Garber Says 20 Teams

Our own beloved Donny the G had a sit down with Forbes and as usual he's talking expansion:

The biggest hard news item in the interview is that the league intends to grow to 20 teams in the short term and then stop expanding "for the foreseeable future".

Of course, being Don, it may be that he's doing the old "the train is leaving the station" routine for the benefit of expansion candidates who might prefer to wait until the economic climate is more, shall we say, favorable, before writing out one of those big old checks the league seems to live for lately.

Conversely, it may just be a recognition that the well of guys who can write $40 or 50 million checks and get some kind of building put up is pretty much running dry.

Media outlets all across America's Hat are headlining the comments about Montreal and, in truth, the Commissioner does indeed seem to almost concede that spot to Joey and the Francophones.

Of course we've been down that road before (anyone seen Rochester around lately? Oklahoma City? Miami?) so I'm going to go ahead and pretend I don't believe it. As I've said many times over, if we have to have Canadianite teams in the United States of America's Division 1 Professional Soccer League© then I'm all in favor of Montreal, no question about it.

But bringing in Joey Saputo, his raging ego and his bandbox building is a monumental mistake for reasons that I'm mostly not going to repeat.

Joey himself told reporters last week that he and the league have cleared up their "misunderstandings", as if "I refuse to pay the asking price" was somehow an amorphous concept. What it may prove is that Saputo has figured out that MLS does not "need Montreal worse than Montreal needs MLS" as he's been fond of saying.

For his part, Don blithely tells the interviewer that Portland and Vancouver both paid $40 million entry fees, which we know isn't true but heck, it's a nice round number.

Of course, he also repeats the contention that MLS has expanded very slowly and carefully and in the next breath describes it doubling in size in less than ten years, which makes one wonder what "reckless out of control expansion" would have looked like.

What we've really seen is an expansion process that has only been "slowed" by the number of people willing to step up with their checkbooks every year. Unless I've missed it, not one candidate city with a deep pockets owner and a suitable facility has ever been told "no, I'm sorry, but we're just not taking new teams this year because our philosophy is to grow slowly. Better luck next year"

Maybe someone can point me to who those guys might have been.

Be all of that as it may, if Garber isn't just jerking Joey's chain - which he might find amusing after the guy called him a liar last Fall - then the question comes down to just who will grab that 20th spot.

Assuming that Yellowknife, Calgary and Moosepiss Saskatchewan don't have suitable venues, then there's a very short list. It would be nice to think that someone would step up in, say, Tampa but that seems unlikely.

And barring some miracle it would seem that St. Louis won't be coming in either. Ditto The Dons' beloved Queens. If Ottawa ever really had a shot it seems all but gone now. Atlanta seems as dead as Julius Caesar as well.

Maybe a dark horse emerges - Detroit perhaps, or a resurgent Cleveland bid, but those are two flat-on-their-asses cities right now and it's hard to see either of them spending dime one on so much as a truckload of asphalt for a soccer stadium.

It'll be interesting.