Getting underway this weekend, the 2019 MLS season is one that could be marked by several intriguing developments on the facilities and expansion fronts.
MLS will start its regular season on Saturday, and the 2019 campaign is a notable milestone as it relates to the league’s ongoing expansion push. It will be the first year of competition for expansion FC Cincinnati, which joins the circuit to give it 24 clubs. MLS is counting on the arrivals of clubs in Nashville and Miami for 2020, followed by Austin in 2021, giving it a path to 27 teams in the coming years with some decisions still to be made on future expansion.
The selection of a 28th team could come later this year, making for at least one high-profile story line that could unfold off the field. While expansion is one area that MLS is focused on, it is not the only priority for commissioner Don Garber as the league enters its 24th season. More from the AP:
“The future plan is something we’re going to be working with our expansion committee on over the next year or so, and try to determine whether or not Major League Soccer is going to grow past 28,” he said. “There’s been no decision whatsoever in that regard and I’m not sure when exactly that ultimate decision will get made.”
Apart from expansion and everything that goes with it, the league also needs to make sure it is properly developing talent, wisely managing rosters and ensuring the right designated players are coming into the league, Garber said.
In addition to continued coverage of expansion, we will be focused on a few stadium-related developments this season. That includes Minnesota United FC‘s opening of the brand-new Allianz Field (rendering above), which hosts its first match on April 13, and the Portland Timbers expansion of Providence Park that is set to be completed late in the spring. Look for stories on those topics and more, both on our site and in our weekly newsletter. You can subscribe to our newsletter here to read feature news stories before they appear on the site.