Miami seemed the favorite for an expansion team until the whole deal unraveled in a matter of days. After Atlanta and Montreal had pulled out, the field was narrow enough already but now it looks as if at least one team is all but a shoo-in.
Portland's city council approved a plan that would clear the way for a new stadium. That last part, the "new stadium," is what MLS likes to hear. If Portland can build a stadium, the city will almost certainly nab one of two expansion bids.
All along, I've been a believer in Portland. I have no connection to the city, have never been to Oregon, but I feel that a presence in the city and another West Coast team would not be a bad thing. With two SoCal teams, San Jose, Seattle and Portland, we've got a nice little West Coast thing going on here. Add Real Salt Lake and Colorado and the league will have a solid presence West of the Rockies.
(Okay, not sure if the Rapids are technically east or west of the Rocky Mountains, but you get my point)
If Portland gets a team and if the team is named the Timbers, we'd have an instant rivalry. Seattle and Portland have a long-standing rivalry and this would add to that. We've seen how great passion rivalries can bring out, and this would add to the benefits of a Portland-based club.
St. Louis also appears to be picking up some steam but for now it seems a toss-up between St. Louis, Vancouver and Ottawa for the other spot alongside Portland as the league's 17th and 18th clubs.