On Feb. 5, 2014, David Beckham strode onto a stage in a smart suit snapping blithely in a tropical Miami breeze. With MLS commissioner Don Garber beaming like the moon-showered plains of the Masai Mara and Miami mayor Carlos Gimenez on his other side, Beckham helped announce that his new Miami team – whatever it was called – was to be the league’s 22nd team. Expansion had come to Miami a second time, or so it seemed.
The twists and turns since then are too innumerable to count, but it has never really seemed as though Miami was ready for Major League Soccer. The stadium deal has whipsawed from an inevitability to an impossibility, but the newest news this week is not particularly cheery.
After Chivas USA folded, Atlanta United, LAFC and Minnesota United were all confirmed in Miami’s place while its stadium deal is either ironed or left to flail under the placid waters of the Biscayne Bay. That is 21, 22 and 23. It appears for now that Garber’s round number of 24 teams by 2020 is missing by one.
Or maybe not, says Sacramento. Maybe we are the one.