Orlando City SC Set to Become Major League Soccer's 21st Franchise With Approved Funding

By Phil Naegely
dom dwyer
Doug Jones-USA Today Sports

With Orlando City SC‘s funding approved for a downtown stadium by the Orange County Commissioners 5-2, they are on a fast track for Major League Soccer. Barring any roadblocks in their final negotiations with MLS, the league will return back to the South East.

In a meeting that took almost six and a half hours, supporters and some opponents voiced their opinion before the commissioners. In the end, they apporved the use of Tourist Development Tax (TDT) funds for multiple venues, including the soccer specific downtown stadium.

On Monday, MLS President Mark Abbott said in an Orlando Sentinel interview, “We’d like Orlando to be the next expansion team. We have in place a number of factors that we think are needed to be successful, a strong leadership group and a strong fan base. Once we finalize (a stadium plan), we will have a Major League Soccer team here.”

The MLS could award Orlando City a franchise as early as November, and the Lions would being MLS play in Spring 2015. New York City FC is also joining the league in 2015.

Well, the funding for the stadium plan has been approved and finalized. Things are looking up for Orlando City and their fans, and the MLS will finally have a team with purple jerseys. Moreover, with Orlando’s successful efforts it will be interesting where MLS expansion will head next. In the same interview mentioned above, Abbott mentioned that San Antonio, Miami and Atlanta are viable options at this time.

With one South East MLS team, it would be great to see at least one more. Geographical location is key to developing rivalries that help make sports leagues the way they are. Just look at games like the Portland Timbers against the Seattle Sounders.

For now, Orlando fans can celebrate a big victory Tuesday, and are looking forward to the official franchise announcement next month.

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