A season of speculation ended when St Louis City FC became the 29th official MLS franchise for 2023. They will play as an expansion team from the start of the new term and be based in the Western Conference.
We’ve already seen the details of the St Louis logo. Their primary badge is a red and blue shield, with lines depicting the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. While 2023 is yet to get underway, much speculation exists about who will join St Louis in 2024 and beyond. What potential teams, and their logos, will appear as part of the 30th MLS franchise?
San Antonio FC
Having formed in 2016, the roster became USL runners-up a year later before landing their first championship last term. Their logo is striking on a black background with exploding stars and diagonal lines in white, gray, and red.
San Antonio has rarely been spoken about as a potential expansion team, but that would all change if they were to repeat their USL triumph in 2023. Early signs are positive in this respect, as early USL markets from Sports Betting Online put San Antonio up among the favorites.
This is an excellent site to follow the fortunes of any team on this list.
It’s one of how to follow the USL, but who are the teams looking to join San Antonio in the hunt for Major League Soccer Recognition?
It’s a fairly plain design with the Phoenix in red on a black background. The shield has a fringe of yellow, but will we see this logo in MLS in the future?
Phoenix Rising was among a number of teams tipped to be accepted on the expansion program before St Louis City’s progression. They were USL Champions in 2019, but last season was poor as the team finished in tenth place in the Western Conference.
The crucial factor in Phoenix’s favor is the infrastructure. The team has solid backing and has former Ivory Coast international Didier Drogba in their corner. Plans to build a new stadium in Tempe, Arizona, may also prove crucial.
If it hadn’t been for the financial constraints caused by external factors over the last two years, Sacramento Republic might already have played in the MLS. Plans have been in place to promote the team to the top division, but they’ve had to withdraw.
When finances stabilize, it seems likely that Sacramento will be back on MLS’ radar. Their logo is a timeless classic: A big red star on a beige background with a prowling grizzly.
In the 2022 USL season, Sacramento Republic finished in a creditable fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Colorado Springs Switchbacks ultimately ended their playoff run in the Conference semi-finals.
Tampa Bay Rowdies
The logo may be basic with Tampa Bay Rowdies in green and two yellow stars above. It’s all about the classic green and yellow with this historic team.
Tampa Bay already has a competitive team, and they should have a capable roster if they do make the step up. In 2022, the Rowdies finished in third place in the Eastern Conference before going down by a solitary goal to Louisville FC in the Conference Finals.
Of course, like all prospective expansion teams, Tampa Bay would look to enhance its roster with new arrivals if they were to make it into the top flight.
There are other USL teams who will feel they are under the MLS’ radar, but these four look to be the leading contenders for 2024 and beyond.
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