enough to pay the expansion fee. But if St. Louis get’s their act together in the bank department they may get the nod above Portland…it just all comes down to who the league sees having more money and right now it is Portland.

Pluses on the bid: History in city, supporters group larger than any other bid, most MLS-ready of any bid.

Minuses on the bid: Stadium situation needs to be resolved, money still not all there.

3. St. Louis

This one was tough for me but right now it looks like St. Louis may get left out yet again. The money is the real issue with this bid still and the league continues to discuss it. Not a good sign. Thing is the league wants to be there and they will before long. It just may not be in 2011. In 2013 or whenever I would have to think a deal will finally work out. Sad part too since they actually have a legit stadium plan and not some shared facility with a college.

Pluses on the bid: Stadium deal (the only one with a legit stadium and not a renovation or shared deal), history of the sport in the city.

Minuses on the bid: Money situation.

4. Vancouver

Montreal dropping out really opened the door for Vancouver but right now the bid just isn’t as strong as the other American bids. Sure the makeover to BC Place is nice but let’s be real honest about it here, the league doesn’t have to go to another Canadian city right away again. Toronto has been great but the next Canadian city can wait a little while longer.

Vancouver could still sneak in over Portland but I just don’t think they will right now. The league wants a true rival to Seattle and Portland would be better at that than Vancouver. I know Vancouver supporters will claim that they will be a rival for Seattle and Toronto but I think TFC will be fine without Vancouver where as Seattle will not thrive as well without Portland.

Pluses on the bid: Rivalries to Seattle/Toronto, money situation may be just as good as Miami.

Minuses on the bid: Stadium deal isn’t that great, would be better with a true soccer stadium.

5. Ottawa

Why was this a bid in the first place? How it is still standing is another thing. At least they can say they won’t be dead last in this since Atlanta and Montreal backed out. Its just sad this ownership group wasn’t in another city or we may be talking about it more.

Pluses on the bid: Stadium deal was pretty nice.

Minuses on the bid: Everything else. Just a waste of a bid really.

  • Jason D

    I'm of the opinion that, short of a major and rapid improvement in quality (which ain't gonna happen), the league's immediate growth will be driven by atmosphere. Even in the U.S. there aren't many sports that can rival soccer for pure passion in the stands. That being said, I'm hoping Portland's bid comes through; they have a built in fan base (which is pretty rowdy from what I've seen) and an automatic rivalry with Seattle. Both those things should be major feathers in their cap. Now we'll see if the league thinks so.

  • Luis

    Stop with the field turf. Miami will start in 2010.

  • I’m of the opinion that, short of a major and rapid improvement in quality (which ain’t gonna happen), the league’s immediate growth will be driven by atmosphere. Even in the U.S. there aren’t many sports that can rival soccer for pure passion in the stands. That being said, I’m hoping Portland’s bid comes through; they have a built in fan base (which is pretty rowdy from what I’ve seen) and an automatic rivalry with Seattle. Both those things should be major feathers in their cap. Now we’ll see if the league thinks so.

  • Geoff

    No way Miami is in place for 2010. The Miami bid never made much sense in the first place and the only reason why it looks the favourite is because Barcelona is involved. The Fusion failed, all sports clubs fail in Miami. I want to see it succeed but can't see it. Montreal made so much sense in every way. It's unfortunate that Saputo can't see eye to eye with Garber. Portland is a must because of the support and rivalry with Seattle and possibly San Jose. I actually have a question Drew. I read on some blog that this is the last expansion because the FIFA rules and regulations state each top league in the world has to have 18 clubs maximum but the Premiership has 20 clubs so that can't be right? I personally think they should add Montreal, Portland, Vancouver, St Louis, Miami, Ottawa and Atlanta they all looked like good bids.

  • John

    To Bad Geoff for you Miami hater. Miami will go in 2010. News coming soon.

  • Luis

    Stop with the field turf. Miami will start in 2010.

  • TheUltra

    Damn Miami does not deserve a team!

  • SDM

    If Barca wasn't involved in the Miami bid, would people still think it was a shoe-in? I doubt it. And people, just because someone thinks Miami won't get a team doesn't make them "haters". They simply think that other cites have better bids. Quit acting like middle school kids.

  • Geoff

    No way Miami is in place for 2010. The Miami bid never made much sense in the first place and the only reason why it looks the favourite is because Barcelona is involved. The Fusion failed, all sports clubs fail in Miami. I want to see it succeed but can’t see it. Montreal made so much sense in every way. It’s unfortunate that Saputo can’t see eye to eye with Garber. Portland is a must because of the support and rivalry with Seattle and possibly San Jose. I actually have a question Drew. I read on some blog that this is the last expansion because the FIFA rules and regulations state each top league in the world has to have 18 clubs maximum but the Premiership has 20 clubs so that can’t be right? I personally think they should add Montreal, Portland, Vancouver, St Louis, Miami, Ottawa and Atlanta they all looked like good bids.

  • John

    To Bad Geoff for you Miami hater. Miami will go in 2010. News coming soon.

  • Damn Miami does not deserve a team!

  • SDM

    If Barca wasn’t involved in the Miami bid, would people still think it was a shoe-in? I doubt it. And people, just because someone thinks Miami won’t get a team doesn’t make them “haters”. They simply think that other cites have better bids. Quit acting like middle school kids.

  • The real Ultras

    Who says we don't deserve a team Columbus. Can wait to see you at our home in 2010. Miami in 2010 will happen. News coming soon.

  • Who says we don’t deserve a team Columbus. Can wait to see you at our home in 2010. Miami in 2010 will happen. News coming soon.

  • free bet

    Miami will surely win, and its such a great venue to build a Barca sponsored team…so much tourism and all the other stuff going on here, the best candidate

  • Miami will surely win, and its such a great venue to build a Barca sponsored team…so much tourism and all the other stuff going on here, the best candidate

  • jumpedcut

    I hope its St. Louis and Portland. MLS needs more teams in the mid-west, and it would provide a nice rival for both Kansas City and Chicago. Plus of all the cities, St. Louis deserves it more than the others. Portland should get in because there needs to be another team nearby Seattle so that thier fans have a nearby team to visit for away games. <br />
    <br />
    I say this as a Dallas fan but who lives in Arkansas. Dallas is a five hour drive for us, and St. Louis is about six hours. Personally speaking I want STL in since it'd give me a better chance to see a team play nearby. Go STL!

  • jumpedcut

    I hope its St. Louis and Portland. MLS needs more teams in the mid-west, and it would provide a nice rival for both Kansas City and Chicago. Plus of all the cities, St. Louis deserves it more than the others. Portland should get in because there needs to be another team nearby Seattle so that thier fans have a nearby team to visit for away games.

    I say this as a Dallas fan but who lives in Arkansas. Dallas is a five hour drive for us, and St. Louis is about six hours. Personally speaking I want STL in since it’d give me a better chance to see a team play nearby. Go STL!

  • Kevin Albertina

    If St. Louis does not make it in for 2011, it will be even more doubtbul for 2013 or beyond. By 2013 NYC2 will be an automatic expansion and all of the other cities (Montreal and Atlanta) will have had time to get their act together. Additionally, Las Vegas will be competing as will the other &quot;losers&quot; from this go round. The stadium deal will go away if St. Louis does not get a team this time around and it is also likely that Cooper will get tired of having to put on a dog and pony show for the MLS.<br />
    As for Miami, they may very well be one of the teams, but if the league gives in on the Miami 2010 threat, they are truly on their way to becoming a B or C league to the Europeans. Good luck to all the expansion hopefuls!

  • Kevin Albertina

    If St. Louis does not make it in for 2011, it will be even more doubtbul for 2013 or beyond. By 2013 NYC2 will be an automatic expansion and all of the other cities (Montreal and Atlanta) will have had time to get their act together. Additionally, Las Vegas will be competing as will the other “losers” from this go round. The stadium deal will go away if St. Louis does not get a team this time around and it is also likely that Cooper will get tired of having to put on a dog and pony show for the MLS.
    As for Miami, they may very well be one of the teams, but if the league gives in on the Miami 2010 threat, they are truly on their way to becoming a B or C league to the Europeans. Good luck to all the expansion hopefuls!

  • tdog

    Miami has already had a team and was not very well supported. Let others have a shot.

  • tdog

    Miami has already had a team and was not very well supported. Let others have a shot.