When it comes to Major League Soccer expansion, Orlando City SC simply will not go away, seemingly until they're officially announced as the league's newest addition.
We know they've got the budding fanbase, a superior USL PRO on-field product and a deep-pocketed owner, but they may have just added their greatest ace in the hole to date.
The Orlando club announced on Wednesday that Brett Lashbrook, former special assistant to MLS Commissioner Don Garber, has joined the Orlando City front office and will spearhead the organization's push to securing a place at the MLS table.
Lashbrook will be tasked with negotiating the expansion agreement with MLS, which will likely be contingent upon his other major duty: getting a new soccer-specific stadium built in Orlando.
Orlando City aren't beating around the bush, either. The release announcing the news contained – count them – 13 mentions of MLS. Thirteen.
The attendance numbers for Orlando City continue to be truly impressive for a club at the USL PRO level. The year was already going swimmingly when 9,589 fans — a season high — saw Orlando City's 4-0 destruction of the Dayton Dutch Lions on April 27. The lowest turnout for a league game this year was 6,351, which would roughly translate to a 20,000-seat MLS stadium hosting 13,000 fans for a league match.
And the team itself sits atop the USL PRO standings, four points clear of second-place Harrisburg.
Could Lashbrook be the man, given his connections to Commissioner Garber and recent experience with the New York City FC expansion negotiations, that puts Orlando City SC over the top and makes the third-year club's dream of MLS in Central Florida by 2015 a reality?
Time will only tell, but Lashbrook could prove to be the ringer that's been missing from of the OCSC camp.
Let us know what you think in the comment section below. Is Orlando a good bet for MLS side No. 21?