Orlando City cleared the next hurdle in their quest to become a Major League Soccer franchise on Monday, and perhaps the finish line is in sight.
The City of Orlando Board of Commissioners voted through the approval of funds for a new downtown, multi-purpose soccer stadium on Monday, the next-to-last piece of legislation needed to secure a new home for the USL PRO club. The vote was unanimous among the six commissioners as well as Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer.
The biggest and most crucial vote comes in two weeks' time when the Orange County Commissioners vote on October 22 for the final stage in completion of stadium funding.
“This is obviously a very big step toward our goal of bringing MLS [to Orlando],” Orlando City president Phil Rawlins said in a club statement. “I am delighted to have the city behind us so we can now focus on the second vote that is only two weeks away.”
Orlando City are trying to secure the rest of the funding for an $85 million soccer-specific stadium in downtown Orlando that would be owned by the city. Monday's vote accounts for $20 million of that cost.
If the county approves the plan later this month, Orlando City would be able to enter into final negotiations with MLS to award an expansion team to Central Florida. MLS plans to add four more teams by 2020.
Orlando City also announced on Monday that their current home — the Florida Citrus Bowl — will play host to a friendly between the US women's national team and Brazil on Nov. 10.