In his visit to Cincinnati, MLS commissioner Don Garber offered plenty of compliments to FC Cincinnati for the organization’s success in the USL.
Overall, Garber’s visit on Tuesday seems to have been positive, but Cincinnati is still left with a several tasks that it must complete to land an entry in the MLS. At the forefront of those issues is a stadium, as Garber unsurprisingly noted that the team’s current arrangement at Nippert Stadium is unlikely to be a fit for the MLS. Additionally, Cincinnati will have to compete with plenty of markets to gain entry to the MLS in later rounds of expansion and, if successful, would likely not join the league until at least 2020.
An encouraging sign for the city, however, was Garber’s laudatory remarks for FC Cincinnati. FC Cincinnati set numerous attendance records during its debut 2016 campaign in the USL, and Garber believes that the organization is on the right course. More from Cincinnati.com:
Garber was never expected to anoint Cincinnati or guarantee its spot in MLS during his visit, and he didn’t. But he did say this much: FC Cincinnati and its owners remain high on the list for one of the remaining expansion slots, and the league will continue to closely monitor Cincinnati’s progress.
“They’ve just got to keep doing what they’re doing because they’re doing it really well,” Garber told The Enquirer during an editorial board meeting. “Build their brand. Continue to expand their fan base. Continue to get embedded in their community with the civic leaders and business leaders. They have done a lot of things really well.”
With Garber backing the organization’s ownership, FC Cincinnati is in a good position to leverage Cincinnati into the MLS. Now it will have to focus on several key objectives, one of which will be to tap into its community support to build a consensus for a new stadium.
Image courtesy FC Cincinnati.
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