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Miami Out Of Expansion Race

In a surprising announcement Major League Soccer, FC Barcelona, and Marcelo Claure have jointly agreed that Miami is no longer a candidate to be one of the next two MLS expansion teams.

Notwithstanding, FC Barcelona remains committed to Major League Soccer and the U.S. market and will continue to work with MLS and Marcelo Claure on other soccer-related projects.

“I want to thank both FC Barcelona and Marcelo Claure for the tremendous effort to bring an MLS expansion team to Miami,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “FC Barcelona is one of the best managed and strategically operated sporting clubs in any sport in the World and I appreciate the opportunity that we have had to work with them and Marcelo Claure over the last few months.”

“The U.S market continues to be a priority for FC Barcelona,” said FC Barcelona CEO Joan Oliver. “We will continue our comprehensive game promotion and marketing agreement with Soccer United Marketing and will look for additional ways to strengthen our relationship with MLS and America’s soccer fans.”

“I remain a believer in MLS and the future of professional soccer in America… particularly in South Florida,” said Marcelo Claure. “Although we have not been able to move forward at this time for a wide variety of reasons, I will work with FC Barcelona on other soccer projects in South Florida.”

It looks like this bid fell victim of the global financial crisis. Miami’s exit from the process leaves Vancouver, Portland, St. Louis and Ottawa as the final four candidates for two expansion spots for 2011.

The favorites have to be Portland (natural rivalry with Seattle) and St. Louis (birthplace of U.S. soccer and natural rivalry with Kansas City). agree/Disagre? What cities do you think will get the two expansion slots?