MLS commissioner Don Garber recently told SI's Grant Wahl that St. Louis was one of the cities leading the pack for the next wave of league expansion, and it appears his actions are backing up those words.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MLS is conducting an immediate search for a downtown St. Louis stadium location and is ramping up its efforts to determine whether to expand to the Gateway to the West. One possible site is the downtown riverfront where plans were being made to build a new stadium for the NFL's Rams, only to have them relocate to Los Angeles.
On Thursday, Garber reportedly met at league headquarters in New York with Dave Peacock, the former president of Anheuser-Busch, the chairman of the St. Louis Sports Commission and the co-chairman of Gov. Jay Nixon’s NFL stadium task force.
“We are very excited about the possibilities in St. Louis. We believe it’s MLS-ready,” Garber told the Post-Dispatch. “We’ve got a lot of work to do as it relates to determining a stadium solution, and figuring out who ultimately can be the owner of the team. But, overall, we’re very focused on St. Louis as a potential expansion market.”
Garber also reportedly said that a team in St. Louis could begin play as soon as 2020. MLS is set to welcome four new teams in the next two years, with Atlanta United FC, LAFC, Minnesota United and David Beckham's expansion team in Miami all in line to give the league 24 teams.
The league announced plans to expand to 28 teams, with St. Louis, Sacramento, San Diego, San Antonio, Detroit and others being among the candidates.