Major League Soccer hopes to pick a 30th team by the end of the year.
“San Diego and Las Vegas are the most likely,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said Wednesday during a kickoff event at the league’s new television studio built together with Apple TV.
“The 30th team will come at some point soon,” Garber said. “We’d like to get that announced by the end of the year.”
He mentioned Detroit; Phoenix; Sacramento, California; and Tampa, Florida, as other expansion possibilities.
St. Louis, the league’s 29th team, opens play Saturday at Austin.
Garber did not rule out expanding beyond 30 teams.
Speaking ahead of MLS Cup last November, Garber said that he hoped to announce the location for the 30th team in the first half of 2023, adding that he was in active discussions with representatives from both Las Vegas and San Diego.
Previously Garber had cited Las Vegas as the frontrunner to host the league’s next team with ambitions to build a stadium right off the iconic strip, through prospective owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris. The pair are co-owners of Aston Villa, while Edens is also a co-owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.
However, San Diego has emerged as a serious rival with Garber saying he was a “big believer” in the southern California city.
Last year the San Diego Wave launched as an expansion team in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and in September broke the league’s single-game attendance record with a sellout crowd of 32,000 in a win over local rivals Angel City FC.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.