After an expansion team just won the MLS Cup, I am writing to tell you that the MLS needs to slow its expansion down now. Recently, MLS officials were high on St. Louis' bid to be the next expansion city, calling it a "front runner" to be the league's 27th team. The MLS Board Of Governers is set to begin an analysis on January 1 into whether or not the league should expand further to 28 teams. Subsequently, this would require proper voting to confirm the league's continued expansion. In fact, the MLS has added 13 teams in the last 12 years and has three more confirmed and slated to start between 2019-2020. However, how much is too much? Let's be brutally honest, Major League Soccer is a development league in comparison to the talent seen in Europe and South America. Dipped further into a barren pool of talent will do nothing but dilute an already watery MLS product. The thought of growth is great and should be the goal of every good CEO, but when is it time to guage what the league really is and work on growing what you have, instead of continuing to add new?
As we saw in the Fraser vs MLS case, Major League Soccer operates as a single entity. Legally, the league is covering all bases. They are going through all of the necessary steps to approve expansion and then selecting cities. Similar to how MLB and NHL approve their expansion with a vote from each team owner, the Board Of Governers must pass all expansion opportunities through their boardroom. There is no law prohibiting the league from expanding so quickly, but it may be in their best interest. Continued rapid expansion will dilute the on-field product and could simultaneously dry out the league's pockets. It would be a shame to see the league run before they learn to walk: there are still many issues they need to fix before considering future expansion.