- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On December 1, 2011
- 1 Comments
- Features, MLS Expansion, Orlando, Orlando Expansion
I think it is fair to say by now that Orlando is in the mix for the MLS expansion race. Maybe not club number 20 but certainly number 21, whenever that may be. Major League Soccer is likely hoping to use other cities – like Orlando – to help push the bid for a second New York club in the league.
But say for a minute that the New York thing doesn’t happen and the league gets tired of waiting. They go a different route and that route could be Orlando. I’ve mentioned before how I like Orlando as a potential MLS city.
Here is where things get slightly tricky. A potential MLS club in Orlando – whenever that may be – will likely play in the aging Citrus Bowl.
“I can see us playing in either [a newly-renovated Citrus Bowl or a soccer-specific stadium],” Rawlins said. “The city and the county has $185 million set aside for the refurbishment of the Citrus Bowl and we’re in talks with them about that. As long as that money is used wisely and well, then I can see us playing in a refurbished Citrus Bowl.”
A renovated Citrus Bowl could be fine, depending on how it is done. Obviously getting a SSS is the key goal for a city like Orlando. Having the stadium plan in place is vital for getting the league’s attention as a serious expansion destination.
Next of course is money and who is funding all of this. For the club’s stand point, you have to wonder if Phil Rawlins and his group have the cash to be a heavy player in the minds of the league’s front office here. They’ve obviously done well in the USL and hopefully after a couple years they continue the upward trend to really make things interesting. But do they really have the cash for all of this? Time will tell.
Orlando City’s owners claim they have signed a non-disclosure agreement with MLS and analyzing business models to bring MLS soccer to Central Florida.
Something may be there after all.