Speaking on ESPN during halftime of the Major League Soccer opening game, MLS commissioner Don Garber has confirmed that Portland will be the next expansion team.
Yesterday, Vancouver was announced as the 17th addition to MLS. Reports had surfaced that Portland was the next stop, and Garber confirmed those suspicions.
"We will announce a new team tomorrow," Garber said. "We are on our way for a press conference down south in Portland. I can't tell you much more than that as we've got to save something for our big event tomorrow. But we're going to have a great rivalry with a number of cities here in the Northwest, replicating some of the great derbies that exist in England, and exist in Italy, Spain, and Latin America. We're excited about it, and I think it's going to speak wonders about what this sport can be here in America. It's going to be absolutely fantastic."
Both Portland and Vancouver are expected to join the league in 2011. 2009's addition, Seattle Sounders FC, hosted the game against last year's finalists, the New York Red Bulls, and Garber gave his comments from a packed Qwest Field. 2010 will see Philadelphia join the league. When asked about rapid expansion in these troubled economic times, Garber maintained that the league is using sufficient caution.
"The economic times are affecting all of us, and we've got to be mindful about how we manage our business, but this is a business for the long term," Garber clarified. "It speaks volumes about the commitments that our owners have made in the past, and the hopes and the commitment that these new guys have for the future. We'll continue to be careful. We'll add a couple new teams, but we'll continue this strategic careful growth pattern."
Zac Lee Rigg, Goal.com