Garber: MLS will add two teams by 2011


TORONTO — Major League Soccer plans to add two more franchises, and at least one of them could be in Canada.

A day after MLS commissioner Don Garber said the league’s goal was to reach 18 teams, the league’s board of governors approved the addition of two teams by 2011.

The MLS currently has 14 teams, with Seattle becoming the 15th team next season and Philadelphia joining in 2010.

Garber confirmed the potential expansion teams for the two remaining spots are Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Atlanta, Las Vegas, a second team in the New York area, Portland, and St. Louis.

Montreal Impact president Joey Saputo has said he will bid on a franchise for the city, while the MLS has met with Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk to discuss a possible team in that city.

Phoenix Suns star Steve Nash of Victoria is interested in being part of an ownership group in Vancouver, home of the Whitecaps, the team his brother Martin plays for. Nash was in Toronto for the 2008 MLS all-star game Thursday, and met with league officials.

The Whitecaps called a press conference for Friday.

Both the Impact and the Whitecaps play in the United Soccer Leagues first division.

The news of possible expansion into Canada comes following the entrance of Toronto FC, Canada’s first MLS expansion team, into the league in 2007.

League officials agreed Thursday to work with Toronto FC owners Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., as well as potential expansion candidates, to develop national commercial revenue streams to support expansion into Canada.

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