One of the biggest discussed topics in today's MLS State of the League address by commissioner Don Garber was that of MLS Expansion.
During Garber's address to the media and fans, a map appeared on screen that displayed possible candidates. While Garber would later say that the map wasn't fully approved he did go on to talk about each candidate city and how their progress was looking.
The David Beckham-lead group in Miami earned a few questions during the Q&A portion of the program. Garber mentioned the importance of getting a downtown stadium in Miami and that the league is aware of the issues the city present as a sports market in general.
Garber sidestepped a question regarding the Dec. 31 expiration of Beckham's option agreement with the league, saying only that the parties are working to get something done "as quickly as we can."
Garber also mentioned how the market has changed since the league left Miami back in 2002.
If I were a betting man, I would actually put more money down on Atlanta getting an announcement before Miami after hearing Garber speak.
"Atlanta is a changing market demographically," Garber said. "We need to be in the Southeast. We hope to get a situation finalized."
But as he spoke he also mentioned that even though there is a finish line in sight, that line may continue to move.
Garber stated that MLS is making progress with Atlanta and owner Arthur Blank. He said the talks have been quiet in the sense that we're not hearing a ton of about them publicly. The league commissioner said the league likes to operate that way with regards to potential expansion cities.
The other three...or four
As you can see from the graphic above, the other markets listed were San Antonio, Minneapolis and St. Louis. We've touched on San Antonio before on this space but not so much on the other two.
The only other city to be mentioned by Garber -- but not listed on the map -- was Austin, Texas. The same city that once had a USL-Pro team in the Austin Aztex before that team moved to Orlando. The mention of Austin and San Antonio were said to be 'intriguing' for the league.
Austin is certainly a massive hopeful at this point given how they have no owner with deep pockets at the moment, stepping up to claim that city as a viable MLS destination. Also, the lack of a stadium plan in the urban downtown setting isn't even a thought at the moment in the Texan capital.
Which would you rather have as a Texan rival, Austin or San Antonio?