Here's what I believe's up w/ #MLS2CINCY: Bid is FCC's contingent on stadium location change. MLS is giving Cincy more time to get things in order on urban core stadium location, hence post-New Year announcement. This is fluid story. Stay tuned.— Jason Williams (@jwilliamscincy) December 20, 2017
Conversely, FC Cincinnati's strength -- its ownership group led by Carl Lindner III -- is believed to be Sac Republic FC's weakness in MLS's eyes -- its local ownership
group headed by Sac Republic FC chairman Kevin Nagle lacks the heavy hitters that Cincinnati, Detroit and Nashville, the other three finalists, have.
According to two sources with knowledge of the situation, if Sac doesn’t get an MLS franchise it will likely be because ownership doesn’t have deep enough pockets. That’s the current fear among the group right now— Evan Ream (@EvanReam) December 19, 2017
Both cities remained optimistic that they will be picked as the second expansion team and won't have to fall back into the pack and compete for the 27th and 28th MLS teams selected at a time not yet known.
In an editorial Tuesday night, the Sacramento Bee wrote that "much more is at stake for Sacramento than just bragging rights from its second major league pro sports team, besides the NBA Kings." It then listed the economic impact of the soccer stadium, which it termed a "linchpin" for the downtown Railyards development.
The Bee's editorial board added that "Republic FC fans will be sorely disappointed if there’s no expansion franchise this time around. But it’s only a matter of when MLS will be coming to Sacramento, not if," paraphrasing the words of MLS commissioner Don Garber when he came to Sacramento in April 2016 before the current expansion process kicked off.
In Cincinnati, Mayor John Cranley, who had spearheaded the funding plan needed to help FC Cincinnati with the cost of infrastructure work on the Oakley stadium, told WLW Radio on Tuesday he was “75 percent confident" FC Cincinnati would get the second expansion bid but he was "100 percent the next time around."
Falling into the consolation bracket, though, won't sooth the disappointment of Cincinnati or Sacramento fans if their city loses out.