Frequent contributor Jon Marthaler has written about virtually every sport in the Twin Cities, and fills in on Saturdays for the RandBall blog on StarTribune.com. He'll cover the professional soccer scene in the Twin Cities, whether at the Metrodome or at the National Sports Center.

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MLS commissioner gives most specific statement yet on Minneapolis expansion

Posted by: Jon Marthaler under Soccer Updated: February 21, 2014 - 9:09 AM

Thursday, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber gave his most detailed statement yet on the possibility of bringing an expansion franchise to Minnesota.

The league announced yesterday that it was buying the struggling Chivas USA franchise and making plans to sell it to another Los Angeles group. Speaking with reporters on a conference call, the comissioner also gave some more details on the league's expansion plans - the much-talked-about "four franchises by 2020" plan.

Regarding Minneapolis, he noted that the league has had talks with a potential ownership group, and said, “That opportunity is one that we're excited about as we believe we need more teams in the Midwest. I think if Minneapolis as a market that can continue to show the support that they've had for the NASL club [Minnesota United FC] and if they continue to make progress on a number of different stadium opportunities, there's a real opportunity there.”

Two franchises - Orlando City, which will join the league in 2015, and Miami, which is still in need of a stadium plan - are already spoken for. Garber's comments, in which he gave the most details about Atlanta and Minneapolis, indicate again that the Twin Cities are near the top of the league's list for expansion destinations.

It's also worth noting that the commissioner mentioned both multiple stadium opportunities, and Minnesota United. Many local soccer fans have wondered if the Vikings' ownership has the inside track on an MLS franchise, given that they've already succeeded in wheedling a stadium out of the state, but Garber's statement makes clear that the potential local ownership group is also up in the air.

The stadium issue, as in Miami, may yet be the biggest hurdle to clear in the path towards MLS in Minnesota. It would seem, however, that local fans will also need to demonstrate a committment to supporting the area's already-existing pro soccer team - perhaps the fastest way for fans to encourage the league to send a franchise the Twin Cities' way.

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Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 10 FINAL
Arizona 5
Atlanta 100 FINAL
Charlotte 115
New York 80 FINAL
Chicago 111
Golden State 108 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Oklahoma City 89 FINAL
Utah 94
Denver 114 FINAL
Portland 120
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 FINAL
Carolina 3
Florida 2 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 3
Ottawa 3 FINAL(OT)
Toronto 4
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 4 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Buffalo 3 FINAL
Colorado 5
Dallas 4 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
Arizona 78 FINAL
Wisconsin 85
Canisius 73 FINAL
NJIT 78
Notre Dame 66 FINAL
Kentucky 68
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
D.C. 1
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 2 FINAL
Columbus 1
Portland 1 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Houston 0
Seattle 0 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 69 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 73

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