Cincinnati Leads MLS Hopefuls

(DETROIT, MI) – Major League Soccer has yet to disclose the expansion selection from the group of finalists announced in December. Cincinnati, Sacramento, and especially Detroit are awaiting the final word from MLS for entry to the league.

“The MLS Board of Governors viewed the recent Cincinnati City Council vote on the West End stadium as a positive step forward for Cincinnati’s expansion bid,” MLS issued a statement last week. “While there was no plan for formal expansion vote at today’s Board of Governors meeting, the League will continue discussions with the three expansion finalists.”

While Cincinnati seems to hold the upper hand, the league has also left the door open for Detroit should Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores wish to alter or update their proposal. Even though the pair have decided to pitch a partnership with Ford Field, the latest in land acquisitions has made their original plan viable.

In 2016, Gilbert and Gores proposed a soccer-specific stadium, and mixed-use development, at a downtown site where a planned jail was left unfinished. MLS prefers a single-use stadium as opposed to a shared facility.

MLS has already awarded Miami a franchise, in a separate process, along with Nashville thus far in this exercise. Three more markets are to be decided in the coming months in a push to bring the league to 28 teams by 2022.

Unsuccessful candidates from this round will be regrouped with eight other bidders from January 2017 for a chance at selection in round two.

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Ian Shalapata
Ian writes for and provides imagery to Square Media Group as well as accepting freelance photographic assignments. In addition, he has contributed to media organizations, sporting groups, and individuals across North America including the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Chatham-Kent Sports Network, the Golf Association of Michigan, League 1 Ontario, as well as numerous colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. Email Ian Shalapata