There's been a lot of speculation recently about which cities offer the best mix of market, facilities, owners and fanbase for Major League Soccer's twentieth club. Commonly mooted names are New York, Miami, Atlanta, but I know that none of these are right. Even dark horses like San Antonio, Nashville, and Saint Louis fall short of the mark. There's only one city that has the chops to handle this milestone MLS franchise.

Scranton, PA.

Now before you laugh, let's look at this objectively. Scanton may seem like a small city, and indeed, it would be the least populous in MLS, but it's by no means a backwater, boasting a Metro population of about 550,000 (And the Lehigh Valley, home to over 800,000, is just an hour away). Its smaller size and industrial background would add an interesting element not seen in the usual MLS cities, which tend to be more cosmopolitan and built up. Eurosnobs will love the parallel to the northern English factory towns. Just tell them it's "America's Blackpool."

For the more practical minded fans, have a look at a map. Roughly two hours away from New York and Philadelphia, Scranton has instant rivalries, and is within reasonable driving distance of six other MLS cities. Scranton is no alien to soccer, either. Early American soccer powerhouse Bethlehem Steel played just an hour south of the city. That kind of history is invaluable when setting up a new team. Also enticing is the absence of any other Major League sports teams in the area.

The success of NBC's "The Office" has helped put Scranton on the cultural map, as well. Vice President and acknowledged soccer fan Joe Biden was born in Scranton, and could provide essential political clout to any hopes for public money, as well as a famous face to help win over residents.

So there you have it. The perfect candidate for MLS expansion. Maybe we can even get Dunder-Mifflin to sponsor them.
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