By FRANCO PANIZO
The long wait to find out which city will house MLS’s 20th team looks set come to an end.
MLS commissioner Don Garber told reporters at halftime of the Amway Canadian Championship match between Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact on Wednesday night that the league hopes to be able to make an expansion announcement in the next four to six weeks. Garber did not directly mention which city was close to winning the sweepstakes for team No. 20 but he did give the aforementioned timetable after giving an update on New York.
“We’re making progress,” Garber said at BMO Field. “We continue – you’ve heard this for the last year – but we continue to negotiate with the city of New York, meet with local political folks and community leaders to get support for the stadium we hope to build in Flushing Meadow Park.
“We are deeply engaged with potential ownership groups, and we are hopeful to be able to announce a 20th team within the next three to four weeks, perhaps, so the timing’s accelerated a little bit. I should moderate that — four to six weeks. Got that? Four to six weeks, not three to four.”
Garber also deflected a question when asked if the New York Cosmos were going to be the 20th team, only saying that he and MLS support what NASL is doing. The Cosmos are expected to begin play in NASL later this year.
What Garber did say is that he believes MLS will continue to expand beyond 20 teams by the end of the decade but that the league is unlikely to ever reach 30 clubs, at least under his watch.
“It’s hard to imagine we’d have 30 teams,” Garber said. “The other major leagues are around that size, they’ve been around 100 years.
“Again, life’s a long time, I don’t know what’ll happen when your grandkids are putting that mic in some other commissioner’s face, but it seems to me by the end of the decade, we’ll have more teams. How many more, I don’t know, but 30 seems highly unlikely in any time period we can see.”
While New York is the league’s preferred choice for expansion, USL PRO side Orlando City have made lots of noise in recent weeks and they are in the process of trying to secure a deal for a soccer-specific stadium.
Miami and Atlanta are other cities that have been linked with expansion talk recently.
What do you think of Garber saying that team No. 20 could be announced shortly? Which city do you think will be given the expansion club? How many more teams do you think should be added to the league?
Share your thoughts below.