Orlando City president Phil Rawlins cited the resounding win, the large crowd and the professionalism of his club as proof that Orlando City SC is ready to become an MLS franchise and compete in the United States first division. Rawlins has asked the City of Orlando to approve funding toward an $85 million, 18,000-seat soccer stadium downtown and will likely learn the answer next month, which could lead Major League Soccer to award an expansion franchise to Central Florida.
"I think we've sent a message that we're MLS ready!" said Rawlins post-game.
"We've set ourselves up as a professional organisation, even if this is still a minor level, and we're definitely ready to take the next step. Our fans our unbelievable and have a real passion for this team. And, once we go up to MLS level, I think we will see this kind of success there as well."
MLS-loanee Dwyer wins MVP
City's Dom Dwyer, loaned from MLS side Sporting Kansas City, won MVP honors after his four-goal performance, despite the controversy regarding his appearance.
Dwyer, on loan from Sporting, had started the season at Orlando and scored 15 goals in 13 games before being recalled to the MLS side in June. After Orlando goal-scorer Long Tan was suspended for the Championship, Orlando asked to recall Dwyer and Sporting obliged for the one-game appearance.
Championship equally-matched till final whistle
The Lions came out of the gate strong and forced a pair of corners in the opening three minutes, but Charlotte grabbed the lead in the 20th minute when Fejiro Okiomah headed in the ball for a 1-0 lead.
Orlando equalized in the 33rd minute when Dwyer scored the first of his four goals. Dwyer struck again just before the half with another header, but one minute later, Charlotte's Christian Ramirez, scored his third goal of the USL PRO Playoffs to bring the teams level 2-2 at the break.
Ramirez put the Eagles ahead 3-2 when he scored his second goal in the 57th minute, but four minutes later, City's Adama Mbengue was brought down in the penalty area and Dwyer converted the penalty for his third goal of the night and a 3-3 score. Dwyer then scored his fourth goal and one minute later, Dennis Chin made it 5-3 as he struck a curling shot from 20 yards out into the right corner.
Mbengue put the game out of reach 6-3, assisted by Dwyer, but the Eagles fought back and Christian Meza flicked in a header in the 88th minute to make it 6-4. But Orlando had the final word in the final minute when Chin capped the performance with his second goal, a left-footed shot.