Expansion Thoughts: So Now What?

Expansion Thoughts: So Now What?

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 18, 2009
  • 14 Comments
  • 2012 Expansion, MLS Expansion

So we have Vancouver. And we should soon have Portland. But now we also will apparently have two more clubs in the following year to make the league a cool, even 20 clubs.

First of all that little news bit by MLS comissioner Don Garber leads me to believe that the league really wants BOTH Portland and St. Louis. Portland is just that much further along right now St. Louis. It also kind of tells me that the league wants to see what could happen in cities like Ottawa and Miami over the next nine to ten months too.

My general feeling the league will handle this next round of expansion in the same fashion as they did this 2011 round. Say they are doing it and possibly this time around a deadline of August instead of October for expansion hopefuls. The final announcement will more than likely come in the early part of next year after the league wades through another set of dropouts and what not.

So excluding Portland, here is a list of potential cities for the league to go to next. And yes they are in a certain order, a direction I really see the league going into. So take this as a starting point for this next race in terms of favorites, long shots and out right crazy bids.

Most likely:

  • St. Louis: Look this town will get a team, no matter what the league is actively working with the ownership group to get a deal worked out. I seriously believe that’s why the league isn’t waiting around for another couple years to expand after 2011. They want St. Louis so bad they can taste it. I really believe that if they could they would add them for 2011 but they didn’t want an unbalanced league yet again. So the 2012 round it is and I could even see them announce their bid sooner rather than later if things fall into place for them. Garber has repeatedly said the league needs and wants to be there. It is certainly a matter of time.
  • New York: Another city the league really wants to be in, no matter who the owner is. Some have said it’s been a pet project for Garber and I do think its possible, if not very likely for 2012. The city is getting a USL club starting in 2010, which some are saying could be an upstart thing to get moved into MLS once the league is ready for it.

Not far off the pace:

  • Montreal: Some are saying, why isn’t Montreal a front-runner for this next round already? I think it has to do with their ownership. They’ve blasted MLS for the expansion fee and I could see them just saying no to MLS once again now that they look to be a clear favorite to dominate the USL first division with the exits of Portland and Vancouver. Still, money does talk and something could work out here. We know the qualities in place but it mainly comes down to the ownership group. They get back on board and on the same page as the league you could see them move ahead of New York.
  • Miami: They don’t have FC Barcelona anymore but they at least should still have Bolivian billionair Marcelo Claure. That’s still a good thing. However MLS is very cautious with this market and will continue to do so unless things change in terms of fan base support for a club. Sure there are a few fans that want this but apparently not enough to make a big dent in the eyes of MLS.

Long-shot at best:

  • Ottawa: They released some sort of consession speech earlier today towards Vancouver. Yeah, even if they come back for 2012 they are still a long-shot. Its a fall back plan for the league if anything else. Honestly they should turn to the USL for a club first.
  • Atlanta: You know they will probably be back in the running for this but again, their chances don’t look good with Miami not already in the league. To me, no Miami means no Atlanta in MLS these days. I just don’t see the league going into that region unless it is to both cities at this point.
  • Las Vegas: They’ve wanted a club for a while but to me its slowly fading away like that old Cleveland idea. Or that old Milwaukee idea.

Keep dreaming:

  • Rochester: Thankfully no one is yelling for this expansion bid anymore. Hopefully those people are content with this club staying in the USL.
  • Cleveland: It’s just not a soccer town.
  • Milwaukee: I use to love this idea for a club but anymore I know its nothing more than a pipe dream. Would be a good USL city though.
  • Phoenix:I nearly forgot about this old thought. Probably means their chances aren’t good this time around. Unless someone relocates.
  • Scott

    Milwaukee just doesn't have the resources to support an MLS team with Chicago so nearby and there being no political will to build anything there after Miller Park. I do think the city could find its way back into USL (starting in 2 and then going into 1). However, don't be surprised if soccer does return to the city in 2010/2011, albeit on a smaller scale and not necessarily on the men's side of the line.

  • Peter

    Can't Phoenix even get a 'Keep Dreaming' mention?

  • Steve Jennings

    I really wish I could agree with your belief that Garber "needs and wants" the MLS to be in St. Louis. Frankly, my city has been nothing but leverage for first Philly and now Portland. If ownership/money is paramount to the league, do you really believe we'll chosen over Wilpon, Blank, Claure, etc.? Don't hold your breath. Right now, we bitter and angry over being used and have zero faith in what The Don has to say. Bring on the USL!

  • Scott

    Milwaukee just doesn’t have the resources to support an MLS team with Chicago so nearby and there being no political will to build anything there after Miller Park. I do think the city could find its way back into USL (starting in 2 and then going into 1). However, don’t be surprised if soccer does return to the city in 2010/2011, albeit on a smaller scale and not necessarily on the men’s side of the line.

  • Peter

    Can’t Phoenix even get a ‘Keep Dreaming’ mention?

  • Steve Jennings

    I really wish I could agree with your belief that Garber “needs and wants” the MLS to be in St. Louis. Frankly, my city has been nothing but leverage for first Philly and now Portland. If ownership/money is paramount to the league, do you really believe we’ll chosen over Wilpon, Blank, Claure, etc.? Don’t hold your breath. Right now, we bitter and angry over being used and have zero faith in what The Don has to say. Bring on the USL!

  • joel es latest socce

    I like the idea of Montreal and Miami. Claure is still in the mix, and Montreal produced great attendance for the CL.

  • Mr Fish

    USL NYC is dreaming if they think they can find a fan base without a home in Manhattan, BKLYN, or Queens.<br />
    <br />
    I know they're looking at a venue near JFK, but even that's a 40-minute subway ride from Manhattan. RB Arena will be closer.<br />
    <br />
    Until the economy recovers, bet against NY for 2012.

  • I like the idea of Montreal and Miami. Claure is still in the mix, and Montreal produced great attendance for the CL.

  • USL NYC is dreaming if they think they can find a fan base without a home in Manhattan, BKLYN, or Queens.

    I know they’re looking at a venue near JFK, but even that’s a 40-minute subway ride from Manhattan. RB Arena will be closer.

    Until the economy recovers, bet against NY for 2012.

  • Carl

    I'm from Wisconsin and i would want nothing more than to have an MLS team in Milwaukee, but the resources just aren't there. So my choices for the next round of expansion is St. Louis and either Montreal or New York.

  • Carl

    I’m from Wisconsin and i would want nothing more than to have an MLS team in Milwaukee, but the resources just aren’t there. So my choices for the next round of expansion is St. Louis and either Montreal or New York.

  • SD Atherly

    Any thoughts on long range chances for the Carolina Railhawks? Not in 2011 or 2012 or maybe even 2013.

  • SD Atherly

    Any thoughts on long range chances for the Carolina Railhawks? Not in 2011 or 2012 or maybe even 2013.