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Sounders FC

Daily coverage of Seattle Sounders FC, MLS and world soccer.

December 12, 2008 at 11:41 AM

MLS expansion

Good morning everyone….thanks to all who’ve written comments of late. I’ll get back to the Mexico-USA possibility early next week. My personal opinion? A lot of U.S. fans, a lot of Mexico fans if Qwest gets it. And I’m a fan of both teams. Viva CONCACAF! In a perfect world for me, la seleccion mexicana wins but both teams make it to the World Cup. I don’t dislike the U.S. team at all, just something about watching Mexico brings out a lot of pride in me.

Moving on, here’s a topic of discussion that hasn’t really been put out there on this blog: the idea of MLS coming to Portland and or Vancouver BC. Here’s a couple of articles for background.

Portland Business Journal

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber Tuesday told a city task force he wants Portland to be home to one of the league’s next franchises.

But it was a statement that sounded less like a declaration and more like a plea for the city to sign off on potential owner Merritt Paulson’s development proposals.

“We need to make a decision by March,” Garber said. “We want one of the teams to be in Portland.”

The Portland bid – led by Paulson, owner of the minor league Portland Timbers soccer club and Portland Beavers baseball club – is competing against ownership groups from Atlanta, Miami, Ottawa, St. Louis and Vancouver for one of two expansion franchises that would start play in 2011.

Paulson, son of U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, says he will cover the $40 million expansion fee imposed by the league. But he’s asking the city to fund $40 million in renovations needed for PGE Park and a new $35 million baseball stadium for the Beavers with city bonds. He proposes repaying the bonds through revenue generated by rentals and ticket fees.

A sleepless Paulson, fresh off the birth of his first child, made his case before a task force convened by Mayor-elect Sam Adams and Commissioner Randy Leonard charged with studying the proposal.

The task force has a limited time to make a recommendation. Major League Soccer hopes to award the two expansion franchises in March.

“If we miss the opportunity this round, it is unlikely that MLS will ever come to Portland,” he told the task force.

Garber said the Federation Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA, the game’s international governing body, mandates that leagues have an 18-team limit. The addition of Seattle next year and Philadelphia in 2010 will give MLS 16 teams, making the final two expansion franchises the league’s last.

From Sportsnet.ca

VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced that Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber and MLS President Mark Abbott visited BC Place Stadium on Tuesday, to tour the facility as part of the league’s due diligence in evaluating six potential MLS expansion markets.

“We’re pleased to have had the opportunity to host Commissioner Garber and Mr. Abbott,” said Whitecaps President Bob Lenarduzzi. “The tour of BC Place was positive and I believe it will go a long way to supporting our bid to bring MLS to Vancouver.”

“We were impressed with BC Place Stadium during yesterday’s tour and believe that the downtown location in the heart of Vancouver’s sports and entertainment district could provide a world-class environment for an MLS expansion team,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “Seeing the stadium helped to bring the renderings of the proposed renovations to life and confirmed that the renovations are on track to create an intimate soccer atmosphere.”

Last month, BC Pavilion Corporation (PavCo) and the Whitecaps unveiled a rendering depicting how BC Place’s proposed new retractable roof might be configured, in order to best accommodate soccer events at the refurbished stadium. BC Place is currently under-going a two-phase renovation plan, with phase two scheduled to be completed in time for the start of the 2011 Major League Soccer (MLS) season.

According to League reports, Commissioner Garber, Mr. Abbott and other MLS representatives have recently visited or will visit all six potential expansion markets prior to making a final decision on the League’s next two expansion teams.

The 14-team MLS is set to add Seattle in 2009 and Philadelphia in 2010. An announcement regarding which markets will receive the next two expansion clubs is expected to take place by the end of this year or in the first quarter of 2009. The league office and the MLS expansion committee are currently reviewing the Whitecaps’ MLS expansion application, along with six other applications from markets in the United States and Canada.

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