Garber Says MLS Likely To Announce Next Expansion Franchise In Coming Weeks
MLS Commissioner Don Garber last night said the league will likely have an announcement on an expansion franchise in the next 4-6 weeks. Garber tipped his hand that it could be the long-expected announcement of a franchise that will play in Queens. Speaking to reporters at halftime of a Toronto FC-Impact match, Garber said, "We continue to negotiate with the city of N.Y., meet with local and political folks and community leaders to get support for the stadium we hope to build in Flushing Meadow Park. We are deeply engaged with potential ownership groups" (Christopher Botta, Staff Writer). SOCCER AMERICA's Paul Kennedy notes N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg also hinted at a decision while speaking at the MLB All-Star Game press conference. Bloomberg said, "Hopefully, we're getting close to announcing a new soccer stadium here in Flushing Meadow Park." Kennedy notes the comments from both Garber and Bloomberg come two days after a "forum of New York mayoral candidates to succeed Bloomberg at which none of the nine candidates would say they were 'solidly' for or against the stadium" (SOCCERAMERICA.com, 4/25).
IN THE CITY? In Philadelphia, Jonathan Tannenwald reported EPL club Manchester City is the "leading candidate to operate MLS' 20th franchise," and would pay a $100M expansion fee to "take that team to a new stadium in Queens." Exactly when the team would "begin playing in MLS isn't clear yet." Manchester City will be in N.Y. at the end of May to "play a friendly against fellow Premier League power Chelsea at Yankee Stadium," and there will be "a lot of ears perked up to see if an announcement gets made at that time" (PHILLY.com, 4/24).