Major League Soccer announced the four finalist cities for two expansion clubs Wednesday and Phoenix did not make the cut.
Phoenix was among 12 cities being considered to join the MLS. The league announced Wednesday that Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento are finalists for two expansion clubs.
Owners and officials representing the expansion markets will make presentations to MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the league's expansion committee on Dec. 6 in New York.
The next two MLS expansion teams will be selected before the end of the year. Two more expansion teams will be picked later.
In 2015, MLS announced plans to expand to 28 teams. Los Angeles Football Club begins play in 2018, becoming the league's 23rd team. Discussions continue for a MLS expansion team in Miami. Two of the four finalists announced Wednesday will be teams 25 and 26.
Though Wednesday may been seen as a setback in Phoenix Rising FC's journey to becoming a major league team, a tweet from Phoenix Rising's Vice President of Marketing and Sales Sam Doerr makes the franchise seem hopeful.November 29, 2017
Phoenix and the other seven cities (Charlotte, Indianapolis, Raleigh, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis and Tampa Bay), could contend for slots 27 and 28 in the new year.
And it looks like Phoenix will be on the radar, according to a tweet from ESPN soccer columnist Carlisle.
They would be, but the additional time allows other cities - most notably Phoenix - to catch up. https://t.co/MUIkCGPdJz— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) November 29, 2017
Phoenix's highest level soccer team, originally founded as Arizona United SC in 2014, rebranded as Phoenix Rising for the 2017 season under new management. The team also signed striker Didier Drogba, best known for his time playing for London's Chelsea FC.