Aztex Move To Orlando; Aim For MLS

Austin had a life span comparable to Paul the Octopus. This is just not right.

The Austin Aztex are no more. The club, which built a sizable support base the past couple seasons, and lost to Montreal in the quarterfinals of the USSF Division Two playoffs, recently announced that they are moving to Orlando, and will be renamed Orlando City SC.

First, I want to send my condolences to the Aztex faithful. As someone who has lost three of his favorite teams (Quebec Nordiques, Hartford Whalers and Montreal Expos) to relocation, I know how it feels. It hurts. It hurts bad. But, on the bright side, I think Austin can and will support a second division side again soon.

Regarding Orlando, this club might make a big splash in the American soccer scene. The club wants to be in MLS within three to four years. This is extremely ambitious, and it will certainly be interesting to keep an eye on this.

The 17th and 18th teams in the MLS will be Vancouver and Portland for the 2011 season. The 19th will be Montreal. Regarding the 20th club, there is a belief that it will be a second New York club, such as the recently resurrected New York Cosmos. Just to compete with a New York will be exceedingly difficult. Keep in mind, San Antonio also has a strong bid (surely to further upset Aztex supporters) and Omaha and Detroit are also some other cities that have been mentioned.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber wants more than 20 clubs in the MLS, as he has been adamant to make the MLS as much like the other major American sports leagues as possible. But for now, the cap seems to be at 20. A whole series of posts can be written about why the MLS needs to keep it at that number, but that would be getting a bit off-topic for this post.

As much as it is a bit of a kick in the pants to have the Cosmos back in the American soccer scene, it seems farfetched that any city will be able to beat out a second New York club for the bid. But, best of luck to Orlando. Maybe Stoke City owner and OCSC head Phil Rawlins will be able to pull a rabbit out of his hat.

Orlando will start as a member of the third tier, but could be moving to the MLS in a few seasons.

Until then, OCSC will play in the USL Pro League, which will be the third tier of American soccer for the moment, depending on whether or not the NASL gets sanctioning as the second tier.

Also, many people are upset with the name selection for Orlando’s club. While I understand the reluctance of making the league ‘too European,’ it is more than Europe. The only areas in the world that don’t have some sort of European naming setup are North America, Australia and Korea. Why should North America be different? MLS has made great strides in names over the years, getting rid of the horrible trend of naming American teams after emotions. Orlando’s name is classy and something that supporters can and will get behind. It should be up to the supporters to decide the nickname of their club, not the club’s brass. Good move, Orlando.

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