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I'm not considering intercity rivals to Red Bull New York or the San Jose Earthquakes in this article
My list is based on three of the four principal criteria MLS has laid out for expansion. I focus primarily on the existence (or the possibility of the existence) of a 15-to-30,000-seat soccer stadium and having success in the lower-tier leagues such as the NASL and USL.
I also considered market size, but not as the chief factor. After all, this is a league that fielded a team in Columbus for its inaugural season.
As such, I did not really seriously consider San Diego. San Diego has repeatedly shown itself to be unwilling to shell out for new stadia. Las Vegas isn’t going to happen for a plethora of reasons, ranging from 100-degree temperatures to sports betting.
In addition, I also dismissed additional teams in existing markets. Is it possible that one day the Cosmos finally make it to MLS, or could the Bay Area get a second franchise playing out of Kezar Stadium in San Francisco? Perhaps. But I consider expansion into existing markets a more likely proposition, considering the tribulations of my favorite side, Chivas USA.
Note: Unlike my earlier articles in this series, target metro areas are listed alphabetically. Also note that I am using the U.S. Census’ list of Combined Statistical Areas as my definition of “media market.”