November 29, 2017 / 4:00 PM / a year ago

Soccer-Four finalists named for next two MLS expansion teams

Nov 29 (Reuters) - Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento are finalists for two Major League Soccer expansion teams that will be announced later this year, the league said on Wednesday.

The finalists, who were narrowed down from a list of 12 bids submitted in January, will make their formal presentations to MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the league’s expansion committee in New York on Dec. 6.

Garber lauded the finalists for what he described as bold visions and innovative plans for their clubs, stadiums and involvement in their respective communities.

“We are pleased these highly-respected business and sports leaders have been so determined to bring Major League Soccer to their cities,” Garber said in a statement.

“We have been greatly encouraged by the progress that all four of these groups have made and we are looking forward to their presentations.”

Following the presentations from each finalist, a meeting of the league’s board of governors on Dec. 14 will include talks on expansion with ownership representatives from every MLS club.

The other cities who submitted bids earlier this year were Charlotte, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa/St. Petersburg.

While those eight markets missed out on landing an MLS team, the league said they will remain under consideration for the following two expansion clubs that are scheduled to be announced at a later date.

MLS, which began with 10 clubs in 1996, had 22 teams compete during the 2017 season with the addition of Atlanta United and Minnesota United FC.

In 2015, MLS announced plans to expand the league to a total of 28 teams. Los Angeles Football Club will become the league’s 23rd team when they begin play in 2018 while talks continue to progress for an expansion team in Miami. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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