MLS will have 27 teams in 2021 with the addition of Austin FC. It will have 28 in 2022 when Charlotte FC begins.
The revised plan was for St. Louis City SC and Sac Republic FC to begin play in 2023, but that changed when Sac Republic FC's primary investor, Ron Burkle
, pulled out.
Where does MLS stand on its 30th team?
In his kickoff media call on Monday, MLS commissioner Don Garber
did not rule out Sacramento but mentioned three other cities as expansion candidates.
“Ron Burkle is a good guy, and he had to face enormous economic challenges created by the pandemic, with costs rising dramatically with the Rail Yards project and other factors that created pressures on him that ultimately had him decide to walk away,” Garber said. “But there’s still a lot of energy in Sacramento, it’s a good soccer market. Mayor Darrell Steinberg
is very focused on trying to put another ownership group together, we’re going to work with him to see what can be achieved, if another group can come together and reach an agreement with the city and with others to be able to bring a team there. But right now there are other markets that we’re looking at, whether that be Las Vegas or San Diego or whether it be Phoenix, and we’ll see how all of those develop to see who can be our 30th team.”
All three have been working on expansion bids in recent years.
San Diego and Phoenix were candidates during the 2017 expansion campaign that ended with Nashville and Cincinnati getting teams.
Serious movement took place in Las Vegas in 2019 before Charlotte was awarded the 30th and final spot in the current expansion cycle.