Garber: MLS to expand to 24 teams by 2020

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By IVES GALARCEP

During a week that saw the strength of the Kansas City market for Major League Soccer, commissioner Don Garber raised the stakes for the booming league by announcing on Wednesday night that MLS will expand to 24 teams by the year 2020.

Garber laid out the ambitious plan during an interview with ESPN at halftime of the MLS All-Star Game, and revealed the league would add four more teams in the next seven years to go along with the current 19 teams, and the soon-to-arrive New York City FC.

“The league’s going to expand by four teams by the end of the decade. By 2020. A lot of cities are interested. Expansion has been a big driver of the success of our league. The diversity of our ownership group, lots of new energy, so we’ve got some work to do.”

Garber also addressed the idea of moving weak and underperforming teams out of current markets and into new markets. He made it clear MLS isn’t planning on uprooting any existing teams.

“We don’t look at some of the challenges we have as things we can solve with moving,” Garber said. “We need to figure out what we can do to solve those teams, and then add new markets so we can have new fans and new excitement.”

“There’s no plan whatsoever to move any clubs,” Garber added. “What we’ve seen is expansion has driven a lot of success. We have new owners that have great vision, that are going to diversify the way we think.

“More jobs by the way,” Garber added. “Four more teams. Hundreds and hundreds of new jobs, as opposed to just replacing those jobs. Getting player development going on at those academies. Getting more fans. Growing our footprint. Raising our popularity and interest, which we need as we go and try to achieve that goal of being one of the top leagues.”

Garber pointed to the impressive success currently being enjoyed by Sporting Kansas City, a team that once was considered one of the league’s struggling clubs, but a team that is now thriving since an ownership change and rebranding.

“Many people wanted to move this team,” Garber said. “This is a bright shining star of the Major League Soccer.”

What do you think of this development? Excited to hear MLS is aggressively trying to expand, or worried the league is moving too fast?

Share your thoughts below.

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232 Responses to Garber: MLS to expand to 24 teams by 2020

  1. KB says:

    4 6 team divisions? don’t love it but it’s likely

    Division A/North: (new1) DET, Chicago, CBus, TOR, MON, NE
    Division B/East: DC, NY, NY2, PHI, (new2) ORL, (new3) MIA
    Division C/South: HOU, KC, DAL, RSL, COL, Chivas
    Division D/Northwest: (new4) SAC, SJ, LA, SEA, POR, VAN.

    could also add Minn w/ Detroit and kick Chicago west in a division w/ KC, move Chivas NW, or ATL and create a true SE triangle.

    • Coco says:

      Hell no

      Soccer is not the nfl!!!!

      • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

        Seriously?.. Do you know that LigaMX has groups and a playoff system. You never hear Mexicans saying that this structure makes their league less “Authentic”. Get over it, we have a large country. It makes sense.

        • wandmdave says:

          I’d still rather see 2 divisions with no interdivision play until the final and a supporter’s shield per division when its all said and done. That way you cut down travel and still allow everyone to play home and away so the supporter’s shield means a bit more.

        • Ceez says:

          I think he’s talking about the FOUR divisions…which I’m also against.

    • Old School says:

      Once the expansion takes place I think we need a new voice as commissioner.

      I respect the hell out of what Don Garber has done for the league and it’s advancement. I tend to agree with him that more markets will create more excitement and general interest in our league within the country. I don’t buy into the “diluting” the player market fear.

      However…I also think Don is actually holding back the league long-term.

      *I’m over the single entity :: It’s time for individual ownership to run their own business
      *I’m over the conferences :: It’s time for a single table
      *I’m over the training wheels micromanagement of clubs finances :: It’s time for clubs to be rewarded for their development

      Single entity:
      It annoys me to no end that Seattle’s eventual sale of Montero will yield no transfer funds to their club because they accepted some sort of monetary payment for his loaned services.

      Conferences/Divisions:
      As big of an American football fan as I am, the entire concept of conferences (or divisions as KB is suggesting) is out of place, feels contrived and just simply feels awkward.

      Remove the training wheels:
      There’s no reason clubs that are selling out their stadium, putting together a respectable product on the field and have the structure to spend what they make…should be paying for the crutches that are holding up a club like Chivas.

      For me, someone that is a supporter of the league and far from a eurosnob…the league is too vanilla right now.

      Let these teams create their own jerseys, for crying out loud. The restrictive salary cap, homogenized talent pool and revenue sharing has made this league incredibly vanilla, and not “exciting” as it can be in the NFL.

      The passion for this game is starting to rumble beneath the surface in this country and I think we’re on our way to it exploding to heights that will be shocking to even the strongest original MLS supporter (see Kansas City).

      We need to move away from trying to be the NFL and that’ll never happen with an NFL guy leading the charge. MLS needs to find it’s own voice, footing and stamp on our sporting culture.

      Don has been “the man” for a lot of it’s success but I don’t believe Don is the “right man” to lead it past 2020.

      • Old School says:

        For the love of god, please address the moderation system.

        I’m not saying my opinion is worth the time for everyone to read but my opinion isn’t worth the time to type it out, only to have it caught in the ridiculous filter that is doing nothing for the quality of this website other than dragging it down.

        If it’s annoying to routinely read these gripes, it’s equally annoying to have to jump through hoops just to make a post.

        • RB says:

          You could always ask for a refund of the site fees.

          • Old School says:

            I see your point…but I also am able to *see* your point because the moderation filter didn’t eat your post.

            Since this website gets paid off my hits, I have every right to voice my disdain for the system since I contribute many times daily.

            Don’t be a fool for the sake of being a fool.

      • Frank says:

        I think that what you are proposing would be a disaster for a lot of reasons. The whole single entity/salary cap thing is what keeps this league stable. I don’t even see what the upside would be in getting rid of them aside from some vague notion of ‘better’ teams getting ‘rewarded’ which I would think would just translate to being able to buy a better team with bigger names which would reduce parity. Getting good results is its own reward. And there would be too many teams to move to a single table. 46 games a season is too many in a season

        • Original Aaron says:

          The same people who scream for single-entity and salary cap to end also want promotion and relegation. Guess what? Keeping the single-entity structure is the only way promotion/relegation will ever happen. A team resting on their own revenues suffers mightily when they drop from the top division, and lose out on their share of tv revenues at the top, which basically means that any team who is promoted or relegated has to completely change their roster in order to survive in the new division (talent-wise in the top division, and salary-wise in the lower division). No one is going to sign up to invest their money, whether its $1M or $100M, in a team that might “get the drop” the next year and completely change the financial picture. IF however, in 20 years MLS were to OWN a second division, and all the owners participated in the revenues generated by both leagues, then promotion and relegation becomes much more possible b/c it pro/rel is restricted to the team on the field, and doesn’t necessarily adversely affect the owner’s investment in the 2 leagues AS A WHOLE.

      • CT says:

        I do not understand the advocacy for a single table. The circumstances here in the US are like night and day different than Europe. First, because of the economics of TV and individual clubs, there will NEVER be a relegation system in the US; it just cannot happen. Second, with a 20- or 24- team single table half the clubs are out of the running before the season is half over. That will kill attendance and fan enthusiasm when those two things are what need to improve. A playoff system keeps more teams in the running for longer which is better for fan enthusiasm. Finally, relegation works in Europe because of the other competitions such as Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, etc., down-table teams still have something to play for. Look at the US Open Cup – 90% of the MLS teams don’t give a hoot. The US will never have multiple competitions accessible to the down-table teams.

        Someone please explain to me why a single table would be better than what we’ve got now. And don’t tell me that, “It’s what the Europeans do” Who gives a sh*t what the Europeans do.

        • Eurosnob says:

          Having a single table is not a big issue for me, but the argument for having a single table is that it is more fair from the sporting prospective. Each team is equally situated – they get to play one home and one away game against every team in the league. On the other hand a system based on teams making playoffs based on division or confernce record could be problematic in that a weak team from a weak division could make the playoffs simply because it faced weaker opponents during the regular season, while a much stronger team from a very strong division would miss the playoffs. As for the economic impossibility of promotion/relegation system in the US, I am not buying this argument. Promotion/relegation system has been successfully employed in almost every country in the world and these countries range from economically poor to affluent with various arrangments and amounts of TV deals, etc. There is no doubt that poorly managed clubs are likely to suffer under such system, on the other hand it will reward clubs that are well managed.

          • Annelid Gustator says:

            For the most part, poor clubs in other countries are way better off than the ones we have here!

      • dan says:

        spot on

    • bryan says:

      I think Atlanta and Minneapolis are the two front runners for the two spots after Orlando and Miami.

      • Steevens says:

        While Orlando and Atlanta both have viable ownership groups in place already, and Miami is where everyone is guessing Becks wants his team I’m not sure MLS would rush to add three teams in the South East where Miami and TB already had failed teams.

        • bryan says:

          Agreed, I know I personally wouldn’t go that route. Plus those two ownership groups want the mls team in an nfl stadium. No thanks.

          St. Louis would be a great add. As long as they can get a solid group and plan together.

          • Steevens says:

            Seattle sure made MLS in a NFL stadium work. But I agree, I doubt many other cities could draw 40K+ on average.

            • bryan says:

              Good point, but yeah, I don’t see those markets matching Seattle.

            • Joe says:

              Seattle built the stadium with soccer in mind. It was not just for the Seahawks but the Sounders as well for if/when they moved to MLS. The other stadiums are NFL only currently though Atlanta is building a new stadium soon so it may alter plans if MLS was coming.

        • kryptonite says:

          Orlando seems a good choice because of existing fan support and ownership and city support, but I am skeptical about anywhere else in the Southeast, especially Miami. So many professional sports including MLS, NHL, and MLB have tried to break into Miami and have been unsuccessful or had limited success. It is a hard market to crack, and Becks will have his work cut out for him.

    • Dawsaw says:

      Sac? That’s not Sacramento is it? Also Detroit?

      • TimChapman says:

        Sacramento is doing a big development revolving around a new NBA stadium among other things and wants a soccer specific stadium to be a part of it. The city is investing a lot in pro sports.

        • dsgntd_plyr says:

          “[Sacramento] is investing a lot in pro sports.”

          LOL! No wonder they always have budget problems. Public supported stadiums not named Staples Center always lose money for governments.

    • Hogatroge says:

      Don’t need 4 divisions.

      22 matches against your conference + 12 matches against the other conference = 34 matches, the same length as the season is currently.

    • soccerhorn says:

      Detroit? You’re high. Detroit won’t even exist as a city by 2020. Minneapolis or St. Louis, ok. But Detroit? No way.

    • Mister JC says:

      Although I am opposed to MLS approaching a similar structure to the NFL, I’ll play along just for fun.

      If we’re going to do 4 GROUPS of six (let’s at least keep soccer terminology) with 2 TABLES (see prior note), this should be the schedule that accounts for a 34 game regular season.

      As stated a little ways down in the comments, each club plays other clubs in their table twice; once at home and once away. However, each club will play only 1 group from the other table for that season, also using the home and away format. Every other season, they would alternate which group to play.

      The primary reason for this is that I believe it is somewhat competitively disadvantageous to only play another club once and not have another shot at them. To me, it’s unbalanced and could make a difference in the end results of a season. Also, this would help make the playoffs a little more exciting, especially for clubs that would meet for the first time that year. It would mean a little more to play against a club you haven’t matched up with in two years…

      • Ceez says:

        I really, REALLY like this. I typically don’t read schedule propositions because it’s all conjecture and I doubt MLS/Garber reads our schedule proposals, so what’s the point? BUT, I decided to humor you and I really like your idea of having another shot at a non-table team.

        • Mister JC says:

          I feel the same as you really, but it’s fun to imagine. If the league is heading down the road to 24 clubs, doing this at least helps me cope with the probability that whatever path the league takes regarding this will most likely be garbage…

    • slowleftarm says:

      Why would you expand to Detroit?

    • Matt says:

      Why does LA play in your Northwest division but Chivas play in the South?

    • mack says:

      As a kc fan. I would like to keep chicago as a rivalry in our division. Only rival we have beingso far away from all other teams

    • Lorenzo says:

      Any way you cut it, we just have a huge country with way too much to travel.

  2. Noname says:

    Cosmos, Orlando, Miami, Atlanta….derbies in NYC (3x) and Florida and a presence in Southeast.

    • Steevens says:

      No. Just No.

    • Adub says:

      Swap San Antonio for Atlanta and you got me brother!

      Cosmos- are STILL the most valuable Soccer brand in this country. That alone makes them worth a look. Chance to be special. Stadium a struggle but do have plans.

      Miami- Beckham and the Bolivian millionaire will bring flair and big bucks. The stadium will be a struggle.

      San Antonio- They are top notch. In a few years that stadium will be MLS ready and they have a strong fan base. Creates great rivalry with Dallas and Houston.

      Orlando City- Everything is top notch and would create a rival in Miami, but with no Stadium maybe MLS looks at something else for the SE.

      • Steevens says:

        NY can’t even support NYRB, and now people insist on pushing the Cosmos AGAIN after the Cosmos lost out to Manchester Yankees NYCFC.

        WHY?????

        • EspinDOHla says:

          ^this! NYC3…ha! What a joke!

          And FL didn’t support their two teams so let’s put two more teams there!!!

          You want San Antonio, not ATL??? TX has two teams already and one is hardly even supported.

          • SailorJo says:

            MLS actually stated they were looking at Texas for another market. San Antonio will eventually be in.

        • McQ says:

          This statement about RB not having support makes no sense. They average over 18k a game. The fact that they play in a 25k arena at times makes it look like attendance may be lower. As for the Cosmos, it was apparent from the outset that MLS didn’t want them. Perhaps because Garber and the league(maybe even RedBulls) realized that they would eclipse the league very quickly and be hard to control. The fact is the day the New York Cosmos show up in NY, they would become the #1 MLS franchise in NY. I am puzzled by the choice to launch in the lower leagues but I assume they have a plan. They are further along than NYCFC regarding a stadium. I don’t know many people from the outer boroughs (where they actually play soccer) who actually go to Harrison regularly. Contrary to what they tell you, it is not easy to get there if you are not in Manhattan. So the question really hasn’t changed “Can NEW YORK support two teams?” (we shall see starting this Saturday night)

      • marta in miami says:

        Mr. Claure is a Billionaire actually + the stadium is NOT an issue – we have FIU which was built to MLS ideals with FIFA specs – and is great for soccer as #17 scored there playing for Miami FC too ! – then within 3 to 5 yrs we can build in the downtown area. I was out assessing the land options last week, as I am an Architect. Bring back our beloved Miami Fusion!

    • brian says:

      BOOM, nail on the head.

  3. Dimidri says:

    As long as it’s done smartly, dilution of preexisting talent should be minimal and the new talent these teams bring in (plus better youth development, soccer exposure, etc.) should more than make up for it. There is a near infinite amount of soccer players worldwide, comparisons to the NBA watering down its product don’t make sense because there are a finite amount of NBA caliber players. Similarly, while the EPL obviously also has a world market to choose from, there are fewer EPL-caliber players than MLS caliber ones. Did Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, Montreal, etc. dilute the league? Those were all rapid fire, and we got players like Marco Di Vaio, Diego Valeri, Nigel Reo Coker, etc. from that. Who knows if DeAndre Yeldin, Russel Teibert, and others would be here if MLS teams weren’t put in those cities.

    24 teams is easy from a scheduling perspective-12 teams in each conference, play each team in your conference twice, each team from the other conference once-34 games. Doesn’t hurt the “integrity” of the Supporter’s Shield anymore than the status quo does, still has clear East and West Conferences.

    When you consider that at a minimum 3 of these teams should be able to bring in pretty good talent (Orlando, Miami, New York) seems like a pretty good deal.

    • Dave80 says:

      Er, 2 x 12 + 12 = 36

      I started playing youth soccer in the Atlanta ‘burbs in the 70′s when there were few other metro areas even thinking about the game. Why doesn’t Atlanta already have an MLS team?

  4. Eugene says:

    Well, there are more interested parties than “available slots” and 24 teams in the top flight will make MLS the largest top flight in the world (right?), so at some point over the next seven years, promotion/relegation will become a much more relevant topic. The interest in MLS is also spilling over to the NASL which is adding franchises and building soccer-specific stadiums, so over the next seven years we may get to a point where promotion/relegation is financially sustainable for all the ownership groups.

    • Kirielson says:

      I honestly disagree. I think that people see Reg/Promotion as a great thing because it allows smaller cities to come up, but it’s really not the case at all. Most of the smaller teams (except for a few) are still in major metropolitan areas. On top of that, it rarely makes things fun and great for the clubs and essentially dooms most teams to mediocrity

      You can argue that MLS does that too, but with the playoff format and the salary cap, it forces teams to be smart and teams that were hot can turn bust while temas that are not good one year can compete for the next..

      • Dimidri says:

        I get that MLS is at least theoretically going after Euro-soccer types where pro/rel is in their blood, but I’ve always thought that before we ask if pro/rel would work in MLS, would it work in the US’ most popular sport-the NFL?

        If with the draft and free agency and the salary cap and whatnot it could logistically work, would NFL fans support their team in similar numbers in a second division if their team got relegated? Would NBA fans? MLB fans? Once again I get soccer is supposed to be “culturally different” in this regard, and to some extent it is, but I think those are still very relevant questions.

        • Kirielson says:

          Agreed. It’s like people think that everything should be like Europe but at the end, we need to get the best of Europe while leaving out the bad stuff.

        • Coco says:

          don’t know if it would work in the NFL and its irrelevant,

          pro/rel is used in 99% of soccer leagues on the planet and it works everywhere.

          it would be huge for the U.S.

          • Joe+G says:

            But it works because (1) there are enough clubs available and willing to move up a level, (2) because the economic difference between 1 & 2 isn’t so great that the teams moving up or down will be at a massive economic disadvantage and (3) the clubs have an established base of support that will continue to show up even if the team drops divisions.

            While it always looks appealing, we would need far more than the 40 or so “pro” teams we have now (some percentage of which are only 2 rain soaked games away from going broke) and we would need well-healed ownership groups that are committed to the game. We aren’t there yet.

            And pro/rel doesn’t really work that well in Liga MX where teams can basically buy their way out of relegation.

          • Jee says:

            It would be huge in your fantasy land.

          • THomas says:

            It will take a very long, long, long time to ever work in the US. I’m talking 100 years. The culture just isn’t there in American sports.

            Think about it. For comparison sake, let’s look at the US vs. the UK. In the UK, every town, big and small, has a team they support. In the big cities, it’s multiple teams. Hundreds of teams are supported, most with their own stadiums, and that’s all in a country many times smaller then the US. It’s comparable to a region of the US in size and population. So each state and/or region in the US would almost have to be it’s own league, with every town in that region having a team. Then MLS is almost like a Champions League rather than a top flight league.

            The extent to which soccer would have to grow to make pro/rel feasible is a long way off.

            • slowleftarm says:

              You have some points but I think pro/rel is feasible with 2 20 team divisions within 20 years. The concept isn’t that difficult to grasp and doesn’t require a huge cultural shift.

              Plus I think you vastly overrate the support that exists for lower division clubs in England. Most of them are really small entities, not comparable to MLS clubs. For instance, in League One this season, there are 6 or 7 teams whose grounds have capacities under 10k. That’s not even looking at actual attendances.

              • slowleftarm says:

                Just following up on that, according to Wikipedia, the average League One attendance last year was 6,319. We could have a third flight with attendance like that in the not too distant future I think. It’ll take a little while but it’s easily doable.

              • THomas says:

                I get what you’re saying with the size and support as you go down, it makes sense. Which is why I brought up the regional thing. It’s not cost effective for small teams to travel great distances, it’s too expensive. In Euro countries, the travel is very limited. But even in the USL Pro or NASL, it’s a significant portion of the budget.

          • john Lowe says:

            I don’t think Pro/Rel works in many places. Teams who get relegated often suffer severe financial difficulties and sometimes go bankrupt. I don’t think Pro/Rel fits in with American soccer culture. I would not want to spend a bunch of money on an MLS franchise only to get relegated the next season. There is no reason we cannot build our own soccer culture here in the USA.

          • Northzax says:

            Define ‘work’ what does it accomplish? Teams go up, and can’t compete, so they go back down. Teams know they have one year, so they can either pocket the extra money, or try desperately to sign players they can’t afford to try and stay up. Then tey go back down, and offload those players to the next suckers to go up. So you’re stuck with yoyo clubs (like my beloved Reading) too rich for the second division, not rich enough for the first. How is this effective at anything? How is this a better good? You need time to develop a team, and those clubs don’t have that. If you’re a midtable team, you can’t burn your club down and rebuild, the risks are too high, so you are content with being tenth. You can’t build for three years from now, you have to win now, and that only helps the rich clubs (quick, who’s going to win the epl in 2016? La Liga? The Bundesliga? Serie A? If you listed more than ten clubs for all four of those divisions, you’re a fool; the answers are ManUnited, ManCity, Real, Barca, Dortmund, Bayern, Juve, AC Milan. Inter. Everyone else is just trying to survive. Now who’s going to win MLS this year? Halfway through, and five or six clubs can make a decent claim to having a shot. Two year away? No clue. Could be anyone. Why would you prefer the first system to the second?

  5. Steevens says:

    Cities that we know are interested (off the top of my head): Orlando, Miami, Atlanta, St. Louis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Milwaukee, Sacramento, Detroit.

    I’m sure I missed a few too.

    The competition should get interesting.

    • Brian says:

      San Antonio. They have a brand new 8k stadium that can expand up to 18k. They are more MLS ready than most teams being listed. We might also ask if another Canadian team would be added, possibly Edmonton or Ottawa.

    • Ted Drews says:

      Explain St. Louis?

      They had a great turnout for Chelsea v. Man City. There are some more games scheduled that might sell well.

      But has there been any ownership interest since Jeff Cooper tried to pull everyone over to Illinois? It would be encouraging if they could put together an NASL side but even that seems to be an impossibility.

      A-B was the 500 lbs. gorilla in the room but that muscle has been dilluted with the InBev purchase.

      It seems other cities have built a solid base over a period of years that deserve a look before St. Louis: Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Cleveland, Minnesota, Raleigh/Charlotte.

      • Steevens says:

        St. Louis is often mentioned because it has often been in the discussion, although with less established ownership groups than other cities currently have.

        St. Louis has more history/connection to US Soccer than most cities in the country. A significant portion of the 1950 team that defeated England was from St. Louis. That history contributes as well.

        • Naugles says:

          I know ALL of that. You might have gleaned from my post that I am very familiar with metro area.

          I guess it is the fun of these boards to consider what it would be like to have a team on the moon. But at some point, logic and reason enter the conversation if you want to discuss what four cities will get teams.

          There is not an NFL team in Canton, OH, a NBA team in Springfield, MA, or a MLB team in Cooperstown, NY although they all have more history/connection to those sports than most every other city.

          They also have the same number of well-funded adults willing to pay $100m for a franchise and build a SSS as St. Louis does.

          St.L was able to produce only one person- a successful trial lawyer- to chase an MLS team when the franchise fee was $40m and AB was tied closer to the city. At this point, the only way it’s going to happen is convincing a Russian/Arab billionaire of the enormous street cred he’ll get owning a MLS franchise in St.l.

          The only reason to have a team there, it has been suggested, was to create a natural rival for KC, which -if the baseball “rivalry” is any gauge- is tepid at best. I’m sure the Blues, Billikens, Rams, and municipal police will be happy not having competition for the local sports dollar and/or two sporting events on the same day too.

          Finally, if St.L was such a great soccer town, they would have had some team playing since 1996.

          Seattle and Portland it is not.

    • Hogatroge says:

      Now subtract the teams that are only interested in a tenant to fill their NFL stadium during the offseason…

      Of that list, Orlando and Miami are the most likely. After that, Atlanta. Despite the fact that Atlanta fan attendance sucks, there’s no better place to tap into the Southeast… unless an ownership group in Nashville suddenly appeared from nowhere with an amazing plan.

      • jlm says:

        ATL fits your description of an owner who simply wants a team so that he can fill dates in his NFL stadium. hope he would put the right people in charge and actually put money into the team, but I am a little skeptical. Also, I hope the fans would support the team, but again, I am skeptical.

  6. bryan says:

    Well Orlando is a lock. If Becks finds the right owner and a legit stadium deal, which is a lot to do, it’ll happen. The other two are a toss up. Looking forward to seeing what happens.

    Also, they need to cut the trophy presentation in the all star game.

    • bryan says:

      It’s also interesting to hear Garber mention SKC as an example of what can happen with Chivas. I think most people agree they should just rebrand like SKC did. A 2nd LA team makes sense. But Gabrber made it seem like that wasn’t going to happen. So moving the team was the next option.

      • Hogatroge says:

        Well, if a new owner buys the team and agrees to keep it in LA, I don’t see why the league would turn down a request for a rebrand. It was obviously instrumental for SKC.

        • bryan says:

          Right, but he also said there were no plans to sell them and that Chivas didn’t want to sell. Not to,mention there doesn’t seem to be another interested owner. So if that all ends up true, does MLS force Vergara to rebrand?

  7. Coco says:

    Say goodbye to the traditional soccer fan. These nfl guys running this league just don’t get it

    • Neruda says:

      Wait. You know MLS stands for Major League Soccer. That’s right, the sport being played is soccer. Same sport that traditional fans have traditionally loved for ages.

      Think of it as the best of both worlds: NFL guys know how to make a crazy successful league except the leagues sport is… soccer.

      • Coco says:

        no other country plays NFL football. It doesn’t matter how they structure the league.

        Soccer is the global game.

        • Will says:

          Are you upset about the fact that there are more than 20 teams in the top division? It would be silly to expect the top flight of a geographically massive country to be limited to 20 teams. It works in countries like England, Spain, Italy, Germany, etc. because of their size. The US is a massive country that demands more than just 20 teams in its top flight.

        • Kirielson says:

          And no other league has as many teams in the elite tier of value than the NFL too.

          • Coco says:

            its a different sport and a bad analogy. The NFL is not global. It has no competition from other leagues.

            its stupid to think you could take the sport of soccer, structure it like NFL, and then think you will have success.

            soccer is global and its fans are not stupid.

            • Brian says:

              Soccer fans are as stupid as any other fan group in the world. Look at the structural changes MLB went through to improve their league. Going single table because of tradition or “that’s what everyone else does” is stupid. MLB made similar changes because at some point single table stops working.

            • Neruda says:

              It’s appropriate for MLS to borrow from the nfl (all major American sports leagues) certain things. But the sport is soccer so you can enjoy soccer games in the US or ignore it because the league is set up different Europe.

              It’s a smart way of getting Americans to follow soccer. You can’t have every league in the world have the same structure but you can expect every soccer league to play the same sport on the field. The sport of soccer.

            • Oculus says:

              The NFL is not a global league, yet makes more money then any soccer league in the world, that should tell you something.

              • WSW says:

                True…so the only way for MLS to be on par with NFL is to get best world players and that isn’t happening…ever….

              • Oculus says:

                WSW, who says MLS won’t have the best players in the world?Who is to say the best players in the world wont come from MLS academies? Also leagues grow with better TV revenue, and players love money. So if MLS has more money in the league to spend, players will follow.

              • Coco says:

                soccer is not the NFL you frickin MLS-bots!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              • Oculus says:

                COCO stop being stupid, this is an American league and has every right to act as such. Each Soccer model is build on each individual soccer nation. That is what MLS is doing, by following the NFL. The most successful sports business in the world. Which is why the people at Sky Sports and the EPL love the NFL, the money they make, and the American business structure.

              • Neruda says:

                Easy with the exclamations coco.

                You’d go up to don garber and tell him that not enough are watching MLS so therefore we should go back to the 20th century euro model. Why do u want to see that when it would only alienate gridiron fans even more?

                MLS is growing and as evidence you just have to look at what the tv options were for watching games merely five years ago.

        • x says:

          Because every league in the world is structured exactly the same and has the same calendar, rules, and league structure, right?

          A lot of places have apertura/clausura. Mexico has a playoff system, whether you want to call it that or not with the Clausura Liguilla. Scandanavian leagues take the winter off to freeze their nuts off in the snow. South American teams have winter at the same time the Northern Hemisphere has winter, so are they supposed to keep the same calendar, or the same seasonal calendar?

          And really, can anybody figure out the Mexican relegation system? It relies on the results of Apertura and Clausura over the last three (?) years, with a point system assigned. So, the team that finished 8th (out of 18 teams) this most recent season (Queretaro), didn’t get to participate in the playoffs (Clausura Liguilla) because they were to be relegated. Huh?

          Maybe that’s the system we should adopt. It would appeal to baseball fans with their love of statistics.

        • CT says:

          Coco, focus for a minute. The NFL is BY FAR the most successful professional sports league in the world. No other league is even close. And MLS doesn’t have things it can learn from the NFL. Wake up!

          • dsgntd_plyr says:

            “The NFL is BY FAR the most successful professional sports league in the world. No other league is even close.”

            The NFL has no competition. It’s more of a monopoly than the NBA/MLB/NHL. MLS isn’t close to their positions.

            “And MLS doesn’t have things it can learn from the NFL. Wake up!”

            Coco didn’t say that. His [her?] point is the NFL is unique, MLS is not, so MLS needs to look more to other soccer leagues. J. League basically copied the Bundesliga and saved itself [AFC rates it as their best league and Deliotte put it in the world top 10 for income].

            Personally I prefer the latin system. With cold snowy winters in the north and east. And hot summers almost everywhere the US is perfect for the latin format.

  8. OMG says:

    Thank you jesus
    24 teams- NYC2, Miami FC, Orlando and St. Louis and Ottawa

    • DYCSoccer17 says:

      Ottawa? Really? They can’t even support a CFL team, and the only reason why their NHL team draws is due to travelling fans from Toronto and Montreal. No way.

    • Hogatroge says:

      Ottawa ain’t happening. Sorry.

      23. Team in Southeast, whether it’s in Atlanta, NC, Charleston, Nashville, or Birmingham.
      24.

    • jubez says:

      If another team comes to Canada, it would either be in Calgary, or else a second team in Toronto. No where else makes sense.

      Actually, second teams in Chicago and toronto would be a great idea. It would make for Derby matches in the top four markets. If you want to build fan interest fast, this might be the best way to do it.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      3 if not 4 of those teams would likely fail, which is precisely why the 4 team expansion idea is foolish. I think it encourages expansion to the point where mistakes almost have to be made.

  9. DYCSoccer17 says:

    I hope that Sacramento is seriously considered. They’d be a natural rivalry with San Jose, and they have the population who would support a team. They had over 14000 for a friendly between a second division Mexican team and Norwich a couple weeks ago, which was held on a Thursday night. Sacramento has also invested in a marquee coach like Preki, and their technical director is Graham Smith, who was with Chelsea at one point. Lack of a stadium might be a stumbling block, but they have a few years to figure that out.

    • Gnarls says:

      Regarding the stadium issue, land doesn’t seem to be an issue in Sac. There are areas that can be redeveloped along the river in West Sac, and there’s virtually infinite agricultural land that can be developed up there. If an investment group is serious – and they’d have to be in order to be considered by MLS – they’ll get a stadium deal done.

  10. byob el paso tx says:

    How about communicate with NASL and USL, in order to make MLS-2 and MLS-3, and maybe make a new league new and structured the soccer american pyramid, D1 to D4.
    As for expansion, MLS needs to 24 to 28 teams. Having an even number of teams in the west and east, is the best solution and simplest.
    But, if Orlando and Miami already have a foot in, then it doesn’t make sense to stop at 24 by 2020, garber should have said, we will have 24 to 28 team league by 2022.
    Cities with a real MLS future:
    EAST: Miami, Orlando,
    WEST: Sacramento ( According to reports,SSS downtown is for sure)
    But what about those cities who are hustling MLS about expansion, and just are wannabes like Detroit, Minneapolis, NC/NC, Phoenix, Vegas, tampa bay vsi, baltimore, san antonio, oklahoma, cosmos.
    All i gotta say, if Garber wants 24 teams and Miami, Orlando and Sacramento are most likely in, then there is ONLY ONE spot left in the WEST. That is why i repeast, garber should have said, we want to be a 24 to 28 team league with promotion and relegation in the future.
    Best type of relegation and promotion in MLS, would be for MLS to go for 30 teams. Have 28 MLS teams and two NASL. One NASL team in each conference, east and west and only the NASL team is relegated, until owners agree when to relegate MLS teams.So worst NASL team every two years is relegated.

  11. yankeedandy says:

    Yep I agree with that. 24 clubs. It will stretch the league a bit. Raise the salary cap to $4million by 2020 and allow 4 DP’s for each team that don’t count toward the cap. Our league is arguably on level with Scandinavia. Our teams are better but our salary cap is lower than even their cheapest clubs. Heck even Hammarby in the 2nd swedish division has more money than Galaxy.

    20th-NYC2
    21- Orlando
    22-Ottawa
    23. St. Louis
    24. Miami

    that way we have our teams in the Southeast and can draw in more Hispanic support. BTW move Chivas to East Los Angeles.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      Two FL teams? No thanks! Teams have already failed in that state. Put teams in other cities in the South!!!!!!

    • TimChapman says:

      By 2020, hopefully the salary cap is WAY above 4 million. I think this expansion is part of MLS’s push to really be an elite league by 2022 as is their stated goal, which makes me think they envision the salary cap being much higher in the future as well.

    • Scott e Dio93 says:

      I do agree with 4 DPs not being part salary cap with higher salary cap helps marketing wise and competition wise, but markets like Miami won’t support MLS teams because people around here think it’s crap. I do live in area, people here follow European soccer and only Impact would fill-up the stadiums here. While Chivas is total failure, mexicans will never support MLS because nationalism and xenophobia, just dismantle Chivas.

  12. yankeedandy says:

    Our first division needs at least 24 clubs but no more than 30.

    Our second division needs 10-16 clubs
    Our third division can be a reserve for the 2nd division and could support say 12 teams.

    Both 2nd/3rd divisions can be propped up by college players and youth players from the u-17/u-20 teams. That should do the job. Get the colleges to acknowledge the lower leagues and to feed them.

    Our soccer doesn’t have to be just a feeder to England anymore

    • Will says:

      From my experience, most of the NASL is filled with former college players as it is. Guys that didn’t play in the bigger programs and couldn’t get drafted into MLS.

    • Joe+G says:

      One issue will be the NCAA. Youth players can be on pro teams (assuming they aren’t paid), but current college players can’t. You could put PDL-type teams in, but not with paid players. Of course, at some point, the money at the youth (and college age) levels will be good enough that it doesn’t make sense to worry about college for many of the athletes and their families.

  13. yankeedandy says:

    MLS needs 24 teams. In 40 years we might become the best soccer league on the planet but we need to grow. Raise that salary cap to 5 million within a decade.

  14. I can bring the thunder says:

    Canada needs a 4th MLS club. So if we expand to 24 teams, throw them 1. You just know they’ll support it. Give them a 15,000 stadium if you don’t believe me.

    We need the Canadians to go APE NUTS over MLS. right?

    • EspinDOHla says:

      I think Canada needs it’s own league. If we had 30 teams like MLB/NBA/NHL, sure have Canadian teams. But we don’t so move the 3 Canadian spots to the southeast (FL, NC, ATL???), the new spots could go to 4 of these cities: St. Louis, Minneapolis, Sacramento, Phoenix, Cleveland, Detroit, Vegas, Baltimore, Nashville, San Antonio, etc.

      I’m sure the Canadians would never go for this but it would be better for US Soccer and Canadian soccer as there would be more academies in the respective countries to develop local youth. Plus, it would make the CONCACAF champions league more legit. Seeing a failing MLS team like Toronto in the champions league is just strange.

      • Joe+G says:

        Why? Canada has 32 million people with 75% of them living within 90 miles of the US. They wouldn’t be able to support an all-Canadian version of the NHL at today’s wages, and we know they love hockey a whole lot more than soccer.

        While the ideal would be for them to have their own league, it doesn’t make sense to try to change the pattern that has happened with the other North American sports leagues (excluding the NFL).

        Maybe Canada should look to establishing a 2nd division of Canadian teams, but they have a even greater money and soccer support issue than we have. They are better served playing in a better league with fewer teams than trying to build their own USL-Pro.

        • EspinDOHla says:

          Why? Because how can a professional sports league in the US ignore an entire quarter of the country all the while adding 3 Canadian teams, a second team team in LA that happens to be Mexican, and a second team in NYC? That is ridiculous!

          Canadian population numbers don’t matter when 1/4 of the US has no team.

  15. BTW says:

    best special forces in the world?

    Delta Force? Navy Seals? Green Berets? Army Rangers? British SAS? Australian SAS? Or Israeli special forces?

    • Old School says:

      So, my relevant soccer post gets eaten by the moderation filter and this ridiculous post makes its way through.

      Makes since, Ives.

      -Said no one

      • MN Footie says:

        Dude, get over the moderation thing. I’m sure Ives is working on honing it, and even if he isn’t – you don’t have to visit the website. The thing is, this is about the best source of American news/conversation we have, so just accept it for what it is.

    • Scott e Dio93 says:

      No SWCC or Marine Recon? Best Armed Forces belong to Department of Navy!

      Hoorah Navy!

    • H-Town says:

      You forgot pararescue, tac-p, combat control, and the ever awesome combat weather!

  16. 23 says:

    so by the time MLS have its 25th anniversary it will have 24 clubs. That’s a pretty great gift

  17. caa says:

    24 teams

    NYC2, Orlando, Miami, Ottawa, ST.Louis

    Seems doable to me. Make sure every team can have a maximum of 4 DP’s. Raise the salary cap to 4 million by 2020. Watch the league succeed. Make it easier for Canadian players to be counted as Domestic. Recruit more cheaper African/South American talent. Give more cash to academies for each MLS team

  18. Joe says:

    Everyone saying Detroit as an option, wouldn’t the VW sponsorship deal hurt a large section of Detroit money? Most of the big money in Detroit is tied to big auto and if VW has a lock then they basically eliminate any auto money.

    I think Orlando and Miami (unless Becks chooses somewhere else) are locks. San Antonio is a West option. Sacramento maybe? Minny? A 4th Canadian team?

  19. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    I’m worried. I don’t think MLS needs to go to 24 teams. They want to go to 24. So what happens? Diluted talent pool, weak support, and opportunity for criticism. I vote for staying at 20. Who’s with me? We’ll start a petition!

    • xmen says:

      No. EXPANSION is happening. Get on board or left behind. We can get even cheaper talent from abroad

    • nolefan says:

      Expansion won’t dilute the talent pool. It will keep the kids from going to Mexico and Europe early. Look at how many youth players sign in Germany, Mexico, and Scandinavia instead of college and MLS. Those kids alone will instead increase the talent pool.

      • Kiphino says:

        Those kids are leaving because they can get paid more somewhere else. I don’t see how expanding the league by the number of teams will increase salaries across the board. In fact, it might make for lower salaries. Low salaries=low talent.

    • WSW says:

      I agree, they need to stop at 20 and fix current issues with Chivas USA, New England stadium and salary cap, New CBA, New TV contracts, etc…..

    • Daekor says:

      I agree. Stay with 20, solidify the lower divisions so that pro/rel can be viable in the future.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Pro-rel will not happen, not only do its advocates overlook what it does to teams, and the perverse incentives it can create to overreach, but what American owner do you think is going to buy a team that he thinks is D1 with D1 economics that could be D2 tomorrow?

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I’m not a big fan of it, either. I think they could solve some of this by moving Chivas and picking just one or two teams. I’d be content moving it to San Antonio and being done with it. Low risk, let the existing teams flourish.

  20. xmen says:

    NYC2, Miami, Orlando, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Atlanta, St. Louis, Ottawa

    Pick 5 teams from there (1 has to be NYC2 and the other probably has to be Ottawa. Canada needs another team)

  21. xmen says:

    Ottawa or Calgary. Doesn’t matter. Canada needs a 4th MLS team within the next decade. Yes

    2nd. If Beckham wants a team in MIAMI, then MLS will get that done.

    3rd. A club in Orlando should have some Disney support or Nickelodeon or some crap.

    4th. St. Louis is the historical hotbed of American soccer, Give it to them

    5th. NYC2 will be the only addition to New York. Cosmos should stay in 2nd division. The way it is

    If we expand beyond 24 we should give it spaces to Minneapolis, Atlanta, Phoenix, San Antonio, Charlotte and Sacramento

  22. Travis says:

    See a lot of people thinking it will be Atlanta, Miami, Orlando plus another team. Highly doubt it though, the MLS is going to go from having no teams in the SE to suddenly having three? Unlikely, especially considering Florida hasn’t exactly been great to them in the past. Atlanta probably makes sense and Orlando seems to deserve it but we will see, things could change fast if Beckham gets traction in Miami.

    Think it will come down to what four cities can put together the best bid that includes a SSS

  23. WSW says:

    It’s my conspiracy but I think in reality some teams are losing money and the only way to prop them up is through new teams/expansion fees.

    • Jee says:

      WSW is everywhere!!!

    • Gnarls says:

      That’s not a sustainable solution to teams hemorrhaging money. Garber is an intelligent guy. He knows teams need to fix themselves in order to be successful. He’s dropped the ball on Chivas, but it sounds like changes are coming.

  24. Wisco says:

    Can we get some love for the Twin Cities here? TCFC sounds great already, there are no teams in this part of the country – aside from Chicago, KC. Soccer is growing exponentially in the metro and a youth academy to an MLS side would be a welcome addition to the select academies already in formation.

    What are the chances for MPLS/STP to get one of these 4 expansion teams, 0-100?

    I’ll ‘kick’ things off with 65%.
    90% to have a team within the next two decades.

    • MN Footie says:

      As a fellow Twin Cities fan/resident, I’m sad to see that you put the number at 65%. Even if it’s accurate. I find it hard to be too objective about these things, so putting on my rose-colored glasses, I’ll say 85%. We had great support for the Thunder for almost 2 decades before mismanagement/rebranding happened, and the current iteration of our NASL team has pretty good support. We’re not talking Pacific Northwest-style, but it’s growing, and an MLS team would only confirm that.

  25. EspinDOHla says:

    Everyone here automatically claims Orlando and Miami for the “southern” teams. First, FL has had two failures so no…just no!! Second, this site’s namesake said in a previous podcast that people don’t understand when it comes to a NYC2 team. Ives stated that Harrison, NJ and NYC were worlds apart. Well, I’ll take that same logic and apply it to the south.

    Do yall honestly think people in Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky are going to get behind a team in Orlando or Miami? No way! Because, using Ives worlds apart logic, Orlando/Miami are worlds apart from all the states listed above.

    Put a team (or teams) in ATL, Nashville, or NC. If FL can make the third time a charm, ok, but they certainly don’t deserve 2 teams!!!

    • R U ManU? says:

      From an RSL supporter (raised in Salt Lake City) living in Arkansas, you’re 100% correct on this. Something many here seem to neglect is that College Football is king in much of the South, and to think that the antagonisms, rivalries, and passion (both for and against other regions due to NCAA football team affiliation) wouldn’t carry over into MLS team support/fan affiliations is to only expose a woeful ignorance of the South. Few LSU or Alabama fans would ever bring themselves to support a team representing Florida Gators or U of Miami territory, even though College football should have nothing to do with MLS. Arkansas doesn’t even have a Pro team in any sports, and yet most still root for anyone playing against the Dolphins. Tell me that makes sense? New Orleans, Atlanta, Nashville or somewhere in the Carolinas all have a better chance at capturing some support from the southeast region more so than Florida. It is indeed “worlds apart”.

  26. El Paso tx says:

    This sounds good
    As for expansion, MLS needs to 24 to 28 teams. Having an even number of teams in the west and east, is the best solution and simplest.
    But, if Orlando and Miami already have a foot in, then it doesn’t make sense to stop at 24 by 2020, garber should have said, we will have 24 to 28 team league by 2022.
    Cities with a real MLS future:
    EAST: Miami, Orlando,
    WEST: Sacramento ( According to reports,SSS downtown is for sure)
    But what about those cities who are hustling MLS about expansion, and just are wannabes like Detroit, Minneapolis, NC/NC, Phoenix, Vegas, tampa bay vsi, baltimore, san antonio, oklahoma, cosmos.
    All i gotta say, if Garber wants 24 teams and Miami, Orlando and Sacramento are most likely in, then there is ONLY ONE spot left in the WEST. That is why i repeast, garber should have said, we want to be a 24 to 28 team league with promotion and relegation in the future.
    Best type of relegation and promotion in MLS, would be for MLS to go for 30 teams. Have 28 MLS teams and two NASL. One NASL team in each conference, east and west and only the NASL team is relegated, until owners agree when to relegate MLS teams.So worst NASL team every two years is relegated.

  27. SailorJo says:

    I think 24 by ’20 is actually a conservative number coming from Garber.

    Imagine 40 MLS teams by 2040?

    They could then create a second division, devise their own form of pro/rel, making sure no MLS team suffers by falling to the second flight.

    Fans, happy. FIFA, happy. MLS, loaded.

  28. MLSatlanta says:

    I’m sick of people writing Atlanta off as a bad sports town. The Falcons and braves have great support and the hawks have been steadily picking up over the past few years. The thrashers left because Atlanta is not a hockey city. However, soccer is huge in Georgia.

    What people need to realize is that soccer fans and your average baseball/football/basketball fans are often two completely different targeted audiences. Just because people didn’t care to see a hockey team doesn’t mean that there aren’t thousands of Hispanics, immigrants, and just die hard soccer fans that would support the hell out of a team if we had one.

    The Silverbacks have been tearing it up in the NASL and are currently selling out their 5k seat stadium every home game. 5k might not sound like a whole lot but what it shows is that people here are craving professional soccer and we are outgrowing our lower division status. The next step is MLS and I think people would be surprised to see just how much interest their is down here.

    • Thepoorwayfarer says:

      Attaboy!

    • Atlantakayaker says:

      Yeah Atlanta is really a lock at this point in time for a team in 2017. We have a team that has support they just need a stadium to play in. I am not thrilled with playing in a NFL stadium but the stadium is being build with soccer in mind. The silverbacks and falcons are the same colors so really they can move in and not look like they are renters.

      The gold cup games here drew 50k for mexico and panama had a good fan showing. I really have to say that Atlanta is probably a lock at this point in time because there are no hurdles left other than time. I personally think its going to be Atlanta Miami Orlando with Minn and Chivas USA moving to phoenix or San Antonio.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      Hear, hear!!!

      AL resident. Love the Braves. The SE would get behind an ATL team, not so much a FL team.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Sorry dude. Atlanta is the worst sports town in America. Only Miami is close. The worst. And that’s for traditional American sports. Imagine the thousands of good ol boys who’d never dream of going to a soccer game because it’s too “French” or because it isn’t college football. It’s not a conincidence that MLS put three teams in Canada before a single team in the south.

      • AJ Striker says:

        And you base this comment about Atlanta on what? Do you even realize how big of a city, and how diverse Atlanta actually is? ATL is the OBVIOUS choice.

        • slowleftarm says:

          I base this comment on the extremely poor support Atlanta gives its sports teams. What do you base your opinion on?

          • R U ManU? says:

            Too “French” you say? I’ll have you know Atlanta had the Louvre Atlanta High Art Museum, hosting many works and artifacts that had, previous to their transit and display in Atlanta, never left the French royal archives in Paris or the Louvre or Versailles. I think you seriously underestimate the diversity of ATL’s population. I understand your reservation with a sports team housed there, but they have been supporting fairly consistently their Silverbacks, An MLS franchise may well fair better than you give Atlanta residents credit for…

  29. Thepoorwayfarer says:

    Speaking as someone in the Atlanta area – can we go ahead and stop considering ANY Florida teams as part of the Southeast? Culturally: it’s not Southern, except for maybe the panhandle; geographically, it’s its own entity too – a long and distant peninsula requiring many, many hours of driving for anyone in Georgia, NC, SC, Tenn, etc. Not that Florida doesn’t deserve a team or two, but for people to refer to a Florida team as representing the southeast it’s somewhat inaccurate. Florida doesn’t represent the southeast any more than Western NY represents New England.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Orlando is still pretty southern but nudge nudge Miami is a very distinct Amero-Latin-Euro thing, I agree. You cross the Okeechobee wilderness area in the middle and it’s like you’ve arrived in a different planet culturally.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      Thepoorwayfarer gets it!

      As I said above, people in the SE will not support a team from Orlando/Miami. It’s funny how people say Harrison, NJ and NYC are on different planets so there should be another NYC team but readily claim the “Southern” team should be Orlando/Miami.

      Look at the Braves, people in the SE love that team. I grew up in Mobile and the Braves are my MLB team. People in the SE would get behind an ATL team because, like Thepoorwayfarer said, culturally ATL is a southern city.

    • Nick says:

      Yeah, anything in Flordia south of the Florida Turnpike/I-75 split is not Southern, culturally speaking, and no one in the South will care one iota about it. So, to recap, Jacksonville/Daytona Beach/entire Pandhandle: Southern. Orlando and anything south of it: not Southern. You can put a team in Orlando if you want, but it won’t be a Southern team, and nobody in the larger South, probably nobody even in the areas of Flordia that I mentioned as the South, will support the team.

    • R U ManU? says:

      + 1

  30. gtv says:

    Expanding in the Southeast makes the most sense. ATL, North Carolina, and Florida. Good support for soccer in each of those areas and could create a natural regional rivalry as in the Northwest.

    MLS really needs to figure out the NY teams. Can the NY area support 3 NY teams? Yes, it probably could, so why not give the nod to the Cosmos? But is that a good thing for exposure and business?

    • EspinDOHla says:

      You seem to contradict yourself.

      You want to expand to the SE, which I am very much in favor of as my previous post illustrate. However, you want a THIRD team in NYC?!?! No way. Just like you said to expand to the SE, MLS needs to expand to cities and areas with ZERO teams.

    • John says:

      Expanding to the SE is also important for the sheer fact of dipping into the biggest and best pool of athletic talent in the country. Just think of what could happen if soccer could start pulling some of those amazing athletes that end playing football, baseball, and basketball. I grew up in the Mobile area and fell in love with soccer as a result of the ’94 World Cup. The youth programs were exploding at that time and I was lucky to have that happen. Unfortunately, as a fan, pro-soccer was hard to follow at the time (I am so glad I moved to Seattle around the same time the Sounders came in to MLS). A well run team in a place like ATL would capture a lot of kids’ attention and dramatically expand our talent pool.

  31. Statto says:

    In terms of what would and what wouldn’t make a good expansion, it’s stupid to write off any city until you know where the stadium will be.

    If Seattle’s stadium were 50 miles outside downtown would they rock 40k a game, likewise would NE Revs only get 12K in downtown Boston?

    Nearly all the best attended games happen in Downtown stadiums easily accessible to a completely different market to NFL, It would be interesting to see the data of how far the average MLS fan travels to home games vs NFL.

    I guess the average MLS fan travels less then 10 miles whilst NFL might be over 50miles.

    In this case it’s dumb to comment that 8m+ population of NYC couldn’t support 3 teams, as the likelihood is that fans will come from a radius of 10miles around the stadium. If there’s 1m+ people in a 10 mile radius you need just 2% to get 20,000 a games.

    Take NYRB RedBull Arena has a population in 10mile radius of 3,106,332, to which they get a MLS 18k average attendance = 0.6% support from 10mile radius

    Yankee stadium has 10mile population radius of 6,234,250, so similar 0.6% support would get 37,405, but even 0.3% support would see above MLS average attendance of 18,702

    Hofstra where Cosmos play has 10mile pop radius of 2,761,374 so 16,567 if 0.6% supported them, just below MLS average. But rises to 19,329 if 0.7% support, and at 0.9% support would see them sell out their proposed stadium at 24,852.

    Here’s Seattle vs NE

    Seattle stadium, 10mile radius pop= 916,868 = MLS 42,000 average atten = around 4.5% support from 10mile radius pop.

    NE Gillette Stadium 10mile pop = 355,300 MLS average atten 14,000 = around 4% 10mile radius pop.

    Whereas Fenway Park 10mile pop = 1,682,627 which means only 1.5% support would see NE Revs get 25k attendence.

  32. dikranovich says:

    its hard to believe that out of all the posts on this subject of expansion, there is not one mention or guess that a team be placed in what is probably the most beautiful city in America, and in light of the fact that Columbus crew were just bought by a bay area investor, you might think san Francisco has a good chance to get one of the next five spots.

  33. Stephen J says:

    It’s good news for the league to see growth to 24 clubs. With the 32 game schedule which the league has started two years ago, this is the prefect size for the league. I also don’t see any pressure from FIFA going over the recommended league size of 20, since the league services both the U.S. and Canada at the 1st Division level. My gut is that this is the last round of expansion we will see for the 15 to 20 years. As to alignment, I not see any chance of a divisional breakout, just two conferences east-west with 12 clubs each. In other words the two table system as we have today will continue. The question is who will else 4 new clubs be? It seems that 2 are pretty set with Orlando ready to become team 21 and Beckham’s franchsie (possibily Miami) as the 22nd. This means it will be a dog fight for the remaining two slots between Atlanta, San Antonio, St. Louis, Sacramento, Phoenix and Minneapolis. If read anything from the additional requirements put forth for Commissioner Garber,

    1) Location
    2) committed and engaged ownership
    3) demonstrated fan support for professional soccer
    4) a comprehensive stadium plan
    5) support of sponsors and TV partners
    6) strategic business plan for launching a club

    It would seem to me that the frontrunners would Atlanta and San Antionio. But only time will tell,
    On the Subject of Chivas USA, along with the statement no plans to relocate any exisiting teams. But they will look to sucess formual to team such as Sporting Kansas City. My best guess is that they will push for a new commitment in ownership, a rebranding to possibiliy “Los Angeles FC” and push for a new soccer specific stadium in Exposition Park.

  34. Jacknut says:

    You know, MLS should look at Mexico City and London as possible expansion sites. No MLS teams there, big cities, lots of potential sponsors.

  35. Alex says:

    I can’t believe I’m actually worrying about this but this expansion plan makes me nervous. I understand that expansion has to happen, and it makes sense geographically, but I’ve got (old) NASL paranoia! I know things are/were different, but one bitten – twice shy.

    I’m going to assume they did the extensive market research necessary to know that 4 teams in 7 years in actually a viable option. I do trust them on that, just makes me nervous!

  36. Jee says:

    Pro/rel and NASL fanboys are pissed off about this.

  37. THomas says:

    I think a few teams need ‘re-branding’ and their situations addressed before the league continues to expand.

    Maybe it’s jealousy, but living in Chicago, one of the charter members of the league, I long for game-day experience that the new teams create. The Cascadia teams, KC, etc. I feel that any market to come in now has a huge advantage. It’s easier to just get started then to start over at this point. So the original teams are the ones struggling now, and they keep falling farther behind as more teams come into the league. Again, maybe it’s just jealousy.

  38. slowleftarm says:

    On our way to 40 teams with 2 twenty team divisions and pro/rel! Yes!!

  39. Scott e Dio93 says:

    If such crappy salary cap and socialism system with 24 teams; I don’t see MLS improving the quality of the product shown in TV and quality to complete Internationally. Only positive note, it bring more jobs.

    • MN Footie says:

      Socialism!

      FYI – the MLS is a private entity, and can operate according to whatever economic model it deems most effective. Whatever your position on the expansion to 24 teams, it’s tough to argue that, in under 20 years, they’ve done a good job of taking market share in a pretty saturated sports market. Quiz time: name another American sports league that was able to come into a market as saturated as ours has been for several decades, and survive? Maybe the XFL? The USFL?

  40. Rex says:

    *warning unrealistic opinion below*

    If they are going to go to the South, then they need to go all in and use all 4 spots. And ditch Miami, which is not really the South but its own entity altogether. I’d use the spots on Orlando, Atlanta, Birmingham, and Carolina. Bring all four in at the same time or thereabouts so they are on equal standing, create an SEC feel around them, and other places in the South will want in on the action. That’s why college football (and nothing else) works in the South, because everyone has a team. I’m afraid if you put one team in the South, you’ll leave them on an island and people will lose interest.

  41. Lprevolution says:

    Coco, does pro/reg really work in “99%” of the countries in the world?

    Most countries rely on a “big 4″ or even a “big 2″ model, due to historically political affiliations. This is seen in successfully attended leagues such as England to less successfully attended leagues such as Chile or Bolivia. Outright, it appears that these larger teams are serving a two-fold fan base: that of a club and that of a de-facto national team in international club competitions. Moreover, these larger clubs, I assume anyway, although single entity, must , for continuous success of the domestic league, support financially smaller clubs through bonuses and outright profit share.

    In essence, world soccer works kind of like developing-world capitalism where a superior vender keeps others afloat with capital to cover overhead, but not allowing too much market share. Perhaps this can be witnessed in restaurant or hotel markets in downtown Mexico or Cairo.

    What is lacking in these markets? Well, organization Of the marketplace. In our case the league and it’s affiliates. Which brings into light the advantages of a closed market like that of the NFL, which by the way the top clubs in Europe have advocated copying in the recent past.

    What is so successful about the NFL model? It is not only trying to sell the best product, like Barcelona or Bayern, but it’s motivation is that of profiteering on its identity as a market. As opposed to great products, it is an actual “system” resemblent more of “a way of life” than a thing that gives you pleasure.

    Therefore, I believe that the MLS model which is using the chain-store market philosophy, repeated so successfully, so many times in the USA, will endure with 24 or even 32 teams in the future.

    Imagine if Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Venzuela, Colombia, Uruguay, and Peru, all decided to create La Liga Mayor de Futbol. The likes of Boca and Corintihians would go running to FIFA to call foul play because of the unfair competition.

    As much as I personally have a huge distaste for Home Depot, I would much rather go there to buy my supplies than any local ferreteria.

    The bottom line here is that the USA market scheme has historically done things differently, and if not better, at least more powerfully, than any other country, ever. And if I were to hedge my bets for future success, I would pit my money on the viability of teams at the bottom of MLS against any team underneath the top 2 or 4 teams anywhere else I the world.

  42. The Imperative Voice says:

    Personally, I don’t think anyone but San Antonio is a gimme to succeed. But if the commish has decreed it so, I expect at least most of the four teams to happen. The four I expect are:

    San Antonio
    Orlando
    South Beach Beckhams
    Minnesota?

    SA and O City are the two best attended minor league teams. I think SA for sure can succeed, not so sure Orlando, small city. Beckham is due a team, can stick it where he wants, rumors were Miami, not sure that will succeed. The fourth team would probably be something like Minnesota although I think San Diego would be a better site.

    Rochester is an interesting location that’s been forgotten about. People are advocating bigger cities with lower minor league attendance than they get, eg, Atlanta. The Rhinos in their prime used to get low-five figure attendances like Montreal. Pre-existing stadium, latent fanbase who might turn out better for a better product.

    NY3/Cosmos is not happening any time soon. The league will be working on the stadium and getting NY2 rolling for the next several years. Plus, the Cosmos remain a name and marketing strategy posing as a groundswell.

    • MN Footie says:

      As my handle might suggest, I support everything you said, with one exception: remove the “?” from behind the word “Minnesota.” There. That’s better.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        (a) 5525 attendance is not overwhelming and begs the question whether it can scale up to MLS numbers. That being said, it’s better than Atlanta, various Carolina ideas, Edmonton, Phoenix. Phoenix even made sense to me sizewise as a dark horse but I wonder if tepid attendance of the minors hurts them. It would already be hot as heck.

        (b) I get the idea MLS is headed down the road already on (1)-(3) and think the fourth slot is probably the one in play, and the one where no prospect has an edge. MLS isn’t talking anyone up.

    • Brian says:

      I agree with most of this. San Antonio seems set in a perfect position to make a move, they just need an owner that can pay the expansion fee and obtain the funding to expand the new stadium. Orlando seems like a lock, they are moving forward as if they have already been approved and Becks will have his team wherever he wants it. The fourth team is the big question.

      I don’t like San Diego. Xolos seems to already have that market and the NFL and MLB teams in that market don’t draw well. There are a lot of cities to choose from but I would look at markets like Portland, Salt Lake, San Antonio, and Orlando, markets with one professional team that draws well. Sacramento fits well but we can wait and see what happens with their USLPro team. Indy might be good as well with two fall/winter teams and no baseball.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        I agree on the basic premise of 3 of the 4 being fairly settled. San Antonio is well setup to go, Kaka is acting like Orlando will happen, and Beckham seems to like Miami.

        San Antonio is attended almost like a MLS team in the minors. It just makes sense. I understand re owners and stadia but it would be foolish to pass them up for a lesser soccer market with fewer fans just because the franchise side of the ledger is better set up elsewhere. Going where the money is regardless of the fans was NASL’s mistake, as was relentless pursuit of substantial expansion fees. When Montreal was hung up on expansion fees I thought that was silly. They had better attendance than a few MLS teams, still do.

        I see a contradiction in your San Diego comments. I like SD. People from there will travel to Tijuana to watch the Xolos. It doesn’t matter if they are lukewarm football and baseball fans if we offer soccer and that’s what they really like. We can offer an easier alternative without the border crossing, and I don’t think we should be conceding territory to Liga MX. It would be a risk but maybe it’s even somewhere to send the Chivas franchise to give it a few more years somewhere other than a LA groundshare, see if it can work elsewhere. Do that and you don’t even have to burn an expansion slot. If they ended up back in LA as a re-branded LA2, so be it. Wouldn’t be the first Cal team to bounce around the state.

  43. SteveE says:

    PST had some interesting cities. Looking at them I would say Orlando, Miami, St Louis, San Antonio. The Florida teams will come in a package and they wont say no to Becks. St Louis drew 48k recently for MCFC v Chelsea, plus big sports town so it seems hard to not go wrong. San Antonio can create a 3 way Texas rivalry like the PNW. Then you move KC and Houston to the West to create 12/12 balance.

    Places like Detroit aren’t good as the city has issues. Sac has had issues building things for their NBA team so I would be hesitant there. Phoenix has had issues with their hockey team. The others don’t seem to bring excitement.

  44. Annelid Gustator says:

    When I think about what I love about soccer, I get something like this
    1. good play (skill, tactics)
    2. exciting games (no foregone conclusions, engaged and entertaining crowd)
    3. teams I can follow over a longer time (some roster stability, natural rivalries)
    4. team spirit (supporters groups, owners with personality that permeats the team and engagment)
    5. nice looking field, stadium, uniforms
    6. snazzy ads
    7. cute girls in the stands
    8. world peace
    9. players I love to hate
    10. whales
    12-35. beer
    36. the structure of the league, the configuration of the tables

    • MN Footie says:

      I agree with this list, but unfortunately, as unsexy as it is — especially compared to #7 on your list, which I think should be placed higher (but I digress) — #36 is pretty important, from a business standpoint, and only through an effective #36 can we get a successful ##1-35.

      • Annelid Gustator says:

        I’m right there with you, but that’s not what all the single table/pro-rel advocates are going on about–it’s just that the structure of MLS (table/business entities/promotion) is “not how it is done everywhere else” and “turns off *real* soccer fans.”

        From a business perspective, the single entity structure is *nearly entirely* about keeping player costs in check and maintaining parity. Plus it really sands the gears up when talking about pro/rel.

        Again, from a business standpoint, a larger league with a unified, balanced schedule is costly: too many games and the players will be used up too quickly; too much travel and the home fans start to get antsy/you don’t sell enough concessions; too much travel is *expensive* especially in the US! Conferences/unbalanced schedules allow economical “chunking” of travel that balances fanservice/players longevity/development, etc.

        So I really agree that #36 enables important aspects much higher on the list, I just think that the folks arguing from tradition w/r/t league structure are clueless.

  45. Nutella says:

    The best way to group 24 teams is 2 divisions of 12, with the winner of each conference playing for the MLS Cup. This way each conference feels like a league in and of itself, and winning your conference means something.

  46. CT says:

    The reason MLS’s TV numbers are so anemic is because MLS is not yet a “national” game. There are no teams in the Southeast, none on the Atlantic seaboard below DC, only 2 teams (Chi, Col) in the heavily populated areas of Western NY, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois. When MLS becomes truly national, then TV numbers will grow.

  47. Charles says:

    IF MLS wants to be a top league in 2022, they are going to have to have more then 24 teams in 2020. Very dissappointed that Don was aiming so low. I realize that growth takes time, but adding 5 teams over 7 years when one is the in plans already and one or two seem almost certain ?

    The large TV contract that they need isn’t going to come with the current footprint plus a couple of FL teams. No way.

  48. Charles says:

    Oh yeah, and you guys still hoping for 1 conference and pro/rel….IT ISN’T GOING TO HAPPEN….EEEEEVVVVVEEEER. Give it a rest.

    • Alamo City Ultra says:

      So why would any soccer fan with a local team outside of MLS ever have an interest in MLS? I am from San Antonio and follow the Scorpions FC, but if they are not part of any expansion, why would I want to watch MLS.

      • Annelid Gustator says:

        MLS has better players, more, better games. That will in all likelyhood only increase in truth.

        • Alamo City Ultra says:

          But the EPL has that argument against MLS. So if I want to watch the best soccer what am I going to do? That’s right, EPL for me, until I have a vested interest in MLS via a local team.

      • Charles says:

        See my above comment, I am for every city that is viable to have an MLS team, I figure 40 teams or so. San Antonio for sure.

      • Charles says:

        Plus I don’t care if you do watch MLS.
        Just quit whining about Pro/Rel…which will NEVER happen….EVER.

      • Jee says:

        Just support your minor league team, pro/relsnob

  49. Stracho says:

    Anyone else concerned that a larger league kills the Supporters Shield?

    • Gnarls says:

      I think it contributes to its irrelevance. Without a balanced schedule, the Shield isn’t a great indicator of which team is best. If anything, it’s an indicator of which team is best in the weaker conference.

  50. DC Josh says:

    I love the idea of 24 teams, and I can really see the league growing beyond that, although it will have to employ a type of promotion/relegation system eventually.

    Don Garber is right up there with Bruce Arena, Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, the REAL red head (John O’Brien), and Lamar Hunt as an American soccer legend in my eyes. He has done so much for MLS and American soccer.

  51. John says:

    VEGAS BABY! VEGAS!

  52. Hef says:

    Why not Austin? Largest city in america without a pro sports franchise. The city gets huge tv ratings for EPL and World Cup games, and it also has a similar fan base and culture to Seattle and Portland. This seems so obvious to me.

    • Annelid Gustator says:

      That’s what I was thinking this morning. MLS wants another TX location, well there’s your answer, fishbulb.

      • Hef says:

        Austin > San Antonio. Higher standard of living and financial growth in Austin than San Antonio, plus San Antonio is a heavy Spurs town, always will be. Other than UT Football having 5-6 home games a year, Austin has no other sports entertainment competition and has an awesome soccer/pub culture.

  53. Statto says:

    99.999% Locked in
    Orlando
    Miami

    other 2?
    San Antonio – best support in NASL
    Atlanta – biggest untapped region outside of Florida, 8th biggest met US TV market
    Detroit – Serious owner plans for new stadium, and good Detroit City FC support, 11th biggest met US TV market

    Hopefuls
    St. Louis
    Sacremento
    Ottawa
    Carolina
    and any city/owner willing to build a SSS

  54. baropbop says:

    Very curious to see if they go where the fans are or to the masses… My money is on the masses

  55. MikeB says:

    20) NYFC, duh.

    21) Miami
    – Beckham, $$, hot market, international appeal, Latin fans

    22) Nashville
    – Nice middle ground of South/Midwest, one of the few boom towns in America, great soccer support (already supports hockey), lots of transplants

    23) Raleigh/Durham, NC
    – Tops “best of” lists for work & living, US Soccer facility, tons of local college talent, huge youth leagues, no baseball to compete, Tech sector and college town = alt. appeal (like Seattle/Portland), already supports “non-traditional sport” hockey, lots of transplants

    24) Atlanta or Orlando
    – Atlanta is the immediate “Southern” choice because of market size but it is such a crappy sports town. There is so much sprawl that people tend to not trudge back into the city for events. I see Orlando as being no more exciting an option though, unless Disney wants to get involved. To me either of these are suitable for Southern/East coast expansion but nothing special. Would be just as happy with one of the “Next Up” teams.

    Next up:
    San Antonio (great organization, MLS just needs more markets first)
    Minnesota (very underrated, but not as attractive as southeast expansion)

    • Hef says:

      Too much southeast representation on that least. Replace Raleigh with Austin and you’ve got it.

      • MikeB says:

        There is currently nothing south of DC or east of Houston, they have to make up ground in one of the biggest sports-consuming regions in the country. Take a look at this map and look at how sparse it is.

        • bryan says:

          yeah, but they aren’t going to award, Orlando, Miami, Atlanta, and NC all four. there is no way. even if they should, i don’t see it. and since Orlando is a lock, and Miami is the front runner of the other SE options, i think it’s hard to imagine Atlanta, NC, or Nashville also getting one.

          i also think MLS would love to get another team in Canada. it’s going to be fun to watch this play out.

      • MikeB says:

        Actually, that map was a tad outdated. Here is a newer one with major expansion options marked:

        MLS Expansion Map

    • bryan says:

      yeah, too much SE. and Orlando is a lock.

      i really like the NC idea, i think there could be a solid club there. not sure there has been any interested ownership groups though.

    • baropbop says:

      By my estimation atlanta and Miami are the largest metro areas without a team. So they seem like obvious choices. I have zero doubt that the fans in NC and St Louis would rival Portland and KC. Orlando seems like a lock due to having all the ingredients. Indianapolis seems pretty serious too. It’s going to be interesting.
      If Nashville gets a team I will seriously consider moving back.

  56. Kiphino says:

    We don’t need more than 20 teams in the league. 21+ will greatly reduce the talent pool. I don’t want to spend $200 for a family of four to watch a game full of players with little skill. It’s already questionably poor quality. Can’t MLS/US Soccer just partner with the lower divisions to strengthen those teams?

    24 teams is just plain silly.

    • slowleftarm says:

      How are you spending $200 for a family of four? At RBA you won’t get anywhere near that unless you insist on sitting in the best seats in the house. And I’d imagine it’s cheaper in less expensive metropolitan areas.

    • Charles says:

      Guy has not been to a MLS game yet obviously. Seattle only charges mid $20s for good seats.

      24 team is just silly ? I agree, lets do 40, don’t exclude cities that should be in there.

  57. Umlaut says:

    I’m not very connected with the expansion process but I live in Kentucky and have to ask: Will Louisville ever be an option?

    • slowleftarm says:

      No

    • Ceez says:

      Don’t listen to slowleftfarm. He’s slow…doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I don’t affirm anything unless I’m absolutely sure. It’s not out of the question. I could see something similar to what happened with SKC taking hold of Louisville. That’s for MLS to decide.

      However, in the meantime, you could take the 2 hour drive north to Indy to catch the inaugural season of Indy Eleven playing in the NASL. If you want professional soccer in a live, stadium atmosphere, that’s your best bet. Better than watching on tv that’s for sure (for all you Eurosnobs).

  58. Ceez says:

    I remember feeling devastated when the league was reduced to 8 teams. I thought it was the NASL all over again.

    Soccer has finally arrived. The MLS is here to stay.

  59. Todd says:

    I think expansion is great and all, but without a serious bump in the salary cap there is no way MLS will be considered a top 5 league.