Like Eddie Murphy in Coming to America, Major League Soccer is dead set on coming to Queens, and it seems nothing can stop them from doing so.
In the meantime, other cities are lining up for expansion opportunities. And a couple seem worth exploring:
Tampa: Land of the the surprise stadium plans.
Atlanta: A finalist a few years ago, and now they’re looking at a possible Seattle-style NFL-MLS combo.
St. Louis: Another finalist from a few years ago. Sullied by the NASL/WPS debacle, but a different ownership group has taken the first step toward a stadium.
Fort Lauderdale: Miami has been in the league before and was a recent finalist before a partnership with Barcelona fell through. But now the NASL Strikers are pursuing stadium plans. (To wrap up the finalists from a few years ago: The seven were Atlanta, Miami, Montreal, Ottawa, Portland, St. Louis, Vancouver. Three are in the league, three are on this list, and Ottawa went in a different direction.)
Elsewhere from NASL and USL: Four of the last five “expansion” teams were essentially economic promotions from the lower divisions. San Antonio is thinking about the leap in the long term but knows it might take time. From the SB Nation roundup, we can see a few teams pursuing stadium construction or expansion: Orlando, Carolina (Triangle), Pittsburgh, Minnesota, etc.
And whatever happened to Las Vegas? Baltimore? Detroit?
Longtime MLS fans know it’s pointless to start rooting for specific expansion sites. They need owners and stadiums, not Twitter campaigns.
But how many of these partially developed stadium plans would be fully developed if MLS threw open bidding for the 20th team?
And so MLS fans have a right to ask, along with a few folks in Queens: Why here? Why now? Why not consider other options?