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MLS Commissioner Don Garber: San Diego "probably took a step back" in MLS expansion race

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Blame the Chargers.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it looks like the NFL's race for Los Angeles may have left more collateral damage than first thought.

With the Chargers set to bolt (pun intended) up the road to LA, and then being approved to move by the NFL but currently stuck in a state of limbo while owner Dean Spanos mulls over where to play, the possibility they may remain in San Diego after all appears to have a ripple effect for MLS expansion, specifically in San Diego.

Although MLS Commissioner Don Garber had talked up the potential for a San Diego expansion bid in recent weeks, he turned around and poured cold water on it at the MLS SuperDraft in Baltimore on Thursday.

"San Diego is a market that has got to figure itself out," Garber told SI.com. "That probably took a step back on our list because if the Chargers were to leave it would probably be an opportunistic market for us.

"Four teams are going to come into the league at some point. St. Louis is probably, along with Sacramento, kind of leading the pack, if you will, but it's no different than a 5,000-meter run. Sometimes the first guy out of the gate doesn't finish the race, and sometimes they finish third."

There you have it. For MLS purposes, St. Louis looks like the early winner in the NFL-to-Los-Angeles sweepstakes. Saint Louis FC had a solid first season in USL, and the region produces a lot of players and has a long history with soccer. Of course, as Garber indicated, the story is long from over, but San Diego fans probably shouldn't be counting on an MLS team coming just yet with the Chargers possibly hanging around, as that appears to play a big role in the expansion breakdown.

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