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Orlando in MLS: an exercise in alternate history

Discussion in 'Orlando City SC' started by Orlando Rays, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. Orlando Rays

    Orlando Rays Copy editing is now my hobby.

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    The following is an alternate timeline, exploring what might've happened if a few events in 1994-95 were different. The differing event which starts this timeline is bolded.

    May 1994: Initial aspirations for bringing Major League Soccer to Orlando are scrubbed on concerns over lack of interest.

    June-July 1994: The Citrus Bowl draws over 60,000 fans to each of five matches at the 1994 FIFA World Cup, causing local authorities to reopen pursuit of MLS.

    Some time in late 1994: The Tavistock Group balks at investing in MLS, disagreeing with the business model.

    Late 1994/Early 1995: Rich DeVos, instead of bringing the International Hockey League to Orlando, invests in Major League Soccer, guaranteeing teams in Orlando and Tampa. This event draws in earlier investment for Chicago.

    Early 1996: Major League Soccer launches with 12 teams, including the Orlando Lions and Chicago Fire. The Lions get Dominic Kinnear and Preki among the Inaugural Allocations. The Mutiny get Carlos Valderrama and Roy Lassiter. The Lions are represented in the initial group photo showing off the uniforms by Andrew Restrepo. The Lions colors are their classic red and silver.

    April 6, 1996: The Tampa Bay Mutiny and Orlando Lions open a new branch of The War on I-4 in MLS's inaugural weekend. The Mutiny beat the Lions in penalty kicks after a 2-2 regulation tie, before 74,301 at Tampa Stadium.

    July 1996: Orlando averages 30-40k in its men's and women's matches at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

    September 7, 1996: The Orlando Lions and Tampa Bay Mutiny play a return match at the Citrus Bowl, drawing over 30,000. The Lions win, 3-1.

    Fall 1996: The Tampa Bay Mutiny win the Supporters' Shield, and the Lions make the 8-team playoffs as 3rd seed in the East, pushing out the Columbus Crew.

    The Mutiny sweep the MetroStars in the Conference Semifinal, while the Lions beat D.C. United in three games. The Eastern Conference Finals average over 30,000, with the Mutiny winning in three games, and beating the Los Angeles Galaxy for the MLS Cup.

    1997-2000: The Mutiny average 20,000 fans and the Lions average 18,000 fans in non-derby matches. Both surge over 30,000 in derby matches.

    1998: MLS expands to 14 teams, adding the Miami Fusion and a team in Las Vegas. The 1998 MLS All-Star Game in Orlando draws over 50,000 fans.

    1999: The MLS Cup is held at Raymond James Stadium.

    2000: The MLS Cup is held at the Citrus Bowl.

    2001: Dominic Kinnear retires and becomes head coach of the Lions. Orlando drafts Eddie Robinson late in the first round of the 2001 MLS SuperDraft.

    Facing economic issues, the Miami Fusion and San Jose Earthquakes are folded in the 2001 contraction. The Kansas City Wizards are moved to Rochester and assume the Rochester Rhinos identity.

    2003: Orlando puts together a package to use TDT money to replace the TD Waterhouse Centre, refurbish the Citrus Bowl, and build a new 25,000-seat soccer-specific stadium in the area between the Orange County Convention Center and Southpark Industrial Park.

    2005: MLS expands back to 14 teams, adding C.D. Chivas USA and reconstituting the Kansas City Wizards over a candidate group in Salt Lake City.

    AirTran Park is opened, and sells out its entire first season. The same year that the Dallas Burn rebrand to FC Dallas, the Tampa Bay Mutiny rebrand to the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

    2006: The MLS Cup is held at AirTran Park. The Lions defeat the expansion Houston Dynamo, 3-1. Toronto FC is also added, upping MLS to 16 teams.

    2008: MLS expands to 18 teams with the reconstituted San Jose Earthquakes and the Seattle Sounders.

    2009: The Lions draft Graham Zusi late in the first round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.

    2010: MLS expands to 20 teams with the Philadelphia Union and Portland Timbers.

    2011: The Citrus Bowl hosts the MLS All-Star Game between the MLS All-Stars XI and Manchester United.

    2012: MLS expands to 22 teams with the Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact.

    2014: MLS expands to 24 teams with Real Salt Lake and New York Cosmos.

    Don't mind all this. Just rambling. :p
     


  2. drSoFlaFan

    drSoFlaFan DEFEND THE FORT!

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    But if this alternate history happened we would not have been blessed with the Orlando Solar Bears! lol
     
  3. Orlando Rays

    Orlando Rays Copy editing is now my hobby.

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    We don't have them now. It'll save RDV a stupid decision when the IHL folds. :p
     
  4. WhiteStar Warriors

    WhiteStar Warriors BigSoccer Yellow Card

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    Why wasn't Orlando Sharks a success?
     


  5. Orlando Rays

    Orlando Rays Copy editing is now my hobby.

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    Who?

    (Which is the point. They didn't market, not that they had a team worth marketing. They never won a game. Considering the shear number of failures in the NISL/last MISL, that really means nothing.)
     
  6. aetraxx7

    aetraxx7 Member

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    That would not look so bad. I love that Miami still folds! Ha!
    I wonder if the Mutiny would have rebranded at that point. I think that was one of the better Nike names out there and it worked well with the Bucs. Loved the jerseys, but was iffy on the logo.
     
  7. Orlando Rays

    Orlando Rays Copy editing is now my hobby.

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    Miami folded due to having failings with its investors.

    And I think Tampa Bay would have eventually followed the example of San Jose, Dallas and NY in changing identities.
     
  8. TheHun

    TheHun Member

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    not a bad alternate reality - where did the 1998 MLS All-Star Game fit in ? (that really happened at the Citrus Bowl)
     
  9. Orlando Rays

    Orlando Rays Copy editing is now my hobby.

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    Why wouldn't it happen anyway?
     
  10. SoccerPrime

    SoccerPrime Moderator Staff Member

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    I totally missed this when you first wrote it. Ray, you should get an artist and we can put this to DC Comics as a Elseworlds book.

    You really think DeVos would have invested in MLS? I don't think the Amway/Magic group care much now, with MLS being partially a success, much less back in 1995 when it was very risky.

    I would think that Tavistock not backing out was a more realistic possibility. But still good fun. Well except that load of crap you put in 2005. :angryface: Lets just remove Chivas and put RSL in that year. Also, how did Houston come about? No Quakes existed to move them in 2005/2006, right?

    Here are some others that hopefully would have been drafted:
    Dax McCarty (Winter Park)
    Nate Sturgis (St Augustine)

    Orlando Lions draft Dennis Chin (Oviedo) in 2007.

    :D
     
  11. ceezmad

    ceezmad Member+

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    Imagine if Florida was still a Spanish Colony and Orlando City FC were allowed to play in the Spanish System, maybe they could even make it to the Liga :eek: :D

    Imagine RM and Barcelona traveling to Orlando and Tampa for Copa Del Rey games.
     
  12. LyotoM

    LyotoM Member

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    ex spanish colonies have their own leagues

    so

    Orlando city, tampa bay rowdies, miami fc, and fort lauderdale strikers.....would be the big 4 of the liga 1 florida. jacksonville and st petersberg etc...


    madrid and barca might be influential in style and be all over the tv.
     
  13. speedcake

    speedcake Member

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    I'd certainly trade this fictional timeline with the one that really happened and could potentially happen later.

    Every day I become more certain that Tampa Bay will forever be lost in the wake of the mistakes and growing pains that MLS went through in the early years.

    :(
     

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