It's looking all but certain that Atlanta United will be joined by Minnesota in the class of 2017 MLS Expansion entrants. Sports Illustrated is reporting that their sources have told them that not only will Minnesota be joining MLS in 2017, but they'll be doing so with a brand new name as well.
With Atlanta United and D.C. United both already staking claim to the "United" moniker, MLS feels that three Uniteds are a crowd in this instance and will be forcing Minnesota to rebrand upon its entrance into the league.
This is a puzzling move to say the least. Leagues all over England have numerous clubs with the United name and no one seems to get them confused. Minnesota have had the nickname since 2013, two years before Atlanta adopted it. It makes no sense to make them change it just because Atlanta called "dibs" on it in MLS before Minnesota did.
In the end, nicknames only mean so much. In five years no one will focus on the names of the two clubs, only the performances on the field. The hubbub over which team gets to keep United as its nickname is a little ridiculous. MLS should have more important things to focus on than these minute details. If they're worried about confusion how about making their roster and salary rules a little more transparent?
Minnesota looks like they are joining in 2017. No matter what name they are forced to use this will affect Atlanta United. Firstly the two clubs will have to split the top spot in the MLS SuperDraft and the Allocation order. It's unclear how that will be decided at this time.