Back in 2009, the Seattle Sounders made their debut in Major League Soccer play that sparked expansion in the Northwest. Two years later, Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers became MLS expansion franchises in 2011. Now in 2013 a similar pattern is occurring in the Southeastern United States. Orlando City SC‘s arrival to MLS is just the start of further Southeast expansion.
With Orlando securing the 21st MLS franchise on Tuesday, attention now turns to other Southeast cities like Atlanta and Miami. Additionally, San Antonio is also in the mix as MLS looks to expand to 24 teams by 2020.
If the Northwest expansion of Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver indicates anything, expansion in the Southeast will be fun to watch as it develops. Moreover, new rivalries will arise and become highlights of the soccer season. While the argument can be made that Miami or Atlanta do not really deserve an expansion franchise, it looks like MLS is heading this way.
On Tuesday, MLS Commissioner Don Garber affirmed David Beckham‘s pursuit of bringing an MLS team to Miami. Therefore, it looks like Miami is on both Beckham and MLS’ radar.
While it could be awhile before another an expansion team is announced, it is clear that there is one glaring gap for MLS team coverage in the Southeast. It wouldn’t make sense to only have one lone Southeast team permanently. Orlando comes into the league in 2015 so for at least one year they will be the lone Southeast MLS team, but it looks like they won’t be for long.
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