Garber on DC & NE stadium talks, "bold moves" in Toronto
The soccer stadium count in MLS will be at 15 by the time the San Jose Earthquakes' new home comes online for the 2014 season. And that number could grow, as D.C. United and the New England Revolution may be joining the club in due time.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber gave an update on the quest for new homes in those two markets during his annual State-of-the-League address held via conference call on Monday afternoon.
"I believe there’s momentum, new momentum down in D.C.," Garber said. "There seems to be a more focused approach with [part-owner] Jason Levien both with local government, but also with local developers who have access to land. Both [MLS president] Mark Abbott and I have been in discussions over the last week with the holder of that land."
The commissioner says that members of the Kraft family, which owns the Revs, were at MLS headquarters two weeks ago to provide an update on their search for a new home. No new details were provided, but Garber says "the family is still very focused on it."
"I think as a leader in pro sports in this country, generally they want to be part of being a leader in Major League Soccer and having a soccer-specific stadium will help them achieve that," he said of the Krafts. We are looking for public support up in that area because of just the cost of developing the project."
There's also big news on the horizon from Toronto FC, a club which registered the worst record in MLS in 2012, the Reds' sixth straight without a postseason appearance. The commissioner admitted that the lack of success was "disappointing" and "pains us a bit."
"I believe they will be looking to make some bold moves to try to address their lack of success on the field," Garber said. "I have a lot of faith in their new ownership structure and I have a faith in Tom [Anselmi], and I have been a party to some of the changes they are going to make that they hopefully will be able to announce shortly that we are hopeful will get them back on track."
Although not asked directly about them during a 90-minute call with reporters, Garber also spared a thought on the prospects of Chivas USA, who are now being led by sole owners Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes, who bought out the previous owners in August.
"I continue to believe that we have the opportunity to have a special club in Los Angeles with a tremendous promise and an opportunity to tap into that enormous Hispanic population in LA," the commissioner said in his opening remarks in reference to the eight-year-old club. "We’ve got a lot of work to do to relaunch that club, but I do believe that we will be able to achieve the success that’s been eluding us in the past."