MLS president, to Sports Illustrated: No 'fixed deadline' on expansion decision

MLS president, to Sports Illustrated: No 'fixed deadline' on expansion decision
FC Cincinnati fans have been anticipating an MLS bid for more than a year now. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Discussions continue to move forward regarding the proposal to build an FC Cincinnati stadium in the West End.

Cincinnati Public Schools met with city councilmembers Tuesday to discuss the project that would put a soccer stadium at the site of the current Stargel Stadium. No decisions were made during the meeting.

It's very possible that you, the reader, just took a second and third look at the previous paragraph and wondered to yourself: "Haven't I been reading this same story for three weeks?"

You're not alone. As reiterated by a Sports Illustrated article from this past weekend, MLS had hoped to name two new 2020 expansion teams before the end of 2017.

It's now 2018, as most of you are likely aware. When FC Cincinnati takes the field Saturday for a preseason friendly against Nashville (a team that has secured one of those precious 2020 MLS expansion bids), it will be March (March!) of 2018. So, you know, an amount of time has passed.

Here's what MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott told SI in that article:

"Although we haven't finalized any deals and all of the finalist markets remain under consideration, we've made the most progress in Cincinnati," MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott told on Friday...

You can read that full Brian Straus piece here.

There are three sites in play for an FC Cincinnati soccer-specific stadium: Newport, Ky., Oakley, and the West End.

There has been plenty of discussion regarding the West End location. Former Cincinnati Mayor Dwight Tillery talked at a recent community meeting about need versus want and expressed displeasure with an inability to find the funds for West End projects in years past.

"They're going to gentrify all the way down to the boathouse," he said. "Wake up and see what time it is. They ain't playing with us. And let's go ... tell them we ain't playing with them."

In the meantime, FC Cincinnati will continue on with its preseason schedule. The team plays Nashville Saturday and their current expansion rival Sacramento a week after that. (Detroit is also technically in the mix. They are not on FC Cincinnati's preseason schedule.)

So, mark your calendars, or don't, but on March 10, FCC and Sacramento Republic FC will play a preseason friendly in Cincinnati. Fans may know by then which of those teams has been granted the final 2020 expansion bid. Or they may not. It may take a few weeks. Or a couple months. But perhaps not an extended period of time.

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