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MLS to add 2 expansion teams, bringing total to 18 by 2011

TORONTO -- Major League Soccer intends to add two expansion teams in time for the 2011 season, boosting membership to 18.

The announcement was made Thursday following a meeting of the MLS board of governors, and hours before the MLS All-Stars faced English Premier League team West Ham United at Toronto's BMO Field.

MLS, which currently has 14 teams, has already announced expansion teams for Seattle, beginning in 2009, and Philadelphia in 2010.

League commissioner Don Garber provided updates on prospective expansion cities to the board during Thursday's meeting. Those being considered include Atlanta, Las Vegas, Montreal, a second team for New York, Ottawa, Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, British Columbia.

In a release, the league said it would provide specific details on the expansion application process within the next seven days.

In his annual address Wednesday, Garber indicated that St. Louis, a city he called "one of the birthplaces of soccer in America," is a strong candidate for expansion.

"There's a lot of support there and we've got to be successful in the Midwest," Garber said.

The league, now in its 13th season, has teams in Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, two in Los Angeles, New York, New England, Salt Lake City, San Jose, Toronto and Washington D.C.

Phoenix Suns star Steve Nash, who is Canadian, attended the All-Star game to meet with league executives. He is part of a bid to bring an MLS team to Vancouver.

Montreal and Vancouver already have teams in the United Soccer League.


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