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Detroit City FC not surprised, concerned about MLS expansion reveal

May 29, 2018; Cincinnati, OH, USA; FC Cincinnati president and general manager Jeff Berding reacts as fans gather for the Cincinnati MLS expansion team announcement during a viewing party at Fountain Square. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The owners of Detroit City FC agreed a while ago not to worry about things outside their control. So Major League Soccer’s announcement Tuesday that they have awarded Cincinnati an expansion club, instead of Detroit or Sacramento, has no direct bearing on DCFC.

The announcement was met with more of a shoulder shrug than anything else for DCFC co-owner Sean Mann.

It’s unclear whether the Detroit MLS group of Dan Gilbert, Tom Gores and the Ford family will continue to pursue future MLS expansion.

“Going back two-plus years now when Gores and Gilbert’s camp announced they were pursuing MLS, it certainly had an impact on us, in terms of our relationship with sponsors or even the attention it put on soccer,” Mann said. “We realized a while back that we control what we control. That’s certainly not a process that we have any bearing on. We’ve just focused on continually growing our club and navigating these waters. What happens today or even what happens whenever (MLS) announces the next two teams, doesn’t really have a bearing on our day-to-day decisions.

”We’re focused on creating a very unique, sporting experience here in Detroit and even in U.S. soccer.“

Mann said the announcement by MLS to award Cincinnati an expansion team didn’t come as a surprise.

”MLS has been indicating this would be the next team announced for a while now,“ Mann said. ”If anything, the surprise was that it has taken this long to make the announcement.

“That being said, they said they would announce their two other (expansion) selections at some point in 2019. I gotta think Detroit is still a front-runner for those last two spots, whenever those are announced.”

MLS commissioner Don Garber said while Detroit remains in the mix for one of the two expansion franchises to be awarded for the 2022 season, the proposal to play at Ford Field “set them back.”

DCFC lost, 4-1, to FC Cincinnati in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup on May 16. On Sunday, Le Rouge defeated FC Indiana, 11-0, on Sunday in Lafayette, Ind.

The teams meet against on Friday at Keyworth Stadium. DCFC’s supporters group, the Northern Guard, is raising money for the Ruth Ellis Center through pledges for every goal DCFC scores this month. The The Ruth Ellis Center mission statement is “to provide short and long-term residential safe space and support services for runaway, homeless and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender, and questioning youth.”

Mann is also overseeing the opening of busy overseeing DCFC’s new indoor soccer center, which opens in September in Detroit, and a bar/restaurant.

2018 the Detroit Free Press

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