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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch calls for promotion and relegation in MLS

New York Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch says he supports the introduction of promotion and relegation into Major League Soccer.

As MLS is looking to announce expansion teams in the near future, calls have increased from some fans -- and owners of lower-division clubs -- for the league to do away with its closed system.

And speaking to Taylor Twellman in the ESPN FC Boot Room, Marsch backed the concept of an open system that would encourage owners to continually reinvest in their clubs.

Asked if there was one thing he would change in MLS, Marsch said: "I would like to see promotion-relegation. Because I think it just raises the stakes and gives so much hope to some of these smaller clubs.

"We were just in Cincinnati; we saw what happened there. And I know that investors put a lot of money into organizations to be part of MLS.

"But they should have to continue to put money into it and invest in the right areas and do the right things to continue to be in MLS."

The Red Bulls needed extra time to advance to the U.S. Open Cup final last week over FC Cincinnati, a USL club that had already beaten two MLS teams in the cup this season.

And Marsch had the highest praise for the fans in Cincinnati, who are currently one of 12 locations vying for four future expansion slots in MLS.

"It's the best American soccer crowd I've ever seen -- I've even seen," he said. "Our team went around and we clapped to them after the game because it was an honor to play in front of them.

"It was obviously a big moment for our team but the energy, all of the city and of that game was just phenomenal."

Marsch also cited the willingness of some owners to invest in their clubs as the reason behind a shift that has seen Eastern Conference teams come into the forefront after years of dominance from the West.

Toronto FC, New York City FC and the Chicago Fire had three of the four biggest payrolls entering this season, and as of Friday those clubs also have the best records in MLS.

"The reason why the West was so good was because the clubs there were very ambitious," Marsch said. "I think the ambitiousness has grown with the clubs in the East.

"So it's led to them going out and getting more big-time players and spending more money, on certain franchises. But to have such a dramatic shift has been very surprising."

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