MLS chief Mark Abbott backs St. Louis ownership group for expansion team

Video via MLS: Garber visits FC Cincinnati (1:23)

MLS Commissioner Don Garber visited USL club FC Cincinnati and attended a town hall focused on MLS expansion. (1:23)

Major League Soccer president Mark Abbott has confirmed that prospective MLS ownership group SC STL is the only party being considered should an expansion team be awarded to the city of St. Louis.

The Missouri ownership group announced last month formal plans to bring an expansion franchise to St. Louis, as well as build a new downtown stadium.

And last week a second interested group, Foundry St. Louis, offered to join forces with SC STL and pledge $80 million toward the expected $200 million cost of the arena.

However, Abbott told the St. Louis Post-Distpatch that SC STL would be the sole recipient of an expansion team.

"We have worked with SC STL for over a year and we vet ownership groups very thoroughly," Abbott told the outlet. "We have great confidence in their commitment and the capacity they have to fulfill their obligations under what's required by the league."

St. Louis moved among the top contenders to join MLS in January when the NFL's Rams decided to move to Los Angeles earlier this year.

SC STL, led by Paul Edgerley, has plans to acquire Saint Louis FC, which plays in USL.

Of Foundry leaders, Abbott told the paper they "have been very general about ideas they have without any specifics or a plan or anything that really would give us confidence or belief it was something they could execute on or be successful with," before hailing the league's "very specific and extensive discussions" with SC STL.

MLS commissioner Don Garber visited the city last year and said in April that the league believes St. Louis is "MLS-ready" and could play as early as 2020.