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Commissioner Don Garber confident over MLS' expansion to 28 teams

MLS commissioner Don Garber has confirmed St Louis and Sacramento are "front runners" to be given Major League Soccer franchises
Image: MLS commissioner Don Garber is confident in the league's expansion to 28 teams

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber is confident the league can successfully expand to 28 teams.

The 2017 MLS season is set to get underway this weekend - live on Sky Sports - with the introduction of two new teams to the league, Atlanta United and Minnesota United.

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The new MLS season kicks off this week, watch LA Galaxy v FC Dallas at 9pm on Saturday, Sky Sports 2

The addition of two more teams takes MLS' overall league total to 22 clubs for the 2017 season, with that number expected to rise to 24 by 2018 with the arrival of Los Angeles FC and David Beckham's Miami franchise.

With plans to add four more teams to the league by 2022, Garber is confident that such expansion can only be positive for the development of football in America.

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"We've just announced we're going to add four new teams to go from 24 to 28 teams which would be the largest professional division one league in the world," Garber told Sky Sports News HQ.

Former Barcelona head coach Tata Martino will be in charge of MLS newcomers Atlanta United this season
Image: Former Barcelona head coach Tata Martino will be in charge of MLS newcomers Atlanta United this season

"12 cities from around the United States have submitted bids over the last 30 days and great cities where we don't have teams like San Diego, St Louis, Sacramento, Nashville.

"These are really big cities with millions of people and they don't have a division one team to call their own with their own stadium.

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"We will be a 28 team league and I think that will be it for us.

"We've got to settle into the right format, build more value and popularity within our markets. Get those stadiums up and operating and that's going to take many years to manage and roll out effectively."

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With the new MLS season kicking off on Saturday, Garber is excited about the storylines the 2017 season will deliver.

"We've got a lot of new stories coming up," he said. "We've got new teams in Atlanta, in Minnesota and a new stadium in Orlando.

"This is a league which continues to grow and we like to think of it as a league of choice for players and fans."

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