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The Daily Dirt, January 31: The Chosen One

MLS expansion bids are due today

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Indy Eleven at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Today is the deadline for interested cities to submit expansion bids to Major League Soccer. What originally started as ten cities that had been identified has swelled to twelve with the additions of Phoenix and Indianapolis.

Some bids have already been submitted to the league. The Tampa Bay Rowdies delivered their bid to MLS headquarters in New York City yesterday afternoon. Don Garber and Landon Donovan attended an event in San Diego, where that city’s bid was handed over.

Indy Eleven throwing their hat in the ring was a surprise yesterday as reports surfaced that there was a twelfth city bidding. The club previously failed in a stadium initiative a few years ago. According to the club, there is new potential to get a stadium done. The team has been one of the success stories of the North American Soccer League at the gate, even as the numbers have slipped slightly since averaging 10,465 in their inaugural season.

The teams who are selected for the first two expansion slots are likely the ones that are most ready to start today. They are slated to kickoff in MLS in 2020. In my opinion, based on what’s out there publicly, those cities would be Sacramento and Cincinnati. The final two slots could be cities that the league wants, but still have some work to do to get ready. I think it will come down to two from San Diego, Tampa Bay, Nashville, and Indy.

While the league has told the bidding cities that they are not expecting to expand past 28 teams, I would expect that might change if there are enough quality options. It could be a huge opportunity to bolster the second division by telling these prospective ownership groups who lose out that future teams will be added from the second division. We will see if that is something MLS feels is part of their role in U.S. Soccer.


Domestic

Now healthy, Kekuta Manneh is ready to shine (MLS)

Philadelphia Union added former USMNT center back Oguchi Onyewu (Brotherly Game)

The Union are in line to add a Bosnian international, according to reports:

Gbenga Arokoyo could be lost for the season for the Portland Timbers, they will be looking for a new center back (Stumptown Footy)

San Francisco Deltas sign four more ahead of training camp (SF Gate)

Indy Eleven to submit a MLS expansion bid (SI)

Detroit is having issues nailing down its potential stadium site (CBS Detroit)

However, Detroit will get their bid in on time (Detroit News)

Charlotte will be bidding as well, even with city involvement in their stadium proposal up in the air (WBTV)

A look at the stadium proposal process and seeking public funding (Guardian)

International

All the latest craziness on transfer day (SB Nation)

Andy Carroll had to Google some of his teammates when he signed with Liverpool (Daily Mail)

Local

Youth from Savannah joining the Atlanta United academy (WTOC)