FC Cincinnati pull in crowds as MLS continues its knack for expansion

The Orange and Blue are the latest expansion team to become a success with fans. Major League Soccer appears to have done its research

Before Atlanta United, expansion teams in Major League Soccer were given something of a free pass. Between 1997, when the Chicago Fire became the division’s first expansion franchise, and 2016, when The Five Stripes entered the fray, only one expansion side (Seattle Sounders) made the play-offs in their first season. It was outlandish to expect anything more than that from a team typically assembled from scratch in the space of weeks. All that changed with Atlanta, though.

While some teams are still waiting to break their MLS Cup duck (looking at you, New York Red Bulls), Atlanta United managed to win the title in just two seasons. Not only that, they did so having triggered a soccer awakening in the city, drawing record-breaking crowds. Now, all MLS expansion teams will, fairly or unfairly, be measured by what Tata Martino, Miguel Almiron, Josef Martinez et al achieved.

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