At a halftime press conference, MLS Commissioner Don Garber confirmed that Los Angeles FC would not have an expansion counterpart in 2018. The commissioner also gave updates on future plans. He made no mention of Miami’s prospects in the explanation.
The commissioner was in Minnesota to take in the Loons’ MLS home opener. At a halftime press conference, FiftyFive.One asked Garber if there were updates on MLS expansion in 2018. The commissioner was very straightforward in his answer.
“Nobody will be joining LAFC in 2018, so they’ll come in on their own.”
This comes after years of attempts to pull together a second expansion side in Miami, with an ownership group led by David Beckham. As Garber continued his answer, he did not give an update on this project.
“By the end of the year, we’ll make a decision on teams 25 and 26,” the commissioner continued. “It’s conceivable that we have teams 27 and 28 decided at the same time, though that’s not what our plan is. I was in Austin, [Texas] on Saturday to meet the [U.S. Conference of Mayors]. Half of the mayors either had MLS teams in their city or were expansion candidates. There’s enormous interest from those 12 markets. We’ve got a pretty tight timetable, and we’re on schedule.”
Of these markets, some seem close to MLS-ready. FiftyFive.One had heard that Sacramento Republic FC was seen as a potential partner in 2018. However, with the unrest in their ownership group, they seem to have fallen in line with the rest of the hopefuls.
With Los Angeles FC joining alone, this means MLS will go back to an odd number of teams in the league. This last happened in 2014, when the league sat at 19 teams. It remains to be seen if, not when, Miami will be ready to join the league.