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Five Cities that Deserve an MLS Expansion Team: Fan Take
Soccer America reports Major League Soccer is enjoying its best attendance figures since the league started in 1996. ESPN stated in 2010 the league will welcome a 19th team in Montreal in 2012. MLS is supposedly eyeing a 20th team for 2013 in New York City with the Cosmos . With 20 teams across North America, MLS will equal the total number of franchises in such great European leagues as the English Premier League , Spain's La Liga and the Italian Serie A .
Even Britain has more than one soccer league thanks to the Scottish Premier League. Perhaps MLS can have more than 20 teams in North America. Here are five cities that deserve an MLS franchise when the league expands even further.
I'm from Missouri and the center of amateur soccer is in St. Louis. Unfortunately, funding ran out on AC St. Louis and the women's pro league team. Soccer has been a fixture in the Gateway City just as much as St. Louis Cardinals baseball. Having an MLS franchise will give the city four major pro leagues. The metro area is still one of the smallest markets in the United States but they can support a soccer team with just 15,000 fans or so.
San Antonio has a huge Hispanic population. The state of Texas already has a rich soccer tradition with FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo. There would already be a huge fan base for another top-tier pro team to supplement the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA and the SilverStars of the WNBA. San Antonio doesn't have football, baseball or hockey so soccer is a great way to fill the gap.
Phoenix has had moderate success with the Arizona Cardinals. Long before hockey and football came to the desert, the Phoenix Suns of the NBA played. Adding an MLS team would be a good move due to a huge population. The one problem would be the extreme heat. Daytime temperatures soar to above 100 degrees on a daily basis during the summer. At least it's a dry heat. The city can support the Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL, so why not an MLS franchise? Phoenix would be perfect as they already host MLS teams for preseason training in February and March.
Las Vegas, despite its growth and large population, still doesn't have a top-level professional sports team. If the city wanted to try an experiment, an MLS franchise is a good way to start. Las Vegas has the same difficulty as Phoenix—extreme heat during the summer when MLS plays. Las Vegas has a ton of cash flow and people that like to spend money. Why not spend some on a soccer franchise?
The Miami Fusion tried to be the lone MLS team in Florida until they folded soon after the league started. If MLS wanted to tap into Florida's large population again they should try Orlando. They only have the NBA's Orlando Magic in terms of a professional sports franchise. Investors announced in late 2010 that the Austin Aztex of Division 2 relocated to Orlando with the purpose of eventually landing an MLS team. Orlando is a perfect fit for the sports-starved city with only one pro sport at this time.
William Browning played soccer for ten years growing up in the St. Louis area. He has been a fan of Sporting Kansas City ever since Major League Soccer starting playing in 1996.
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