High-ranking officials with Major League Soccer, including Commissioner Don Garber, met in the Twin Cities recently with representatives from both local groups vying for an MLS expansion franchise in Minnesota.
Garber met with a group led by Minnesota United and its owner, former UnitedHealth executive William McGuire. That group also includes Twins owner Jim Pohlad, a source confirmed to the Star Tribune. SI.com reported that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is also part of the group and that Pohlad and Taylor attended the meeting with Garber while he was in town Sept. 22-23.
Minnesota United currently plays in the second-division North American Soccer League, and securing an MLS franchise would mean building a new outdoor soccer-specific stadium.
Garber also met with the Vikings, who are vying to secure a team to play in their new stadium slated to open in 2016.
Minneapolis is a strong contender to land an MLS franchise, though the league is also considering other markets such as Sacramento. MLS, which has a goal of expanding to 24 teams by 2020, could make an expansion decision by the end of the year – perhaps as soon as Dec. 7, when the league's board of governors will be gathered for the MLS Cup final.
Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley characterized the recent meeting with Garber as "a continuation of our ongoing dialogue with MLS," and noted that MLS leaders were making the rounds to various cities. Indeed, officials from the league were in Sacramento shortly before visiting Minnesota.