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Orlando one step closer to becoming 21st MLS club

23 October 8:47 am

Orlando one step closer to becoming 21st MLS club

By Jeff Crandall

Orlando took one step closer to becoming an MLS club Tuesday night as the Orange County Board of Commissioners voted to approve funds for a new multi-purpose, soccer stadium in the town known for mouse ears and making dreams come true.

The club will now enter final negotiations with Major League Soccer to become the league's 21st franchise, with hopes for an official announcement in the next few months.

If it happens that soon, much speculation indicates that Phil Rawlins and Orlando City could enter MLS as early as 2015 along with confirmed expansion New York City FC.

Owned by Stoke City chairman Phil Rawlins, the club has been the cream of the crop in USL-Pro since the franchise to central Florida from Austin in late 2010.

Orlando City won its second USL-Pro championship earlier this year (the first came in 2011) and has also twice won the Commissioner's Cup (USL's form of the Supporter's Shield) in 2011 and 2012.

Of course Chicago Fire fans will remember the Lions best for the two sides meeting in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals in June at Toyota Park. An overall media swell surrounded Orlando City's Cinderella run to the final eight, only to see the Fire come out 5-1 winners in the match.

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