Per the Major League Soccer web site, the race for an MLS expansion franchise that used to be between three cities — Minneapolis, Sacramento and Las Vegas — is down to just Sacramento and Minneapolis.

Via its own web site, MLS “Commissioner Don Garber on Thursday notified Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman that MLS is no longer considering Las Vegas as an expansion market until after 2018.”

MLS officials met in November with reps from all three cities — including, of course, the two separate groups vying for a franchise here in Minneapolis.

Narrowing the list to two cities is particularly interesting because Miami continues to struggle in its quest for a stadium — a contingency placed on that city, which has already been awarded a franchise.

If Miami needs more time to get its stadium act together, there could be two expansion slots open immediately instead of just one. With Las Vegas out, that would, in effect, mean Sacramento and Minnesota were in.

None of this is set in stone, of course, and there is still the question of which local ownership group — a Vikings group led by the Wilf family or a group fronted by Minnesota United owner Bill McGuire that also has ties to other local pro franchises — would end up getting the team if it does wind up in Minneapolis.

MLS has said its timetable for an expansion decision is sometime in the first six months of 2015. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

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