Don Garber offers updates on Miami, LA expansion teams as deadlines near

Rendering of Miami Beckham United's potential stadium design

NEW YORK – MLS commissioner Don Garber on Thursday expressed confidence that David Beckham’s efforts to bring an MLS team to Miami are still on track to come to fruition.
“It’s going to happen,” Garber told assembled Associated Press sports editors in a sitdown at MLS headquarters. “If it doesn’t happen, it would be a surprise.”
The Beckham group’s search for a stadium has been the main hurdle they’ve needed to clear before receiving the final go-ahead for expansion, and progress has been made on that front in recent weeks.
The prospective ownership group announced in late March that it had purchased land needed to build a stadium for a future club in the Overtown neighborhood of Miami, representing approximately two-thirds of the projected nine-acre site. 
The move allows the group to now hold discussions with local officials regarding the purchase of county-owned land necessary for development adjacent to the private land they purchased. Once the acquisition of that land is complete, the group will seek city zoning approval for its development plans before construction can begin.
“They bought an option on the land – that’s a major step,” Garber said. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to finalize their investment group because they made the decision that it would be all privately financed.”
He also said that the investment group’s stadium plan will need to be finalized “very soon” if the team is to start play in 2018 and he said that they’ll know within “the next couple” of months whether they will be able to accomplish that goal.
The commissioner also offered his thoughts on the team that Miami could join in MLS as an expansion side in 2018: Los Angeles FC. He indicated that LAFC’s new stadium remains on schedule for a 2018 opening.
“I’ve seen very complete [stadium] plans, I’ve seen financing plans, they’ve got an architect,” Garber explained. ‘They’re way beyond pretty pictures that we’ve seen many of over the years. [The club has] building, drawing and architectural work that’s been done.”
Of course, Miami and LAFC represent only two of the four teams that will bring the total number of teams in MLS to 24. Atlanta United – who Garber noted have amassed 30,000 season ticket deposits – will join in 2017. The Commissioner said that Minnesota’s timeline for entry into the league has yet to be finalized.