Garber: League must look to expand south of DC

SEATTLE – Major League Soccer’s priority for franchise No. 20 remains a second team in New York. But Commissioner Don Garber shed some light on where the league would turn next should those plans not materialize.

“I’ve said many times that we need to be south of Washington, D.C.,” Garber told reporters at halftime of the Seattle-LA Galaxy match on Tuesday night. “We need to work hard at some point to achieve that.”

Garber said he constantly receives e-mails from fans in the Miami area to return an MLS team to South Florida and that the league maintains positive interactions with Arthur Blank, the owner of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, for expansion possibilities in Atlanta.

Unlike South Florida, a potential ownership group with the financial wherewithal already exists in Atlanta.

“We’re still in discussions with the Falcons and we’re monitoring what they’re talking about with their new stadium, which will be a model similar to what has happened here in Seattle,” Garber said.

The Falcons are in discussions with the Georgia World Congress Center Authority to build a 65,000-seat open-air facility to replace the Georgia Dome. Atlanta has proven to be a viable soccer audience, with crowds of more than 50,000 turning out for Mexico friendlies and international friendlies in recent years, including visits from AC Milan, Manchester City and Club América.


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