The atmosphere at Sacramento Republic for the Open Cup semifinal was electric.
Total attendance was 11,500... a sell out in Sacramento. That's probably because it was a semi-final and they were playing an MLS team, right? Wrong. Sacramento averages ~9,700 a game in the second division! Obviously MLS knows that Sacramento is a hot soccer city; which has led to a ton of speculation to whether Sacramento Republic will become the next expansion team. For a variety of reasons, MLS has passed on Sacramento, but may now return. MLS has done a great job expanding to cities with a proven club history and culture - but it seems like they are now in between two minds when deciding between grass roots and big markets. With MLS indecision should come opportunity. Sacramento have clearly established themselves as a viable MLS club with a large backing... why not let them earn their shot at MLS? Especially if there are stadium or ownership issues. MLS needs 2 more teams to get to 32. This would be perfect alignment in a country the size of the United States, with 16 teams in each conference. Let's stop letting ownership groups buy into the league, and let teams earn their spot. Right now if you were promote 2 teams from USL, then San Antonio and Louisville would be the next MLS sides. Both places that have the right infrastructure already... and Louisville averages over 9,000 fans per game. Imagine the atmosphere's and attendances with MLS promotion on the line? New Mexico United already average over 10,000 fans per game! Not only would promotion and relegation strengthen MLS, but it'd also strengthen USL just by the high stakes nature. Cmon Garber, let's do this right!