OPINION: Welcome to MLS, Sacramento

MLS Commissioner Don Garber delivered the league’s understatement of the year Monday afternoon when he said, “I know you were patient,” to Sacramento soccer fans.

The setting was Republic FC’s MLS expansion announcement, which made Sacramento’s team the 29th club in the growing league. When the Sacramento is set to join MLS in 2022 the club will be a decade old.

Before FC Cincinnati could set USL attendance records (or even existed), that was Sacramento’s job.

In 2014, more than 20,000 fans attended the teams’s home opener. And yet, when FCC became the 26th MLS expansion team in May 2018, there was Sacramento, watching another team bypassing it to join the first division.

That’s what makes this expansion announcement so special.

Every FC Cincinnati supporter would’ve preferred their club to join MLS earlier and be among the first in this latest expansion rush. After all, the expansion process and announcement took longer than anyone ever expected – about six months longer. And when it finally happened, there was unrivaled joy in passion.

Ten months later, there was the Orange and Blue chopping the Portland Timbers down, 3-0, in the very first MLS game in Nippert Stadium. Then there were the #HellisReal Derby matches. There were the memories fans could only dream about finally coming true.

Throughout all of this, Sacramento continued waiting – patiently.

So, when Garber held up a maroon scarf and welcomed Sacramento FC Republic into MLS, it was another reminder that passionate supporters can create a massive movement with absolute faith. We saw what that led to in Cincinnati.

Now, it’s exciting to see what can happen next in the California capital.