Good news, as Minnesota United FC was unveiled as the latest MLS expansion side on Wednesday. The NASL side's entry into the MLS club means that Los Angeles Football Club is no longer the newest team on the block.
On a personal level, I'm thrilled to see Minnesota get into MLS, as it's nice to see more midwestern representation in the league, even if it isn't my native state of Michigan. And the revived Minnesota United club has basically risen from the near-dead in the last few years, to really take off locally.
Also, Minnesota United have the best uniforms in American/Canadian soccer. Here's hoping adidas (or whoever the apparel provider is when they begin play in MLS) doesn't dump the sweet, sweet loon design:
Now, the interesting part on a local level is when Minnesota United will enter MLS play. The initial release says 2018, so a year after LAFC, but you may recall that LAFC's 2017 date is provisional at the moment, primarily dependent on the stadium situation for the team.
There's been no concrete news on the LA stadium front, though there was recently a report on the site in the local mainstream press. The winds seem to be blowing to an LA Sports Arena site, but no announcement means there's nothing officially in place yet.
Now, MLS Commissioner Don Garber told reporters during Wednesday's announcement that Minnesota's entry date in MLS is contingent on what happens with LAFC. If the California team cannot get its ducks in a row to begin play by 2017, then MNU will jump ahead of them and enter themselves in 2017, while LAFC will have to wait until 2018.
That's...what we were told from the beginning, of course, minus the Minnesota part, but to have a team now eagerly awaiting entry in the league, that is reportedly much farther along in its bid to secure a stadium site, and already has a team playing and all of the infrastructure that comes with that, has to be concerning on an LAFC front. Clearly, it's better to get the stadium situation wrangled and fully done, no matter the timetable in the end, but this puts pressure on the Los Angeles group, no question about it. And with the club's formation about to reach the 6-month mark, as of next week, folks are getting anxious about the lack of news of any kind from the team since October.
Maybe that will spur LAFC on, or maybe it won't. We'll see. In the meantime, welcome Minnesota as another new team in 20...18 or 2017!
What do you think? Leave a comment below!