MLS Expansion: Let loose the Loons!

The deafening silence shrouding MLS expansion to Minnesota, which is supposed to start play next season, is about to be lifted.

The league issued a press release on Tuesday stating that Commissioner Don Garber would attend an event Friday in the capital city of St. Paul. Mayor Chris Coleman and team owner Bill McGuire will join Garber in making "several announcements," which are expected to include official notification of the team's launch in 2017 and its temporary home, along with its the team name to be used in MLS.

Minnesota United -- nicknamed "Loons," one of which is prominently displayed on the team crest -- currently plays in the North American Soccer League. At United’s last home game, fans were handed placards reading “8.19.16. STP. Be there.” On the other side of the card read: “#NextStopMLS.”

Last year MLS awarded Minnesota an expansion franchise, which initially was set to play in Minneapolis. When stadium plans lagged, aggressive moves by Coleman prompted McGuire to shift his attention to St. Paul and the construction of a $150 million stadium (capacity of approximately 21,000) as the centerpiece of a redevelopment plan that goes before the  St. Paul City Council on Wednesday.

A property-tax exemption to help fund the stadium was passed by the state Legislature in the spring but was not budgeted because of a post-session veto by Governor Mark Dayton, who questioned an error in the language of the legislation -- a potential $101 million error because of an "or" instead of an "and" -- not related to the soccer facility.

League and team officials have researched sites for a possible venue for the Minnesota team for 2017 and part of the 2018 season as well. That stadium is expected to be TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota, but Minnesota United played a friendly against Mexican club Leon attended by more than 18,000 fans at Target Field, baseball home of the Minnesota Twins and another possible venue.

Originally, construction was set to start in June for completion sometime during the 2018 MLS season, but the property-tax snafu prevented work from starting.

MLS membership will increase to 22 teams next season with the additions of Atlanta United FC and Minnesota.
6 comments about "MLS Expansion: Let loose the Loons!".
  1. Wooden Ships, August 17, 2016 at 4:03 p.m.

    Garber don't settle on something less than ideal, the players deserve the best. Soccer specific and grass. If not, stop expanding until its done properly.

  2. beautiful game replied, August 18, 2016 at 1:44 p.m.

    Good point...and how about a venue that is spectator friendly with overhead coverage.

  3. Richard Brown, August 17, 2016 at 7:09 p.m.

    Anyone know who is going to coach the Minnesota team someone from Minnesota? I remember Manny Lagos father was a terrific coach. I guess he might be too old now I forget his age.

  4. ThaRef . replied, August 17, 2016 at 9:09 p.m.

    Gerard & Manny's dad was BUZZ Lagos. He retired about 10 years ago.

    Maybe he can be talked into it?
    (er, out of it?)

  5. Richard Brown, August 18, 2016 at 7:35 a.m.

    I thought Lagos was a very good coach. What about Manny usually the son picks up coaching from his father's influence on him. He was a pretty good player remember when he got frost bite in his foot from the ice spray they used back then when he had an injury.

  6. Jacob Wang, August 21, 2016 at 7:31 p.m.

    whatever happened to the former home of the St. Paul Saints? Want to talk to the Vikings, as well?

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