Report: Tampa Bay to miss out on MLS expansion this time?

Rowdies fans wave flags ahead of the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
Rowdies fans wave flags ahead of the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
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It doesn’t look like Major League Soccer will be expanding to Tampa Bay this time around, according to a report this week from Sports Illustrated.

Two new franchises will be selected from among Sacramento, Nashville and Cincinnati, according to Grant Wahl from Sports Illustrated, who said the decision will be made at the MLS meeting Dec. 14.

"From talking to several insiders, I’m being told the two expansion teams will likely come from a group of three cities that includes Sacramento, Nashville and Cincinnati," Wahl said.

The MLS announced plans last December to identify its next two expansion teams by late 2017, with those clubs beginning play by 2020. The MLS said it would then develop a timeline for the addition of teams Nos. 27 and 28.

Tampa Bay Rowdies owner Bill Edwards committed to $80 million (plus cost overruns) in improvements to Al Lang Stadium as part of the expansion proposal, which in May received the support of 87 percent of St. Petersburg voters.

"We’re in constant communication with MLS," Edwards said in a statement Thursday. "We feel very good about our chances. My objective is to get a franchise whether it is the top two or the top four."

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