Is the push and pull of MLS franchise No. 20 about to take a southerly turn?
Very interesting stuff today from soccer sleuth Steven Goff at his Soccer Insider blog, where the Washington Post reporter says David Beckham’s long-whispered connections to a Miami expansion effort may be collecting momentum.
There’s no real news other than Goff’s sources hinting more at work here than the vaguely sourced embers in the media air around last December.
Goff is Goff, and he knows how to vet his own sources. So when the veteran soccer scribe says this thing could soon gain speed, you can trust there is weight behind it.
Beckham’s original MLS deal came with rights to purchase an MLS team, as we know. All his marketing muscle and the big Beckham machine can not only apply pressure in the right places, but it will look attractive to MLS in many ways, too.
But the league is committed to “NYC 2,” as it’s being called – a second club for the New York area, one that will actually play in New York (rather than New Jersey, where the Red Bulls call home). Then there is Orlando, a real darling among some expansion proponents for its aggressive efforts to insert itself in the MLS game.
Major League Soccer desperately needs an imprint in the American southeast. Lots of good sports fans in Georgia, Florida and thereabouts couldn’t spell MLS if you spotted them two letters. Generally speaking, the league has alarmingly little awareness in markets with no club nearby. It’s a problem, and the MLS deciders know so.
While Orlando’s aggressive courtship might feel good – Who doesn’t like being desired, after all? – Brand Beckham could easily bully its way past Orlando’s more grass roots effort.
Or, MLS could go all in for Florida once again and add two clubs in the Sunshine State.
I mean, two MLS teams in Florida? Sure! What could possible go wrong?