By FRANCO PANIZO
The race for the 24th MLS franchise was always expected to be intense, but few could have envisioned it going down like this.
A Minnesota TV station is reporting that NASL’s Minnesota United FC are joining forces with MLB’s Twins to explore the possibilities of landing an MLS team in the not-too-distant future. The move could pit the organizations against the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings in the quest to land a franchise in the top tier of American soccer.
The report is in line with an SI.com report from a week ago and an earlier one from the Business Journal from last month, and also claims that United owner Bill McGuire is looking at land adjacent to Target Field in downtown Minneapolis to possibly build a soccer-specific stadium.
United currently do not have a timeline or cost estimate for a potential stadium, but officials representing both United and the Twins recently traveled to Kansas City to look at the $200 million, 18,000-seat Sporting Park.
By contrast, Viking owners Zygi and Mark Wilf are looking at their new fixed-roof stadium as home for their potential MLS team. The new Vikings stadium is scheduled to open in 2016, will have a capacity of approximately 65,000, and is expected to have a field that has dimensions for a suitable soccer field.
MLS, which recently said it would expand to 24 teams by the end of the decade, recently awarded Orlando the league’s 21st franchise. Miami and Atlanta are widely expected to land the 22nd and 23rd slots in the coming years.
What do you make of this development? Which Minnesota ownership group would you prefer to see land an MLS team? Hoping another city comes in and makes a play for the 24th slot?
Share your thoughts below.