A report from Sports Illustrated on Friday is stating that Minnesota United FC has secured an MLS expansion spot. Sources state that Minnesota United’s owner, Bill McGuire, has actually signed a “letter of intent” confirming Minnesota’s place as the 23rd MLS team.
On Thursday, Northern Pitch.com broke the news that Minnesota United FC was the organization of choice in the bid for an MLS expansion team in Minnesota. The Minnesota Vikings had also made a competing bid for an MLS team. Their desire was for the team to play in their new $1.024 billion indoor stadium currently being built with funding from the Vikings, the State of Minnesota and the City of Minneapolis.
It was also reported that multiple sources had informed us that MLS had signed a letter of intent to align themselves with Minnesota United FC who currently play in the 2nd division of US soccer called the NASL. The league had expressed a preference for an open air downtown stadium with natural grass which was a deciding factor for the MLS expansion committee.
We also reported that Dr.Bill McGuire, owner of Minnesota United, had signed an option to purchase land at the Royalston Ave. site, paving the way for this new soccer specific open air stadium. The sight is near the Farmers Market in the North Loop area on the west end of downtown Minneapolis. It is also near a major transit center serviced by bus and light rail, Target Field (Twins Stadium), Target Center (Timberwolves Stadium) and many parking garages that patrons of both teams use on game days.
On late Friday afternoon, Brian Straus of SI.com went a step further and reported that multiple sources had informed him that Minnesota United “is expected to be granted an MLS expansion franchise.”
Straus reports that the “written support” was actually a “signed Letter of Intent from the league confirming that United is the choice for the 23rd team, assuming construction of that stadium is confirmed.”
Following the SI report, team president Nick Rogers alluded to the news the tweet, perhaps the most official confirmation yet of MLS expansion from the club:
Obviously a lot of noise swirling around our club today. All I have to say is that you should buy @MNUnitedFC season tickets. Like, now.
— Nick Rogers ⚽️ (@_NickRogers_) March 13, 2015
Sources have said that the document was signed the 3rd week of February and that McGuire’s option to purchase includes eight acres of land.
With this decision, Minnesota gets the nod over the Vikings, leaving a two-horse race for the league’s 24th spot between David Beckham’s Miami MLS franchise and USL’s Sacramento Republic FC. When joining MLS as a player, the internationally known Beckham had a clause that allowed him to purchase a team in the league as long as it wasn’t in New York or Los Angeles. A little more then a year ago MLS and Beckham held a press conference saying Miami would be the city of choice for his team. But Beckham and his partners have been plagued with issues finding a property to build on. Into that void has stepped Sacramento, which has compiled an impressive bid that offers a downtown stadium of their own. That’s an issue which McGuire clearly has avoided, securing an ideal area in downtown Minneapolis that is quickly redeveloping with condos, apartments, restaurants and bars. And as reported on Thursday, it is an area that Hennepin County also seems interested in redeveloping.