FC Cincinnati release statement on MLS expansion after Los Angeles visit

Among the 22,000 in attendance at LAFC's opening game at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday were representatives of MLS expansion hopefuls FC Cincinnati.

Team owner Carl Lindner III and president Jeff Berding were at the match, as Berding revealed on his Twitter account.

FC Cincinnati, currently playing in USL, lead that league by a longshot in attendance since beginning play in 2016. They recently received approval from the Cincinnati City Council concerning a proposed stadium project should the team gain entry to MLS. They are one of 11 candidate cities looking to earn a slot in the league, alongside fellow applicant Nashville, whose bid was approved in December.

Following the visit to Los Angeles by Lindner and Berding, FC Cincinnati released a new statement about the MLS expansion quest on Wednesday.

“This past Sunday, FC Cincinnati owner and Chief Executive Officer Carl H. Lindner III, owner David Thompson and President and General Manager Jeff Berding – along with principals from other potential expansion groups – attended the opening of LAFC’s Banc of California Stadium as Major League Soccer’s guests.

“During the trip to Los Angeles, discussions about our expansion bid occurred with MLS executives. While extraordinary progress has been made, all of our work must be finalized – including various legal agreements with the City, Port, County and CPS and an assessment of our interim MLS Nippert Stadium plan – before our bid will be 100 percent complete for final review.

“As we continue to finalize our bid, FCC and MLS are scheduling a visit to Cincinnati by MLS Commissioner Don Garber and MLS executives, during which time they will also meet with club ownership.

“We’ve come extraordinarily far in such a short time, but before we have the opportunity to earn a place in Major League Soccer, we must have complete due diligence to ensure a success and we’re focused on that at this time.

“We appreciate our community's continued support of our club and our goal to bring an MLS franchise to our region.”