If Minneapolis lands MLS, what becomes of Sacramento and Miami?

Sacramento Republic FCIf Minnesota United FC does indeed land a 2018 MLS expansion franchise, that leaves Sacramento and Miami to battle for a final 24th MLS teamwith two totally different sets of dynamics at play.

Sacramento has a track record, supporting the USL’s Republic FC during an exciting 2014 season that saw the team sell out two venues consistently. A Miami bid, on the other hand, has no track record but plenty of star power, with a slew of investors that includes the legendary David Beckham.

Sacramento also has plans for a new downtown stadium, one that doesn’t require public funding. The travails of a new-stadium effort in Miami are well-documented: despite pitches for a new facility in various downtown and waterfront locales, Miami officials are pushing Beckham’s group toward a small site next to Marlins Park — a site already rejected once by Beckham and his group.

Despite Beckham’s star power, there are solid ownership groups in both Sacramento and Miami, and Sacramento’s support of Republic FC is impressive. But every indication is that Beckham and crew will be given every opportunity to land the team. Beckham does have the contractual right to buy a franchise at a discount, per his last contract, and that needs to play out. Plus, if we’re talking about glitz, there’s really no comparing Sacramento and Miami: adding pro soccer to a Latin American stronghold under the right circumstances is a no-brainer.

Of course, MLS officials may decide to award teams to both groups and go with 25 teams for 2018. That’s been discussed as a possibility — and one that would please lots of folks.

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August Publications