The commissioner is hopeful that Major League Soccer's 20th team can enter the league in 2016.It's been in the works for years and now, it appears that Major League Soccer's second New York team is imminent.
During commissioner Don Garber's media conference call Monday, he verified that the league is clearing its final hurdles to getting a stadium build in Queens, New York that will house its 20th franchise.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to happen to finalize our agreement with New York City over our use of the land and our ability to lease that land to build a stadium,” Garber said.
“I do believe that we will resolve that shortly. I can’t put any timetable on that, but we are at the finish line."
The league has been focused on another New York team for some time now, with many top officials taking the lead in scouting stadium locations all around New York City. It appears MLS has zeroed in on the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park section of Queens, which is also home to the New York Mets and the U.S. Open tennis tournament each year.
Buyoed by the possibility of a local derby with the New York Red Bulls, Garber hopes that a second New York team will create a burgeoning supporters culture in the nation's largest city.
"We believe that this second team in New York will help create an opportunity to break through the clutter in this market of almost a dozen professional sports teams," Garber said.
"There are 13 million people in the city, many of them love the game," he continued.
"We need to give them the opportunity to stop for a moment and pay attention to Major League Soccer, to pay more attention to the Red Bulls, to pay more attention to this 20th team and create very, very special moments for soccer in the New York metropolitan area."
The league has long believed that securing a privately-funded stadium in New York City would attract the interest of many ownership groups, and Garber confirmed there were ongoing talks - though he wouldn't specify the number of groups involved.
"I can't talk about who they are," Garber said. "But you'd expect this is an exciting opportunity. There are a wide variety of people that expressed interest, some of who we are in detailed discussions with."
When asked if 2016 is still a realistic target for New York's second MLS franchise to begin play, Garber answered in the affirmative.
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