It was no surprise to see MLS commissioner Don Garber during the pregame for the USMNT vs Serbia friendly. It's not just San Diego as a new market without an NFL team. It's the stadium without a primary tenant. It's the plan for a new stadium built without public money. As the NY Times' Michael Snyder covered over the weekend, it's also a metro area with a pro soccer option just across the border.
Club Tijuana's cross-border marketing probably isn't worrying to MLS or a San Diego investor-operator. That doesn't make it a non-issue. It does make it a unique situation. As the NY Times' article makes clear, there's no long-standing soccer tradition just south of the border in Tijuana. They're building as they go, just like an MLS expansion team would in San Diego.
The last time MLS seriously considered San Diego, Club Tijuana didn't exist. That earlier expansion bid was undone by the 1999 MLS All-Star Game. San Diego hosted. Few people showed. MLS moved on under new management.
Over 17 years later, San Diego has a lot going for it as an MLS city. So do others, but MLS might already be in a position where they need as close to a sure thing as possible. That makes San Diego a solid choice, even with a fan base that can choose a different league in another country.
Also in MLS expansion news, The Tampa Times' Robert Trigaux looks at soccer's big play in St Pete. MLSsoccer.com's Matthew Doyle on Sunday's scoreless draw between the USMNT and Serbia. SI.com's Brian Straus has three takeaways from the game. FC Yahoo's Leander Schaerlaeckens on what the USMNT showed in the draw with Serbia.
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