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MLS confirms “advanced discussions” with Minnesota on expansion, will evaluate going beyond 24 teams

Late last week, news broke in several outlets, including The Pioneer Press and SI.com, that Minnesota’s bid for a Major League Soccer expansion club had been accepted.

The league confirmed on Monday afternoon that it is in “advanced discussions” with representatives from Minnesota United FC, though the final decision is not ready to be announced.

“We are in advanced discussions with Bill McGuire and his partners in Minnesota to bring a Major League Soccer expansion club to the Twin Cities and are particularly excited about their plans for a new soccer-specific stadium that will serve as the club’s home,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement released by the club. “We remain on track to announce the next MLS expansion market in the next 30-45 days, though no specific date for an announcement has been set.”

The Minnesota United bid is one of several vying for an MLS team, a list that also includes a second Minneapolis group backed by the NFL's Vikings, and groups from Sacramento and Las Vegas. In addition, San Antonio and St. Louis have made pitches for future expansion.

Minnesota United, who currently play in the NASL, appear to have received a boost from their plans to build an outdoor stadium in downtown Minneapolis that reportedly could cost between $100 and $150 million.

“As announced by Major League Soccer, we are in discussions with the league and remain hopeful that they will award an expansion team to Minnesota,” Minnesota United FC said in a statement. “MLS leadership is well aware that the passionate soccer fans in Minnesota combined with a world-class, soccer-specific stadium make the Twin Cities and our state a perfect home for the next MLS expansion team.”

MLS, which this year grew to 20 clubs with the addition of Orlando City SC and New York City FC, has previously stated its plan to expand to 24 clubs by 2020. Along with Miami, the next MLS expansion club would fulfill the original plan.

However, on Monday, Garber stated that the league will evaluate its expansion plans.

“Over the course of 2015, we plan to evaluate potential expansion beyond 24 clubs,” he said.

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