St. Louis Soccer Fans Now Playing Waiting Game on MLS Decision

Columbus/Austin news last week one more challenge to overcome

October 17, 2018 - 11:21 am

The highs of last week's "MLS 4 The Lou" announcement by the Taylor family have worn off and now, the waiting game has begun.

St. Louis is vying with the likes of Detroit, Sacramento, San Diego, and Las Vegas for one of two brand-new Major League Soccer franchises. However, it appears a new leading candidate emerged late last week: Austin, Texas.

Related: McDermott: St. Louis Can Answer MLS' Expansion Questions

A tentative deal has been struck to keep the Columbus Crew, long rumored to be moving to Austin, in Columbus. The Cleveland Browns ownership group would purchase a controlling stake in the team from Precourt Sports Ventures. In turn, League President Don Garber announced the Precourt group has been given rights to a future Austin, Texas franchise, and a 20,000 seat stadium in North Austin has been approved by city officials there.

So where does that leave St. Louis? Local soccer expert Bill McDermott says he's been asking around, including during Saturday's playoff-clinching win for STL FC at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton.

"There is nothing definite whether Austin is a viable candidate for teams No. 27 and No. 28," McDermott said.

The only thing that is certain about St. Louis' chances after the Austin that nothing is certain.

"The league is being deliberately guarded with any sort of comment about that," McDermott said. "But Andy Taylor said we expect an answer in months as opposed to years."

Related: New Hope for MLS Expanding to St. Louis

That last statement was made by Taylor during last week's announcement. McDermott says he made it because St. Louis' challengers for a franchise are also formidable: Detroit, Sacramento, San Diego, and Las Vegas. However, McDermott feels St. Louis still at the top of the list for three reasons that MLS has always valued:

  1. Solid ownership group
  2. Viable stadium plan
  3. An existing soccer culture

McDermott believes no other city, including Austin, checks those boxes quite like St. Louis does.