Oh Give Me a Home
The news that United has lost its stadium suitor in PG County will no doubt be greeted with gnashing of teeth, a pre-millennial apocalyptic foreboding which, once descended, can not be lifted by any sort of rational thought. I can understand this frustration. United simply can not continue to pay the rent at RFK with MLS footing the bill, the other Investor/Operators/Owners-in-all-but-name won't simply let that continue. But, well, the absence of a good plan right now doesn't equate to doom and despair and St. Louis United. So when should we worry?
Quite simply, we worry when St. Louis or another non-expansion city announces they are putting a stadium deal on the table and backing it up with legislation. At that point, we can assume the back channel deals have gone down, the pieces are in position, the threat is real. While United can not stagnate in stadium limbo indefinately, MLS also can't risk alienating a reasonably faithful fanbase without a certain stadium deal in place somewhere else. In a way, expansion benefits United, as most potential locales are working with expansion groups for stadiums.
The other concern would, of course, be indications that Mr. MacFarlane intends to sell the team, perhaps to a consortium that thinks they can get a stadium deal together. Most believe V-Mac intended to use the United stadium deal as an entry point into a commercial real-estate development in the greater DC area, and I'm not sure he has an interest in real-estate development in, let's say, St. Louis. His focus is on this region. But he is, ultimately, a business man, and if this area is telling him "no deal that way" then we're a sunk cost, and he knows how to deal with sunk costs.
So, while I'm not concerned now, either of these developments would concern me. Significantly. And that's when I cover myself with a burlap sack and dust off my "THE END IS NEAR" sign.