Seven Break From the Gate …

And theyre off!!!

And they're off!!!

… and in the words of Trevor Denman; all came out well.

Ed here. We now know, according to Soccernet, that there are seven entries in the 2011 MLS Expansion Stakes, a Grade I event scheduled for the next few months, sponsored by Sierra Mist.

Out of the gate and into the clubhouse turn are: Atlanta, Miami, Montreal, Ottawa, Portland, St. Louis, and Vancouver.

If you read the article linked above, you will notice the keen way that it is written – suggesting in a subtle way that the next round of expansion will be one US city and one Canadian city. This could have been unintentional and a coincidence, but it’s worth pointing out. As I’ve said, I believe Canada is getting one of these two teams.

Is it now or never, then? With the league jumping to 15 teams next season, 16 in 2010, and 18 by 2011, is that going to be it? Could it be possible that even more teams are added say in five years, to start the 2013 season? Is there enough talent for this? We’ve already seen teams focus their offseason preparations on foreign talent, only for it to not work out quite the way they planned (***cough*** DC United ***cough***). Is there enough American talent to support what may go from a league with a nice expansion plan to that of being a bloated league with too many teams where eventually, it will become survival of the fittest and we will start losing teams again as has happened in the past?

Given the Barcelona issue, I have a gut feeling it’s going to take a lot of Miami to screw this up. But they certainly don’t have history on their side for previously having the Fusion and it not working. Portland to me is the next logical choice, despite the big bankroll of Arthur Blank’s Atlanta bid.

For Canada, it’s a bit of a toss up. If Miami gets one of the teams, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Vancouver get the other so as not to leave Seattle kind of hanging out up there in the northwest all by itself. One way or the other, I think Seattle is going to get a dance partner out of this deal – whether it’s Vancouver or Portland, we don’t know.

If I were a gambling man … and who the hell am I kidding, I am; these are the odds I would set as of now for which cities will join MLS in 2011, assuming that no current teams relocate to one of these seven cities in the interim – which I don’t think the league would go for at this point:

(Note, these are independent of what other city gets a team; these are simply my odds for each individual city.)

Miami: 5/2
Montreal: 4/1
Portland: 9/2
Vancouver: 6/1
Atlanta: 9/1
St. Louis: 11/1
Ottawa: 20/1 (I just don’t see it, but if you like longshots, have at it).

The favorite in terms of picking both cities cold … I’d go with a Miami/Vancouver exacta; with a small side play on Montreal/Portland.

2 thoughts on “Seven Break From the Gate …

  1. Aaron, your thoughts on the absence of Las Vegas from the list? Does this give credence to the “Las Vegas Crew” theory or is Vegas just not able to come up with the stadium and capital to purchase a franchise?

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