Here's are some key points of
Garber's ExtraTime Live conversation:
Expansion decision firm until it isn't. The decision on the 25th and 26 teams won't be announced until after the league's board of governors meeting in mid-December. Garber said it was a very firm date, then added the caveat, "Things could change. You have to always give us a little wiggle room."
Possible contract extension with adidas reviewed. With its agreement with adidas as the league's official athletic sponsor and licensed product supplier set to expire after 2018, MLS will review what Garber says is "a new relationship perhaps with adidas that we can position us one of the top leagues in the world as it relates to one of the top soccer-football companies in the world."
Priority is to spend on the middle. MLS strategic spending priorities won't change. "I think you'll see more money allocation money in time," Garber said. "It's a way for us to ensure that we're investing strategically in our player pool. I don't think we'll expand the DP program. Frankly, I think we're better off trying to think about expanding TAM and GAM. It allows us to build our rosters out, not just to players at the top, and even incentivize players at the bottom. But really build up the middle."
What keeps him up at night? "The enormous pressure that is coming into our country from international clubs and federations and leagues," Garber said. "There isn't an international team of note that doesn't have an office in New York and is trying to use our country as an ATM, if you will, and play games and tournaments. That's OK. Competition is good. It make you stronger, makes you more more focused. But it's pressure that the NBA doesn't have to worry about and certainly not the NFL or baseball certainly, or the National Hockey League."
Exodus of young stars will always be an issue. Young MLS stars like FC Dallas midfielder Kellyn Acosta and Orlando City's Cyle Larin have been linked to clubs abroad. "This is a true conflict," Garber said. "If it were up to me, and I am not the boss of all this -- the teams are -- I would want to see Cyle and Kellyn, just like we've had other great players now playing for our national team, come and have their careers spent here in the league. They need to become our aspirational heroes for young kids who are playing the game." But Garber admitted the desire of players (and their coaches) to move abroad is often strong.