Which Cities are Next up For MLS Expansion?

Author Image Article By Grant McQuillan GDC - Icon - Black - Info
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Which Cities are Next up For MLS Expansion?

A new team will join Major League Soccer for the 2023 season. 

St. Louis City SC becomes the 14th team in the Western Conference, while the Eastern Conference has 15. This marks the seventh consecutive season in which the MLS has added a team, dating to 2016.

Following is a look at the newest team in MLS, as well as an analysis of whether the league is growing too large.

St. Louis is a Soccer Giant

Soccer has been played at various levels in the St. Louis area for more than a century. The St. Louis Soccer League, founded in 1907, was North America’s only professional soccer league at the time. 

St. Louis City plays Austin in its February debut. The team came into existence in 2019 and will play its home matches at the Citypark, which opened in November ahead of the arrival of MLS. The stadium, built next to Union Station, has a capacity of 22,500.

This year will be the first since 1977 that a club from greater St. Louis has played in the top tier of a U.S. soccer league. The St. Louis Stars played in the defunct North American Soccer League from 1968-77.

St. Louis City is led by former New York Red Bulls assistant coach Bradley Carnell, and the most notable player on the roster is former Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Bürki. 

St. Louis City 2 is the franchise’s reserve team. It began play in the 2022 season.


Check out: Gambling.com's MLS Picks, Predictions, Analysis


Is the MLS Getting Too Large?

Top European leagues like the Premier League, Serie A and La Liga all have 20 teams, more than either conference in MLS. 

As the league grows, so do its popularity, finances and global attraction. As a result, the league can never become "too big." But there have been some problems with its growth.

Sacramento Republic was intended to join St. Louis City in MLS in 2023, but its bid was placed on hold because an investor pulled out. MLS Commissioner Don Garber has since suggested that the next round of expansion bring the league to 32 teams. 

It’s also worth noting that the league is only in its second growth phase, which began in 2015, and St. Louis City had to pay $200 million just to get into MLS. It’s set to get more expensive to join the league as time passes, a barrier to potential expansion teams.

Twenty-one states are represented in the MLS. Some that lack top-tier teams have shown the ability to support one potentially. New Mexico United regularly reaches its crowd capacity of 13,500, while Phoenix Rising FC gets huge crowds at Phoenix Rising Soccer Stadium, which has a capacity of 10,000. 

In the end, it’s all about finances. Even the incredible wealth of David Beckham was not enough to get Inter Miami into MLS by itself; he needed the assistance of billionaire brothers Jorge and Jose Mas.

Other states have seen failed expansion efforts as well. Garber was eager to get an expansion team in Detroit in 2020. The ownership group bidding to do so failed to build a soccer-specific stadium and lost out on the bid. The Tampa Bay Rowdies are another successful team in the USL Championship that has failed to enter the MLS. Louisville City FC also failed in its bid.

The next-most-likely city for a team in MLS is Las Vegas. Phoenix Rising is getting closer, but the bid seems entirely dependent on an agreement with Goldman Sachs to secure funding for a 20,000-seat stadium. The final most likely candidate is San Diego, whose ownership group includes MLS legend, Landon Donovan.

Major League Soccer Odds
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Orlando City SC Orlando City SC ORL
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Columbus Crew Columbus Crew CLB
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New England Revolution New England Revolution NER
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New York City FC New York City FC NYC
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CF Montreal CF Montreal MTL
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Nashville SC Nashville SC NSH
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D.C. United D.C. United DCU
-140FanDuel
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Chicago Fire Chicago Fire FIR
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Charlotte FC Charlotte FC CLT
+145DraftKings
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Philadelphia Union Philadelphia Union PHI
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Atlanta United Atlanta United ATL
+145FanDuel
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Los Angeles Football Club Los Angeles Football Club LAF
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Toronto FC Toronto FC TOR
+190FanDuel
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+135DraftKings
FC Cincinnati FC Cincinnati CIN
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St. Louis City SC St. Louis City SC STL
+125FanDuel
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Seattle Sounders FC Seattle Sounders FC SOU
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FC Dallas FC Dallas DAL
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Real Salt Lake Real Salt Lake RSL
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Colorado Rapids Colorado Rapids RAP
-110DraftKings
+280DraftKings
+260FanDuel
Minnesota United Minnesota United MNU
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Vancouver Whitecaps FC Vancouver Whitecaps FC WHI
+155DraftKings
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Inter Miami CF Inter Miami CF MIA
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Los Angeles Galaxy Los Angeles Galaxy GAL
-125DraftKings
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Houston Dynamo Houston Dynamo HOU
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Portland Timbers Portland Timbers POR
-110BetMGM
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Sporting Kansas City Sporting Kansas City SKC
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San Jose Earthquakes San Jose Earthquakes SJE
-130BetMGM
+295DraftKings
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Austin FC Austin FC ATX
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Philadelphia Union Philadelphia Union PHI
-140FanDuel
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Toronto FC Toronto FC TOR
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New York Red Bulls New York Red Bulls NYR
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Charlotte FC Charlotte FC CLT
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CF Montreal CF Montreal MTL
+120FanDuel
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D.C. United D.C. United DCU
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Inter Miami CF Inter Miami CF MIA
-170FanDuel
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Atlanta United Atlanta United ATL
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FC Cincinnati FC Cincinnati CIN
-140FanDuel
+270FanDuel
+380FanDuel
Nashville SC Nashville SC NSH
May 29th | 8:30pm
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Sporting Kansas City Sporting Kansas City SKC
+140FanDuel
+250FanDuel
+175FanDuel
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Vancouver Whitecaps FC WHI
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Austin FC Austin FC ATX
-110FanDuel
+250FanDuel
+270FanDuel
Portland Timbers Portland Timbers POR
May 29th | 8:30pm
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Draw
Away
Houston Dynamo Houston Dynamo HOU
+120FanDuel
+250FanDuel
+200FanDuel
Colorado Rapids Colorado Rapids RAP
May 29th | 8:30pm
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Away
Chicago Fire Chicago Fire FIR
+130FanDuel
+240FanDuel
+190FanDuel
Orlando City SC Orlando City SC ORL
May 29th | 10:30pm
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Draw
Away
Seattle Sounders FC Seattle Sounders FC SOU
+145FanDuel
+250FanDuel
+160FanDuel
Real Salt Lake Real Salt Lake RSL
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Draw
Away
Los Angeles Galaxy Los Angeles Galaxy GAL
-150FanDuel
+280FanDuel
+400FanDuel
FC Dallas FC Dallas DAL
May 29th | 10:45pm
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Draw
Away
Los Angeles Football Club Los Angeles Football Club LAF
-160FanDuel
+300FanDuel
+400FanDuel
Minnesota United Minnesota United MNU
May 31st | 7:30pm
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New York City FC New York City FC NYC
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San Jose Earthquakes San Jose Earthquakes SJE
June 1st | 7:30pm
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D.C. United D.C. United DCU
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Toronto FC Toronto FC TOR
June 1st | 7:30pm
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Inter Miami CF Inter Miami CF MIA
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St. Louis City SC St. Louis City SC STL
June 1st | 7:30pm
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New York Red Bulls New York Red Bulls NYR
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Orlando City SC Orlando City SC ORL
June 1st | 7:30pm
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Philadelphia Union Philadelphia Union PHI
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CF Montreal CF Montreal MTL
June 1st | 8:30pm
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Nashville SC Nashville SC NSH
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New England Revolution New England Revolution NER
June 1st | 8:30pm
Home
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Minnesota United Minnesota United MNU
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Sporting Kansas City Sporting Kansas City SKC
June 1st | 8:30pm
Home
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Chicago Fire Chicago Fire FIR
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Los Angeles Galaxy Los Angeles Galaxy GAL
June 1st | 9:30pm
Home
Draw
Away
Real Salt Lake Real Salt Lake RSL
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Austin FC Austin FC ATX
June 1st | 10:30pm
Home
Draw
Away
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Vancouver Whitecaps FC WHI
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Colorado Rapids Colorado Rapids RAP
June 1st | 10:30pm
Home
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Away
Portland Timbers Portland Timbers POR
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Houston Dynamo Houston Dynamo HOU
June 1st | 10:30pm
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Away
Los Angeles Football Club Los Angeles Football Club LAF
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FC Dallas FC Dallas DAL
June 2nd | 4:45pm
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Atlanta United Atlanta United ATL
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Charlotte FC Charlotte FC CLT

Updated by GDC - Icon - Black - Info

Grant McQuillan

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