Wednesday, March 28, 2007

MLS looking at Portland

MLS Commissioner Don Garber was in Portland yesterday to explore the possibility of granting the city an expansion team.

During a tour of PGE Park, home of the USL First Division Portland Timbers, Garber said it was "pretty cool" however added "But I haven't even gone so far as to see if it's the best option or only option." He specifically pointed to the stadiums NeXturf surface as a problem.

Garber says MLS is committed to bringing a team to the Northwest by 2010, however it has not come close to deciding a location (ie, Seattle or Portland).

The league has quietly been discussing that possibility for at least six months with an investment group Garber declined to identify. The investors first envisioned Seattle as the locale for an expansion franchise, then in the past three to four months added Portland as another viable option, he said.

Portland has a great history of supporting soccer and would find an instant fan base, I just wonder how this affect the Timbers. It would be a shame to see them hit by this (since it sounds like the investment group is looking at either Seattle or Portland, it doesn't seem like the team would be promoted to top flight action). Then again, perhaps this could be the beginning of a strong working relationship between MLS and USL clubs.

I still think St. Louis and San Jose need teams first, but Portland would be a great third spot.

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