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Oct 23, 2013

Report: MLS to name Orlando franchise

Nov. 19 is the date Major League Soccer executives are targeting to reveal that Orlando will be the league's 21st franchise, the Orlando Sentinel reported Wednesday.

"We have received confirmation that this date/time works for MLS senior officials," a document from team officials to local government officials said, according to the report. "Assuming it still works for the governor and both mayors — we would like to officially confirm the time with all parties."

Orlando City Soccer officials would not comment on reports of a planned celebratory announcement in downtown Orlando open to fans.

"Nothing has been finalized," Orlando City's Brett Lashbrook told the Sentinel. "We remain in negotiations with MLS. At this point we have no comment."

Last week, after funding for a soccer stadium in downtown Orlando was secured, Orlando City Soccer Club president Phil Rawlins said the club would move quickly to finalize an expansion agreement with MLS with the aim of a 2015 season start.

The Orlando County commission voted 5-2 at the end of October to approve a $94.5 million funding package, including a $20 million allocation for the stadium.

Orlando City has long said that it hoped to begin MLS play in 2015. That's the same season that another MLS expansion team, New York City FC, is slated to begin playing in the league. Rawlins indicated that MLS has no problems with OCSC’s timetable.

"[Starting in 2015], that's our goal, and the league has been supportive of it," he said. "I don’t see any reason why we wouldn't begin MLS play in March of 2015."

ESPN FC reporter Jeff Carlisle contributed to this report.

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