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How good are Nashville's chances of landing that Major League Soccer team?


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Nashville will make its final pitch this week for a Major League Soccer team and a leading soccer magazine says the city’s chances of scoring that team look pretty good.

Four finalist cities will make their case Wednesday in New York. Cincinnati, Detroit, and Sacramento are also in the running.

Ridge Mahoney is senior editor with Soccer America magazine.

“I think Nashville is poised to do very well. MLS has been impressed by the ownership group, they have a great stadium plan, which has been backed politically. They look like a very, very viable addition to MLS.”

Pro Soccer teams have a poor record in southern cities. Early teams in Tampa and Miami failed. But Mahoney says the more recent success of new franchise teams in Orlando and Atlanta are helping Nashville’s bid.

He says some soccer fans think MLS should slow its expansion. But Mahoney does not share the major concern of skeptics, that new teams will have trouble finding quality athletes.

“Expansion some people may think is going to fast. They’re worried about dilution of quality as you see in most other sports when there’s a lot of expansion, but being the global game, soccer does not quite have the same problem in terms of getting enough quality players to fulfill a pro league.”

One possible wrench in Nashville’s soccer team gears; last week a lawsuit was filed contesting the city’s plan for a stadium at the fairgrounds. On Friday the city asked the presiding judge to dismiss that case.