Major League Soccer Expansion: New York Is Clear Favorite For No. 20

The New York Cosmos do not employ any actual players. They do not have a coach. But MLS Commissioner Garber clearly wants that to be MLS's 20th team.

"We’ve been meeting with the city, with the Wilpon family and the owners of the Cosmos name and brand and other investors who have expressed interest," Garber said. "We are very very focused on this entire process and hope to have something done by 2013.

"The Red Bulls are very supportive of it. They believe a local rival will add even more passion for the sport and for the league in this market."

Garber basically said that a city of more than 13 million people should have no problem supporting two teams, especially if one of them is located in Queens — currently a favored location — or one of the other boroughs.

The basis for this belief appears to be based on the success of the Cascadia rivarly in the Pacific Northwest. Garber spoke of glowingly of the three-team derby that hasn't even made its MLS debut.

"We're very focused on local rivalries as a key driver," he said. "By driving local relevance we can drive national relevance.

"The phenomonean in the Pacific Northwest is something we could never dream of. Passion in the Pacific Northwest has driven TV ratings. Rivalries really do matter. We’ve been very focused on broadening our footprint, but we do believe we need more rivalries."

Garber also mentioned that MLS is currently in discussion with a group in Atlanta as well as several groups in Florida, including Miami, Tampa and Orlando.

"I can’t imagine this is a league that doesn’t have teams south of Washington D.C. It’s inconceivable. We have to. It's just a matter of when."

With Montreal already slated to be the league's 19th team, the only way MLS can both put another team in New York and expand south of DC is by growing beyond 20 teams.

Clearly, Garber does not intend the generally accepted limit of 20 teams in a first-division to constrict MLS.

"We know that in time, there will be a lot more teams in MLS," Garber said. "It’s a big country. We cross (four) time zones. I don’t know when we’ll go beyond 20, but it will be sometime in our lieftimes."

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