November 11 – Charlotte look to be in pole position to win the 30th MLS franchise slot, following MLS commissioner Don Garber’s annual State of the League address in Seattle on Friday, before the MLS Cup final.
Garber said that the 30th expansion club is expected to be announced in the coming months and that Charlotte had moved their bid to “the front of the line”.
Charlotte are up against strong bids from Phoenix (where Phoenix Rising have been dominating the regular season of western conference of the second tier USL), and Las Vegas.
The MLS currently has 24 teams competing with five more franchises already allocated. Of the progress the MLS is making, Garber said: “We’re still young, our best days are still ahead.”
“There are three markets we’re looking at, that our expansion committee is engaged with: Charlotte, Las Vegas and Phoenix,” Garber said. “It’s fair to say Charlotte has done a lot of work to move their bid to the front of the line. It starts with David Tepper, passionate about our sport and very passionate about Charlotte.
“There are a lot of things happening in Charlotte that are similar to things that are happening in Atlanta,” Garber continued. “I think the Carolinas are great states for soccer, you know that from a women’s soccer perspective and a youth soccer perspective. Should we be able to move forward and end up with a team in Charlotte, I’m confident they would be successful.”
Seattle win MLS Cup
While Garber was talking about off-field expansion, Seattle Sounders got down to on-field business in their home town and in front of a crowd of 69,724 secured their second MLS Cup win in four years against Toronto FC.
Despite dominating the match for most of the first hour, Toronto went behind to a 57th minute goal by Kelvin Leerdam which were followed by goals from Victor Rodriguez and Raul Ruidiaz before Jozy Altidore responded in stoppage time to make the score 3-1.
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