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It’s official: Next MLS expansion city is Orlando!

Nov 19, 2013, 8:25 PM EDT

A growing fanbase excites McDonough as a huge challenge lies ahead. A growing fanbase excites McDonough as a huge challenge lies ahead.

Major League Soccer is back in the American southeast, and is growing faster than ever, with a second new franchise announced within the last six months.

MLS commissioner Don Garber made it official on Tuesday night – it’s hardly been classified information lately – that Orlando City SC will come aboard as franchise No. 21.

New York City FC, announced as No. 20 in late May. Both new clubs are set to begin playing in 2015.

Garber was in Orlando for Tuesday’s big announcement, along with owners Phil Rawlins, Brendan Flood and Brazilian businessman Flavio Augusto da Silva, the big money behind Orlando’s aggressive efforts to get on board with domestic soccer’s top tier league.

The overriding significance here: This gets Major League Soccer back into the American southeast, which has been a league goal for years. (Almost since the dark day in late 2001 when the league was forced to shut down clubs in Tampa and Miami due to flagging interest and ownership issues.)

MLS will hold a national media teleconference Wednesday morning (11 a.m. ET) to talk at more length about Orlando City SC and the move back into an underrepresented part of the country. Garber, Rawlins and da Silva will all take part in the call.

Check back for more later at ProSoccerTalk on Orlando now being aboard as MLS No. 21.

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