Cincinnati area officials pressure MLS on expansion team decision

Ohio county officials are putting pressure on Major League Soccer to decide whether FC Cincinnati will join the league.

Hamilton County commissioners voted on Wednesday to renew an agreement to pay for a 1,000-car garage at the team's future stadium through Feb. 28.

The board's original agreement expired Dec. 31. The agreement was extended at the request of FC Cincinnati, which says it expects to hear from the league before March.

MLS previously said it would name two cities for expansion teams by the end of 2017. It selected Nashville to take the 25th spot in December, then pushed the decision on the next spot -- between finalists Cincinnati, Sacramento and Detroit -- into the new year.

MLS commissioner Don Garber confirmed two weeks ago that the team would be announced before the league's new season starts on March 3.

Hamilton County Commission president Todd Portune told the Cincinnati Enquirer it's important a decision is made "sooner than later."

"We all agree this process has gone on for a while," Portune said. "We expected a decision would be made sometime in early or mid-December. That did not happen."

FC Cincinnati president Jeff Berding told WVXU he was aware the delay was a concern for local officials.

"I certainly acknowledge that the delay is causing a lot of folks including our elected officials and neighborhoods and those of us with FCC some frustration," Berding said.