Report: MLS to award Orlando expansion franchise on Nov. 19

Wednesday November 6th, 2013

Orlando City fans Orlando City fans will reportedly be able to officially celebrate their club's status as an MLS franchise in a couple of weeks. (Mark Sims/Icon SMI)

It has been a foregone conclusion that Orlando would become Major League Soccer's next expansion city, especially after the recent vote approving funds for a new downtown stadium, and apparently the date for the city's official arrival in the league is set.

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that MLS will award its 21st expansion franchise to Orlando on Nov. 19 -- during the international break in between the first and second legs of the conference finals -- with a public celebration in the works for the landmark announcement.

USL PRO club Orlando City SC had its officials stayed mum on the topic to The Sentinel, with Brett Lashbrook, a former MLS league executive who was hired by the club, saying:  "We have zero comment. Nothing has been finalized. We remain in negotiations with MLS. At this point we have no comment."

STRAUS: Q&A with Orlando City president Phil Rawlins

The stadium vote conducted at the end of last October figured to be the final hurdle in bringing MLS back to Florida, though, with Orlando City SC president Phil Rawlins telling in the immediate aftermath of the successful vote that the club would aim to start play in MLS in 2015. The first half of the club's home games would be played at the Citrus Bowl before the new downtown, soccer-specific stadium is completed and ready for action. Prior to that, though, comes the expansion announcement celebration, which appears to be in the offing.

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