Tuesday, May 20, 2008

MLS Expansion - Garber hints at more then 18 teams for MLS

MLS commissioner Don Garber thinks the league could grow beyond the 18 teams saying, "our sense is that we could have quite a few more than that." This is the most direct indication yet as to the future expansion plans for the league.

Originally it appeared like MLS would hold off on expanded past 16 teams in order to allow the local (US & Canada) talent pool to grow. However, with the relaxing of rules on foreign-born players and the ever increasing interest in investing in the league, Garber seems to be heading in a new direction.

This is good news for soccer fans in St. Louis, Portland, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Montreal, New York City, Atlanta and Miami as it looks like they will not have to fight it out for the final two spots. However, it could be bad for the overall quality of the league unless this increased expansion also corresponds to a large increase in player salaries. Simple put, there are not enough solid players out there willing to earn less then $100,000 to make a league of 22+ teams worth watching.

By the way, it is worth noting that Garber made these comments in Montreal at the inaugural game of Saputo Stadium, the new home of the Montreal Impact.

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Anonymous FxB said...

As you said, there's just not enough talent at the moment to make MLS work with 22 teams.

The league was so very conservative as regards expansion early on, but now they're going gangbusters. I image that Garber wants to capitalize on the Beckham Boom.

The question is whether 22 is sustainable once Becks is gone. There's an article on this very issue at american-soccer-news.com

6:18 PM  
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