Don Garber has publicly acknowledged that four new franchises plan to be added to Major League Soccer (MLS) by 2020. Some of those plans are beginning to take shape. At that time, New York City Football Club had already been announced as the twentieth franchise and Orlando City Soccer Club’s intentions to join MLS were well known. Orlando City would be the twenty-first side to join the league; what was not known are the other three expansion cities.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported an increased interest in Atlanta as a potential MLS expansion franchise. Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank is spearheading the effort and would likely be the investor and operator if Atlanta was awarded a franchise. The Falcons have recently been approved to construct a new stadium that is expected be constructed by 2017.
With Orlando City winning the USL PRO title before a crowd 20,886, few have questioned the club’s readiness to join MLS. With a new stadium agreement in place, the club may be the next expansion team announced by the league. It is also well known that former MLS designate player David Beckham is interested in taking advantage of the ownership clause in his contract with a team in Miami. If these teams are added to MLS, MLS would have three clubs in the Southeast region of the United States, a region which previously had no first division presence.
Luke Wileman of TSN spoke to Commissioner Don Garber on Wednesday and said “Don Garber said 3 of the 4 expansion franchises are ‘already spoken for’”.