On Sunday, MLS commissioner Don Garber attended expansion team FC Cincinnati’s first home game, attended by a sellout crowd of more than 32,000 at the University of Cincinnati’s venerable Nippert Stadium, its home before a new soccer-specific stadium is built.
On Monday, he was among the dignitaries and politicians who participated in a “scarves up” ceremonial opening of Minnesota United’s new Allianz Field.
My colleague Rochelle Olson covered the event and here’s her story from the afternoon’s happenings, complete with the excellent description of the new stadium as “curvaceous.”
Cincinnati’s arrival gives the league 24 teams two years after the Loons and Atlanta United entered MLS. Franchises in Miami and Nashville are due in 2020 and Austin, Tex., in 2021.
That will give MLS 27 teams – an odd number, of course. Garber said Monday that the league intends to decide about adding a 28th team by the end of the year.
He said discussion about adding more teams beyond a 28th -- St. Lous? Sacramento? Charlotte? Las Vegas? Phoenix? -- will happen at April league board meetings.
“Whether we’ll go beyond 28, I’m not sure if that decision will be made at that time or not,” Garber said. “It’s pretty clear to me as you see what has happened in Cincinnati -- which was not on anybody’s soccer radar screen three or four years ago – that there’s a lot of opportunity to continue to build this league in cities across our country.
“That’s something we’ll have to wrestle with in years to come out, but it’s a pretty good problem to have.”