Despite MLS focus on NYC, Orlando City still confident of expansion chances

By FRANCO PANIZO

Even if the New York City market lands a second MLS team in the near future, the league will not be stopping at 20 teams.

That is the belief of Orlando City owner Phil Rawlins, whose club is also considered one of the favorites to enter MLS in the coming years. MLS has not been shy in recent months of its desire to secure a stadium deal in Queens for a second New York team for the league, leaving many fans and pundits across the nation to believe that Orlando will have to wait some time before joining MLS.

Rawlins, however, does not see it that way.

“Certainly no conversation that we’ve had with Major League Soccer have they said they’ll stop at 20,” Rawlins told SBI. “Not quite sure where that comes from, but certainly in the dialogues we’ve had, that’s not ever been a factor.

“The league is rightfully focused on New York and they’ve been very focused on it and it’s a priority for them and they’ll go ahead with that. They’re working very, very hard to get that second team and the stadium built. But as we all know, there’s a lot of work to do on that. It’s a big project, it’s got a lot of angles to it and a lot of entities to it that are going to be taken care of, so the timescale is difficult to find and difficult to pin down.”

For now, the USL Pro club is continuing its own pursuit of a soccer-specific stadium deal. Rawlins revealed last week in Orlando City’s second fan forum that the club is currently deep into the process of landing a deal for construction of an 18,000-seat stadium and the Lions even released artist renderings of what their potential home could look like.

“We’ve been working for nine months with the city and county and the last few weeks with the governor’s office as well to get this done,” said Rawlins. “We are getting very, very close. We’ve got commissioners from the city, we’re in deep dialogue with the county. I would say in the next four to six months we should be able to make an announcement about the stadium, the funding plan for the stadium and how and where it will be built.”

Orlando City may seem a bit ambitious in its efforts to get a deal done so quickly, but that has been the club’s MO since joining USL Pro in 2011. That said, Rawlins is realistic enough to admit that the project may fall behind the desired timeframe of 2015.

“It’s a date we’ve got pinned to the wall in the office, it’s a date that I keep all the staff focused on. We’ll run at March 2015 as long and hard as we can,” said Rawlins. “We know it’s a tight timescale, we know it’s difficult, it’s not without its difficulties. But as long as we stay focused on it, we’ve got every chance of achieving it.”

Regardless of if the club reaches its goal of 2015, Rawlins believes Orlando City will be in MLS by no later than 2016, no matter what happens in New York.

“We’ll just focus on what we’ve got to do on our end,” said Rawlins. “We know what we’ve got to do, which is get a stadium plan funded. Once we get that done, we’ll be knocking on the door of MLS to put our case for being that 20th or 21st or 22nd franchise, whichever it is.

“But I don’t see it and never have seen the New York franchise and the Orlando franchise in any way being connected. The MLS has given us the clearest indication all along that if we do the things that we need to do, that we have a tremendous opportunity, a tremendous chance of joining MLS.”

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82 Responses to Despite MLS focus on NYC, Orlando City still confident of expansion chances

  1. John O'Brien says:

    I think Don Garber is great but pushing the league past 20 teams is not an idea I agree with. I hate unbalanced schedules. The talent pool is still too diluted. There’s more of a need for a strong second division. We’ll end up with a 24 team league where a team plays a 34 game schedule (22 games within conf (home AND away), 12 games vs other conf (home OR away). I think both the NHL and NBA have over-expanded and I would hate to see MLS do the same thing.

    • RK says:

      I used to play 4 or 5 games in a weekend. Doubleheaders! Let’s play two!

      • T-lover says:

        28 Clubs is needed. MLS will never became diluted, because of the size of the country and the fact soccer is a global game, you could always find talent. Both the NBA and NHL is fine, they expanded because of the size of the US, it has work out great.

        • xara says:

          28 perhaps in 15 years maybe? Does Nashville or Calgary really need a MLS team?

          • Old School says:

            The United States hosts the best NBA, MLB and Hockey leagues in the world. Even then, you’d find a lot of people who are true fans/experts of those individual sports tell you that each league needs to retract teams that are not profitable and have rapidly declining fan interest/turn outs at a games.

            Now, imagine MLS, where we’re no where near the dominant league for soccer overly expanding and diluting the product.

            To simply say “We’re the United States and because of the size of our country, the product won’t be diluted.” is simply naive.

            • T-lover says:

              I am a sports fan, I have heard no expert or fan say any of these leagues need to retract. The naive part is thinking that a product is going to be diluted, given our population and there being a number of players clubs would buy, in a global sport.

              • Camjam says:

                You have to admit though, Every league in the US (even the NFL) has a couple franchises, maybe more, that are constantly poor and tend to get moved around. Even without the talent-pool argument, the bigger question is the audience-size argument. Down below some guy did some quick numbers showing how thin the audience would be spread with additional teams. There just doesn’t seem to be a big enough demand for a 30 team league yet.

              • Old School says:

                “I am a sports fan, I have heard no expert or fan say any of these leagues need to retract”

                You’re either lying or uninformed.

            • PD says:

              This is why PROMOTION and RELEGATION is the way to go. Idiots are sent down and winners stay up. It’s really simple.

    • scott47a says:

      I don’t agree with this.
      England is about 95,000 square miles. The United States is more than 3.7 million square miles. There is no reason to limit the number of teams and communities that can be part of the sport based on some arbitrary limit created in other, much smaller countries.
      Someday, and we are talking years out, we may have a league with much more than 30 teams that streches from sea to sea and covers all relevant population centers that have a desire and love of the sport. You could argue logically that the Southeast, Midwest and Southwest are all underrepresented in the current structure. At some point if you want the league to be relevant to people in those parts of the country they are going to have to be included.

      • Old School says:

        Is it really considered arbitrary to calculate that more teams would be below average, lacking star power and general quality due to over expansion?

        Until we develop enough quality players from the youth level, sustaining a league with too many clubs doesn’t sound wise…from any angle.

        • scott47a says:

          I think it depends on what you mean by “below average,” I suppose. Which teams are “below average” in the MLS today by your standards? Are you judging an average MLS team? Or somehow comparing an MLS team to some sort of “worldwide” average in the sport?

          More broadly, what do you think of people who support Portsmouth in England or Ascoli in Italy? Is there something wrong with having a home team to support?

          Finally I’d say that there are plenty of quality players of this sport in the world. More than enough to support 30 teams in one of the world’s most prosperous countries. MLS has already done wonders with getting players from Colombia. But what about other countries in the world where it would be an economic and social advantage for the players to live in the United States. Peru? Ecuador? African countries?

    • matt says:

      The NHL only over-expanded by going where nobody cared about the product. Atlanta, Phoenix, Raleigh, Nashville…not exactly hotbeds of hockey enthusiasm. The NBA may be too big but it has 30 teams, not 24. IF the market is there for 4 more teams after NYC2, I say go for it, as long as ownership groups aren’t forcing teams where there probably isn’t a big enough market. As for dilution of talent…new franchises cost $100 million a pop (and that could go up in the next few years). They will also probably increase the value of the next TV deal MLS can negotiate. Some of that money could be used to buy up some extra talent and some to speed up development of new talent. If there isn’t enough US talent available even for a price, then change the rules to allow an extra international slot or two per team. Unbalanced schedule isn’t a huge deal in a sports culture that places playoffs/championships above all else.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        You can see the same phenomenon in F1. Some arab kingdoms and less savory countries are willing to set the bar on race fees by essentially buying races with sovereign funds. But the actual domestic audience for the races is not there. In contrast, the traditional hotbed of autoracing is Europe, but places like Spa and Monaco that are respected circuits with strong attendance, are struggling to pay race fees at the level the first set are willing to pay.

        A similar phenomenon has arguably happened in NHL, which chased US money even though Canada is the traditional hotbed where the fans will loyally attend. Next thing you know they’re primarily a US league even though Canada is the real hotbed, and the Canadian teams are struggling to keep up.

        The soccer comparison would be NASL, which arguably went into decline by obsessing over more and more expansion fees that could be gotten from each successive new team. So they’d get an initial burst of money but then the league would have to sustain franchises in the purchased markets. The expansion teams proved unsustainable.

        You can’t get around having actual fan interest in the teams. It’s like, yes, you could put a team in Orlando, and some crazed owner might get a stadium built and an initial ownership group together, but what if few actually attend? We need to remain rigorous about whether the actual business plans can work….and that goes for $300 million stadiums in NYC. If tickets would be $50, and someone would have to pay that mortgage, isn’t someone going to go broke? I don’t want it to be MLS.

        • Tyler K. says:

          Re: fans, Orlando drew 11,000+ fans for their inagural USL-Pro championship victory, so if they’re brought to the next level I don’t think support will be a problem. One of the most important functions of the lower divisions, in terms of the role they play in helping clubs eventually attain MLS status, is that they develop a grassroots following.

          • DynaMatt says:

            This is very true, the player/owner of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds just funded a beautiful new stadium for his team to play in, in the hopes that he’d attract a stronger fanbase. He has publicly stated that he hopes that within 10 years the area can appeal to MLS.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      By talent pool are you referring to players or cities to host the teams? I don’t necessarily agree re players but would regarding host cities. Slimmer pickings.

    • Tyler K. says:

      Good thing you’re the only one who holds this opinion…

    • Manny F says:

      I don’t know why 34 games is too much for this league when England, Italy, and Spain all play 38 games in their tournies. While you add the domestic cups and Champions/Europa leagues.

      As for the pool being diluted. Dilution is not the problem. The problem with American players is that many are not receiving time to develop. More teams would mean more players would be given more opportunities and more playing time. That would also finally begin to push the Academies to produce more players.

      As long as MLS is sustainable in the long run, I only see expansion at past 20 teams as a good thing.

      • foooo says:

        uh, clubs in England, Italy, and Spain may play 38 matches in their leagues, but how far do they travel to their respective matches? how often do they have to fly thousands of miles for a regular season match?
        34 matches in MLS is far more grueling than 38 matches in La Liga, Serie A, or the Premiership because of the travel involved.

    • Stan says:

      Big problem in sports is having bad teams that few fans want to watch or care about. This is particularly true if a few large market teams in LA or NY end up with more money and getting big name star players. Maybe some fans care about the Pittsburgh Pirates or Kansas City Royals who grew up with them and remember better days. Same may be true for the bottom teams in the EPL. But who will care about an Orlando soccer team if it is having a bad year?

      • Jeff says:

        I’m going to take a guess and say that the locals/fans of the Orlando team will care if the team is having a bad year.

  2. Modibo says:

    I think some of Garber’s recent public comments mean that no potential ownership group will be SOL with MLS after they hit 20. This just confirms that he’s also saying that to them.

  3. MLSsnob says:

    Anyone have the link to the artist’s renderings?

  4. Charles says:

    Just stupid to think that MLS should or will stop at 20 teams.

    There are 310 million people, by the time MLS breaks through 20….and they will….it will be much higher. Compared Europe’s population base out there the US should have 60-100 teams in first division ( I didn’t do the math ). Even versus Brazil gets you to 30ish.

    If it is economically feasible long term, they and anyone else should have a team in first division. A no excluding policy.

    • Edwin in LA says:

      I thought it was more like 319-330 million but regardless your point is spot on, the US is a monster of geography and demographics as well as different type of weather…we can easily house 24 or 22 teams…..AND a good 18-20 team 2nd division type of league if in the future those teams can grow their fan base and franchises

    • Jake says:

      This is also a country with 4 major sport leagues to compete with, which total 122 “first division” teams (32 in NFL, 30 in NBA, 30 in NHL, and 30 in MLB). Add to that MLS and you have 141 major sports franchises for a population of 315 million. or 2.23 million residents per franchise. There are 114 teams combined in the top flights of England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, and Russia. Those countries have a combined population of approx. 448 million people, meaning that they have around 4 million people per franchise. To say that there is enough room in the United States for 60-100 first division teams is a gross misunderstanding of the sports market in North America. Aiming for a 20 team league, and building up a strong 2nd division over the next decade is more important for the future of the sport and player development on the continent than having an unwieldy 50+ team top flight.

      • Jake says:

        sorry, the population of Canada and the US is ~350 million meaning that the ratio of people to top tier franchises is around 2.5million per team, not 2.23. My Apologies.

      • Kejsare says:

        Yes, but the US and Canada is wealthier per capita than Europe’s 400 million.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Stupid? What percentage of the US population will actually watch live, compared to what Europe has built up with 100 year old teams with accreted followings.

      The math is really more like, what is a sustainable attendance financially, and which teams/ cities can provide that? Suffice to say that tens of millions of Cariocans or Paulistas per city can attend more teams than half a million less soccer mad Orlando-ians. I think Rochester and San Antonio are the two cities left that have attended their minors teams in the neighborhood of 10K.

  5. Edwin in LA says:

    I wonder what this does for Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto? Could we see Canada start up their own league one day? Maybe even with just 8 or 10 teams? Say Ottawa, Edmonton, a couple of extra teams in Toronto or Montreal etc etc…..?

    If so we could easily add a 2nd team in NY, a team in South Florida be it Orlando or the Miami/Ft Lauderdale or BOTH and maybe even another team in the Midwest like St Paul/Minnesota or even St Louis to strengthen a nice rivalry with say KC and Chicago and Columbus. that could bring us back to 20 in the long future if we needed to do so….. any thoughts?

    • xara says:

      that Canuck would have less talent than the Welsh league

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      “Canada” theoretically has its own league (CSL….which actually is predominantly in Ontario) and Edmonton plays in the NASL minors.

      I think your suggestion is we could dump the Canadians into their own league and then fill back up with USA teams. I don’t know if there are enough viable Canadian cities for them to risk it, nor would I necessarily be eager to dump well-attended Canadian teams for 4-figure attendances from arguably second-tier US cities.

      • Edwin in LA says:

        Pure hypothetical question to ask if anyone thinks this would happen on my part. I’m not sure I want to get rid of those 3 teams at all…just wonder if they will ever get their own big league and if the MLS teams become strong and their NASL or USL sides also become stronger….will they ever try to put on their own show…..

  6. huh says:

    24 teams- NYC2, Orlando, St.Louis, Atlanta, Minneapolis. 24 teams by 2020

    • scott47a says:

      Don’t forget both San Antonio and Detroit have expressed some interest in the past.
      And the fact that both Phoenix and San Diego aren’t in any of the discussions is pretty crazy, though maybe MLS has ceded San Diego to Tijuana at this point.

      • betamale says:

        People keep saying San Diego, but for those of us who live there, trust me, it will not happen for decades if ever. No interested in raising taxes by the general population (taxes are more than high enough here) and no interested billionaire investor. Just not going to happen. The city can’t even keep their football team.

        • D-Real says:

          I agree that San Diego won’t get an MLS franchise, but typically for other reasons than the ones that tend to get presented on a lot of these forums.
          For one, San Diego sports fans get labeled as fairweather because the nation sees how many Chargers games are blacked out, and the average attendance of a Padre game. The truth of the matter is that a lot of the county’s makeup is transplants from various other parts of the country, which is why you see big market baseball an football teams with nationwide fanbases still come into town and sell out games. The Chargers can’t sell out games because no the fans dont want to pay $95 at minimum for a ticket (plus $25 to park, beer, food, etc) to a game where owners and management of the team have ignored and alienated their fanbase for the better part of the last fifteen years. Soccer specific stadia don’t cost a billion dollars to build like the monster the Chargers are demanding, and there is plenty of land around Chula Vista that the Chargers passed on that would be cheap (in comparison to downtown or Mission Valley area) to build on, and with far less political opposition.
          San Diego has a tradition of under-the-radar greatness with the Sockers. I don’t like to use the “hotbed of soccer” cliche, I just typically say we have a lot of great youth players in the county, along with one of the bigger youth club tournaments in the country in Surf Cup.
          I don’t see MLS coming here because Chivas USA has adamantly claimed that they aren’t interested in making a move, and I can’t see a whole new expansion franchise awarded to another California city for a long time. Coming from a San Diagoan, MLS needs to make a conscious effort to expand into the South and Midwest before they revisit CA.

  7. xara says:

    A 24 team MLS followed by a 12-16 second division. Thats how Id do it.

  8. irant_irave says:

    Bring on as many teams as we can. When we have enough teams we can divide the league into MLS 1 and MLS 2 and finally have promotion and relegation. I for one will be waiting.

    • Old School says:

      I think MLS 1 and 2 or have a Western League, Central League, Eastern League would be something to ponder.

      Relegation/Promotion will never happen until we have a former player as commissioner. A pure businessman will never let it happen to his league or to the ownership groups.

      • Tyler K. says:

        Nor should he.

        • Old School says:

          Because promotion/relegation is a bad aspiration?

          • T-lover says:

            Old school, why the hell would you want a former player running this league. Garber has been great, that is the man pushing our league forward. I hate idiots, this is why people think Americans are stupid.

            • Old School says:

              Why wouldn’t you want someone like Kasey Keller running the league? An aspiration he’s publicly stated.

              Has great worldly perspective of the game and could help catapult the game forward.

              I don’t think Garber has been bad for the game. I’ve respected his service but I think a fresh pair of eyes and perspective will lead this league to greater heights.

              As for your random diatribe of people thinking Americans are idiots, I think that’s more closely associated with your form of communication/debating and the reaction you provoke on this or other websites.

          • SuperChivo says:

            Because it’s bad business; not to mention a moot point since we don’t even have a second division.
            I don’t know how much say the owners of the franchises have in expansion, but they will be the ones to apply the brakes. If I’m the owner of Chivas or another marginal franchise then I’m not real happy when the MLS adds additional franchises and thereby dilutes what I could get on reselling my franchise. On the other hand, the (future) owners of the Galaxy are probably happy with expansion as long as the new clubs meet the standards set by Portland, Vancouver, and especially Seattle, which have helped lift the entire league.
            I would bet on a 24-26 team MLS by 2022; and that’s not a bad thing, in my opinion.

      • Mike in Missouri says:

        This. I think it’s much more likely that we’ll have 2 division one equal leagues in essence under the MLS banner, sort of like Major League Baseball before interleague play. Winners meet in the MLS Cup.

  9. yikes says:

    Norway has 5million people and 16 clubs in its league. Italy has 60million people with 20 clubs. We have 315million people. 20 clubs wont do. But we dont need more than 28-30 clubs in the league. Probably 15-20years from now

    • Camjam says:

      DOOOOOOOD somebody already did the math above. the US has the best league in FOUR other sports. What are Italian teams competing with? Euroleague, maybe? in his breakdown above it can be argued that there are roughly 2.25-2.5 million people per major franchise here….. while Italy is sitting pretty at 3 mil per.

      And I shudder to think of the day when we use the Norwegian league as our measuring stick.

      • Kejsare says:

        N00b, you forget GDP per capita and other wealth statistics.

        Ergo, why NFL is a 10+ billion dollar revenue maker.

  10. The Other Matt says:

    matt: I take a little exception with your characterization as Raleigh being a place where people don’t care about the NHL, though I understand your point. The Research Triangle has embraced the Carolina Hurricanes, so much so that I hear more gnashing of teeth over the lockout than I do about ACC expansion.

  11. yikes says:

    why did they award NHL franchises in the Southeast and Southwest Sounds pointless. Like establishing a rugby league in LOuisiana or handball league in Iowa?

  12. Paddy Megroyn says:

    I’m pulling for Orlando. They seem like they have a smart plan to gradually build up to making the leap into MLS.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Gradually? They’re averaging 6-7K in the Citrus Bowl but have plans for their own 18K crib to the point of artist’s renderings. Year two in the third division having moved from Austin. Eyes bigger than their stomach……

      • Tyler K. says:

        You do realize that the Sounders final year in USL they drew around 4,000 fans right? So there’s honestly not a very strong correlation between USL attendance and potential MLS numbers.

  13. mug says:

    I have a two word solution for over-expansion: Promotion/Relegation.
    I realize we are miles away from this happening, but hopefully it will eventually come to pass.

  14. wilyboy says:

    Orlando City deserves it, and we need an MLS team in the South East region. Not only to make this a truly American league, but to tap into the homegrown talent pool available. Don’t understand why New York deserves a second club; a do-over for the Redbull disaster? When the league ignores Orlando for this second NY club, it will have missed a big opportunity.

  15. Dudester says:

    Orlando has a good chance for Portland/Seattle numbers as their is only one big pro team in the city and that’s the magic who only have a 20k arena.Having another 20k in fans coming out to sports is not a big leap.

    • ziggy says:

      Hellishly hot in Orlando in Jun/Jul/Aug, with abundant thunder& lightning. tough for both fans and players

  16. slowleftarm says:

    If we have pro/rel we can have 40 teams in 2 20 team divisions. Still a ways off but certainly doable and desirable.

    • Bob Dobalina says:

      You’re an idiot. No MLS owner will EVER agree to pro/rel.

      • meh says:

        No MLS owner would agree, unless it’s pro/rel within MLS, ie, within the MLS single entity. That’s not really pro/rel, of course, as practiced in Europe and Latin America. MLS owners won’t agree to be kicked out of their own business that they bought into. But if their team gets dropped down to MLS “Conference B” or whatever you want to call it, after having a bad season, that might be different. It would still be MLS, but with an easier schedule.

  17. Snags says:

    ATL, ASAP. Atlanta Chiefs FC.

    • ed - houston says:

      lol, agree with altlanta but NOT the “chiefs” or braves/redskins/indians/natives…. now, seminoles is not bad… lol

    • Reeves' Army says:

      You wanna talk about a plastic fan base? Even NASL partisans are openly accusing the Silverbacks of padding their attendance figures. No, Atlanta is NOT ready for MLS.

  18. yikes says:

    Promotion/Relegation is 30years away. No way around it. Sad yet true

  19. Al says:

    Why are they not focusing on a MLS Championship? This is exactly what the the US needs when developing talent. They are side tracked by the all mighty dollar instead of looking at the big picture. There is no reason for NYC to have another team, when there are other markets who deserve a team first. If that is the case, have the NY Metro Stars/Cosmos whoever the hell they are be a 2nd tier team. Focus on USL right now in getting soccer specific stadiums, look at even smaller markets for 3rd and 4th Division teams. If youth and inner city children can see that they have some talent in soccer and see a MLS affiliated league right in their back yard, then maybe this is the spark that we need. MLS PLEASE STOP BEING GREEDY AND LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE.

  20. bgood says:

    I think the idea of expansion is not a bad one, but it should come with one major stipulation.

    In order to join as an expansion team, you must commit to an academy team. If Orlando wants to join that is great, the way to prevent dilution is for these teams to draw in the best young talent from their area and grow the players under established coaching. Every team now SHOULD have an academy team. It provides more opportunities for players and creates cheap, well coached players to fill in the rosters. Additionally, fans support will increase as players work their way through the system and are LOCALLY grown.

    Side note: The academy system should also consider expanding to include U-20/ 21 games. This way fringe players can continue to develop and not be stuck without games.

    Just a few thoughts.

    • JMon12 says:

      I agree and Orlando City is set up well to have an academy squad. They already have a PDL U-23 squad, U-20 and various affiliations with youth clubs (part owners etc)

  21. JMon12 says:

    I hate that idiot’s still post Pro/Rel like it’s the answer. Obviously everybody who likes soccer ideally wants MLS to be pro/reg but let’s live in reality for a moment while I ask you this question. Why in the hell would a investor (Say NY2) spend hundreds of million of dollars to be in MLS yet you would promoted a team like the FL Strikers who paid how much?

    As far as growing to 30 teams, I see it happening but I hope MLS takes their time and expands to 30 over 15-20 yrs. Orlando is ready and will be successful (I have gone to a bunch of games along with preseason etc and they are a very organized club).

    • WSW says:

      Tell me this if you were a player, what would you find more challenging:

      1. Being transferred to a team at the bottom of MLS

      or

      2. Being transferred to any team with pro/rel that’s at the bottom fighting for survival.

  22. kryptonite says:

    Promotion/relegation in MLS (and A-League in Australia for that matter) is not happening for a long time, if ever. It does not fit the business model of a country that does not have a rich heritage of football/soccer. The single entity with salary cap brings parity of teams which is greatly lacking in other countries with a football heritage. In an emerging market there needs to be parity among teams in the league to get the interest of soccer moms and dads who are not hardcore adherents to watch matches regularly because their home team remains in contention for playoffs longer (as the uninitiated will look at results more than the skill on the field). Eventually this target audience creates a legacy of hardcore adherents with their children. Most teams in other countries are no longer playing for promotion/relegation or for placements in tournaments half way through the season. That doesn’t work in an emerging market that has to grow its fan base. The salary cap creates a lot of problems of getting quality players in the league and improving the product on the field until the TV deals become lucrative enough to increase greatly the cap or remove it all together, but it serves its short term purpose to create parity in the league. Expansion has its risk of diluting the product on the field, but soccer is still trying to penetrate the market here. The more chances to expose new markets to MLS, USL or NASL is good thing for the sport generally.

  23. WSW says:

    I love it how nobody talks about worst attendance;

    OC had around 3k when it rained.

  24. Stephen says:

    It has been commented in the past by Commissioner Garber more than once, that he forsees 22 teams by the end of the decade. After NY2 they really would like to have teams in the southeast. It was even hinded in the MLS state of the league news conference. I look for new teams in Orlando and Atlanta before we see a stall in expansion for I beleive 8 to 10 years. This will then give the national footprint that they are so eager to acheive. This may very well be tied to future TV deals with NBC as well.