Though recent momentum in the MLS expansion race has been behind FC Cincinnati, Sacramento Republic FC continues to pursue additional investment to boost its bid.
Cincinnati, Detroit, and Sacramento are left from a group of four finalists that were considered for two MLS expansion spots in December. MLS selected Nashville’s bid in December, but opted to hold off on decisions regarding the other bids and has still not finalized plans for its next selection.
FC Cincinnati has seemingly made the most progress of the three, securing approval earlier this week for a new soccer-specific stadium on the city’s West End. Although MLS acknowledged that progress in a recent statement, it also indicated that it is still engaged in discussions with all three of the finalists.
For Republic FC, the issue has been whether the club can secure a major investor to bolster its bid and move forward in the process. Club officials indicate that the search for additional investment continues, something that could come into play in future rounds of expansion if Sacramento is passed over for now. More from The Sacramento Bee:
For now, it won’t change much in Sacramento’s strategy. Republic FC and team owner Kevin Nagle are still in regular discussions with potential investors.
Nagle said in a written statement that Republic FC “remains in close contact with MLS as we work to strengthen our bid and move closer to delivering the MLS club our fans and community deserve.”
“We are as optimistic as ever that we will reach our goal and look forward to sharing more updates in the future,” Nagle said.
If the league chooses Cincinnati, Sacramento still has a chance in the next round of expansion. MLS has said it will award expansion teams to a 27th and 28th city, but has not provided a time line.
While Cincinnati has had the more recent momentum of the three candidates, it is worth noting that MLS is not bound to award an expansion franchise to any of the finalists. MLS could announce tomorrow that the expansion sequence has been revised, and that cities like Phoenix will now be included in the process.
Still, Sacramento will clearly have its eyes on additional investment as it continues to work on completing a successful MLS expansion bid. That issue lingers for now, but Republic FC would appear to have some other advantages, including approval for a new downtown stadium and a strong track record of fan support over its years in the USL.
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