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How expansion MLS teams fared in final season before joining

FC Cincinnati are on the brink of securing a trophy and are chasing USL history.

The soon-to-be MLS franchise can clinch the regular season USL title on Wednesday against the Richmond Kickers. If they win, it'd be their ninth consecutive win, matching a league record, and extend their 19-match unbeaten run.

They still have the playoffs to focus on, but the season for Cincy has gone as good as imaginable and will only improve when they enter MLS play in 2019. How have other clubs fared in their final lower league season before making the jump to MLS?

Seattle Sounders

The Sounders finished their final USL season in 2008 by placing fifth during the regular season and making it to the quarterfinals.

Vancouver Whitecaps

The Whitecaps' final season before MLS was in the one-off USSF Division 2 Pro League, created as a compromise between the USL and NASL. They finished fifth and reached the semifinals. 

Portland Timbers

The Timbers also featured in the USSF Division 2 Pro League in their final lower-league season. They finished fourth, just ahead of the Whitecaps, but were knocked out in the quarterfinals. 

Montreal Impact

Montreal played with the Timbers and Whitecaps in that 2010 season but spent one more year before joining MLS. Their final season was spent in the NASL, where they finished seventh and missed the playoffs.

Orlando City SC

Orlando City tasted frequent success in their four USL seasons, three times winning the regular season title and twice winning the championship. In their final season in 2014, they won the regular season title but lost in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.

Minnesota United

The latest team to transition from the NASL to MLS, the Loons finished fifth in NASL play before joining MLS.

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