Originally posted on The Detroit Sports Site  |  Last updated 8/1/13
MLS commissioner Don Garber announced during Wednesday’s All-Star Game, a 3-1 exhibition loss to AS Roma, that the league will expand from its current setup of 20 teams up to 24 by the year 2020. And Motown, off a season by Detroit City FC that drew some national attention, could be in the mix. Miami isn’t the only city to be linked to an MLS team. Officials in Atlanta, Sacramento, Orlando, Detroit and the Twin Cities have also mentioned the possibility of landing a franchise. In a statement issued by the league, Garber laid out the criteria the league will use in determining future expansion markets. Among them is location, committed and engaged ownership, a comprehensive stadium plan, demonstrated fan support for professional soccer, support of sponsors and TV partners, and a strategic business plan for launching a club. Orlando’s actually been mentioned as a frontrunner for one of the proposed expansion slots already, which could narrow the openings to three. Detroit certainly “demonstrated fan support for professional soccer” with a string of packed houses as Cass Tech. When Le Rouge launched its inaugural season in 2012, ownership hinted then at the possibility of chasing an MLS expansion team in the future. There’s also been some talks in the past, at least preliminary ones, about somehow turning the Pontiac Silverdome into a bi-level facility, with the top level housing an MLS-sized stadium. It is anyone’s guess if that will ever occur or what the timetable would be, but the Silverdome certainly stands as one possible option for a home venue should the MLS award Detroit a franchise. This will be a long, drawn-out process, from the sounds of it. Hopefully, an ownership group steps forward in Detroit to keep the city in the hunt here, because soccer is taking off in the state of Michigan like never before.
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