July was a month to forget for the Lions. With 5 matches, the club managed just one draw and had to settle for an 0-4-1 record for the month. The one bright spot for Orlando City has continued to be rookie Cyle Larin.
The City lads traveled to Yankee Stadium on July 26th to play fellow newcomers, New York City FC. The Lions lost the match 5-3, however Cyle Larin made history by recording the first hat trick of his young career. Larin is quickly showing all Orlando City fans why he was the first overall pick in the Super Draft. At this stage of the season, I have to believe that Larin is the front-runner for Rookie of the Year honors.
There was also a little bit of news coming out on the last day of the month about the new stadium. Not sure if you heard about it, so here we go!
New Stadium Design Released
The club’s record in the month of July was not pretty, but the new stadium renderings are. A couple of months ago the club decided to privately fund and increase the capacity for the new downtown soccer stadium. The stadium will be built in the same location, just two blocks west of the Amway Center, and it will be bigger! The club officially announced the new upgrades this past Friday at The Abby in Downtown Orlando. The capacity will be increased from 19,500 to 25,500. This is good news for those of you currently on the season ticket waiting list, because season ticket allotment will increase from 14,000 to 18,000.
The stadium will also feature covered seating on all four sides. The previous renderings that were released for the smaller capacity stadium, only had three covered sides. The covered seating will be a welcome addition to all fans familiar with the summer storms and sun here in Florida. The stadium will also feature a single tier, safe standing supporter section, the first of its kind in Major League Soccer (MLS). There will also be 31 luxury club level suites, half of which are already sold according to the club. The stadium will be the 3rd largest in all of MLS.
In the original renderings there was a rotating lion statue at the Church Street entrance of the stadium. In the new renderings, it’s gone. According to President and Founder, Phil Rawlins, the lion statue is still a go, unfortunately it will be at the VIP entrance and not the main Church Street entrance.
The stadium will also include a natural grass playing surface, a 360 degree lower bowl, and a 10,000 square feet fan plaza. The natural grass playing surface is a huge selling point in my opinion. I believe it will help the club in their efforts to bring in international talent.
It may sound silly, but Major League Soccer is one of only a few leagues in the world that allow for artificial turf. Some international stars refuse to play on it due to a higher risk of injury. For example, last month when Mexico and Costa Rica came to town for their international friendly, the Citrus Bowl had to lay grass over the artificial surface. This was also the case back in 2011 when Orlando City hosted Premier League club Newcastle United. Also, if Orlando is selected as a host city for Copa America Centenario next summer, grass will have to be installed because artificial turf is not permitted.
The new stadium is slated to be complete in 12-14 months. The hope is that it will be open in time for the final few weeks of the 2016 season. However I believe the club will hold off until March 2017 so the Lions can open the season in their new digs. For more information and to view the new renderings, follow the link below.
Season tickets are now available to the public. With the 14,000 cap met, and 2000 people on the waiting list, there are only about 2000 tickets left with the increased capacity. These will go fast so act now.