San Antonio has officially thrown its 10-gallon hat into the MLS expansion ring.
As reported earlier this week, MLS Commissioner Don Garber sat down for an informal meeting on Tuesday with San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and Scorpions owner Gordon Hartman in a suite at Toyota Field (pictured above), the NASL club’s soccer-specific stadium.
The result? Nothing concrete just yet, but Hartman told the San Antonio Express-News that the club and the city made their expansion case as the race to 24 MLS franchises by 2020 begins to heat up.
“It was a lot of good back-and-forth in respect to where MLS stands,” Hartman said. “I think the Commissioner has seen we have a proven model here. He's seen the infrastructure. He [met] a mayor who is a true leader and recognizes the potential and wants to see something happen.
“All those things put us on a level [of consideration], but I can't tell you what that level is.”
Expansion franchises Orlando City SC and New York FC will join MLS in 2015, giving the league 21 clubs. Meanwhile, David Beckham’s group seems to be making progress in Miami, and Atlanta has been widely mooted as club No. 23 as MLS looks to expand its footprint in the Southeast.
Garber met with Castro and Hartman one day before an international friendly between Mexico and South Korea drew 54,313 fans to the Alamodome. Hartman said discussions will continue.
“We had a good, productive meeting,” Castro said. “We will continue to put our best foot forward and work toward getting an MLS team in the city.”
The Scorpions have been largely successful since their debut in 2012, averaging 9,176 fans that season while finishing in first place during the NASL regular season. They averaged 6,957 fans per game in 2013.
“It was a great meeting,” Garber said in a statement. “[San Antonio] is a tremendous city, and the Scorpions are an impressive club.”