New York is still the odds-on favorite to be awarded MLS's 20th team, but Commissioner Don Garber opened up the possibility that another city could swoop in. Among the cities that Garber mentioned as possible contenders were Atlanta, San Diego, Arizona, Las Vegas and Detroit. In all, Garber listed nine cities that had expressed interest in joining MLS, and implied that the league would likely grow well beyond 20 teams. He was also quick to add that putting a second team in New York remains a high priority, even if it's not team No. 20.
It would appear that at least part of Garber's thinking has to do with his obvious affinity for the Wilpon family. While noting that he believed the Wilpons would "fit very well with our owners," he acknowledged that their current financial status could potentially making it hard have a team ready in the near future.
"I have been talking with Wilpons for a number of years," Garber said. "These guys are deeply committed to being partners off the field and competiiors on the field. There is a real commitment to growing the sport.
"I think wilpons fit very well with our owners in terms of who they are and their values and ehics. I don’t think whole story has been told about them. I believe they’d be a great ownership in MLS and think they have a pretty darn good site for a stadium."
Any mention of NY2 must also include discussion of the group that currently owns the New York Cosmos name. Garber appears to be warming up to the idea of having the Cosmos in the league - after initially discounting the value of the name altogether - but is still obviously skeptical.
"The Cosmos today are a very exciting relanuch of a reto brand," Garber said. "But it's very preliminary. We need to get further with them about how they would get capitalized, how they would fund a privately financed stadium, their view on the MLS system which requires a real committment to the single-entity concept. The best way I can describe it is that discussions are prelminary but positive."
One other possible expansion site that was prominently mentioned was South Florida. With the rebranding of Miami FC as the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, it appears that there's finally some positive momentum there.
"We’ll run down to Miami and Fort Lauderdale," he said. "I would lvoe to be there. I just don’t think they have the support to be viable right now."
One other notable development from Friday's press conference was the mention of a "major international tournament" that would feature European, MLS, Mexican and potentially South American teams. It was not clear if this tournament would potentially replace Super Liga, which appears to be dead.