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Top 5 Must Dos at an Orlando City Soccer Club Match

With the Lions now in their second season in Major League Soccer, I am sure most of you have been to a match. For those of you that haven’t, what are you waiting for? I went to my first match five years ago, and I haven’t looked back.

In fact, I have abandoned all other sports because I don’t have time for them. But I place a bet on sports at https://uk.mansionbet.com/sports/boxing/ occasionally. There is so much soccer all over the world that I am never bored. Trust me when I tell you, it only takes one match to hook you and I hope this is your year if you have never been.  With that said, here are my “Top 5” MUST DOs at an Orlando City Soccer Club match.

OCSC

  1. Tailgate – This is an absolute MUST. It is hands down the most American thing about the beautiful game here in Orlando. Tailgates are a wonderful way to warm up before a match. Great food, great people, and beer! There are a number of lots around the Citrus Bowl where people come together two, three, sometimes six hours before the kick-off for some pre-match shenanigans! However, I have to say (with bias!), no one does it up quite like the supporters in Lot 11. With $5 donation for all you can eat food, and an open cooler policy, there is no place I would rather be!
Photo Credit: Ish Shah

Crawfish… YUM! Photo Credit: Ish Shah

Watch the march in – This has been a tradition since the early days of United Soccer League for the Orlando City supporters. About an hour before kick-off, you can hear the beating of the drums and the chants beginning to rise above Lot 11. After some chants and a toast to get the blood pumping, the march begins to defend our home, and “Man The Wall”.

The procession is a short one from Lot 11 to Gate C of the Citrus Bowl, but that doesn’t stop the supporters from putting on a show. The chants, drums, and purple smoke fill the air as hundreds of fans line the path shooting pictures and taking video.

Photo Credit: Orlando City SC

Photo Credit: Orlando City SC (Can you spot me?)

Visit The Wall – The Supporter Section (aka The Wall) is a general admission area. You do need to have a ticket to get into the section, but you are able to stand on the rail at the top of the section. When I first started going to Orlando City matches back in 2011, I sat at midfield.

After one trip to the supporters section halfway through the 2011 season, I was hooked, and I have been there ever since. The energy and passion in The Wall is unmatched anywhere in the State of Florida. I will even go so far as to say that it is unmatched anywhere in the country outside of Portland or Seattle.

OCSC ​Anthony in The Wall

Take a walk around the Citrus Bowl – The newly renovated Citrus Bowl, you are able to walk around the entire stadium below the plaza level. This is awesome because you can get different views of the action on the pitch throughout the match. It’s nice to see a different perspective from time to time. So get out of your seat for a little while and take in the views.  Who knows, you might just find a new section for your season tickets!

OCSC ​Darwin Ceren with Ruckus at Tailgate

Wait for the players after the match – When the match is over, don’t just make a beeline for your car, especially if you have kids. Wait around a bit for the stadium to clear out, then head down to the south end of the stadium. Once you exit the stadium, hang a right and just passed the press entrance, you will see a small gated lot on your right. Security will be there keeping an eye on the handful of expensive luxury cars, this is the players lot. When it comes to player/fan interactions, the Orlando City players are a class act. On any given night after a match, you can get autographs and selfies with any if not all of the players. Even if you just want a fist bump and to say hi, they are always ready to greet the fans.

 

 

Orlando City SunRail

Like I’ve said, if you haven’t made it to a match yet, what are you waiting for? The Lions will be back home at the Citrus Bowl on May 6th, as they take on the New York Red Bulls. Kick-Off is set for 7:30, and there are still good seats available.  Visit http://orlandocitysc.com/tickets for more info.

Vamos Orlando!

 

Orlando City SC: The Final 3

A Good September

After a July and August to forget, September has given the Lions their best start of the season. Capturing nine points in three matches, and collecting their first three game win streak of the season, the Lions are making a post season push.  With just three matches left, the soccer lads are hoping to slide into the 6th and final play-off spot in the east. It won’t be easy, but the current run of form has given everyone involved a lot of hope.

Rookie Scoring Record Shattered

Cyle Larin broke the single season rookie scoring record in a 5-2 win over the east leading New York Red Bulls. Larin has been knocking on the door of breaking the record since tying it back on August 1st, where he scored two goals against the Columbus Crew. With a hat trick against the Red Bulls this past Friday, Cyle Larin was not only able to break the record but completely shatter it.  The rookie record of 11 goals in a single season has been in place since 2003, but it now belongs to Cyle with 14. With three matches to go, only Larin knows what the final number will be.  In any case, this should secure the MLS Rookie of the Year honor for him.Orlando City Larin

Montreal Impact Are Coming to Town.

If you have yet to make it to an Orlando City SC match, this Saturday, October 3rd will be an awesome one.  In a match with HUGE play-off implications, you can be sure the Citrus Bowl will be rocking on Saturday night.  This is the first trip to Orlando for the Impact, and I can assure you it will be one they won’t forget! In the previous two meetings, the Lions traveled north of the border to claim a draw and a loss at the hands of Montreal.  The Lions hope to make history on Saturday as they try to shut down former Chelsea scoring legend, Didier Drogba. With 7 goals in 6 games, the task looms large for the Lions to shut Drogba down. The battle for the 6th and final play-off spot will be decided in this match-up. Make no mistake, the club and the supporters will pull out all the stops to secure the three points in this one.

Tickets Still Available

Tickets are still available for the final two home games of the season.  Visit the Orlando City SC website for more information.

vs Montreal Impact, October 3rd at 7:00 pm

vs New York City FC, October 16th at 7:00 pm

 

Orlando City Soccer: The Extra Time Dagger

As a supporter of the game of football, you learn a lot about anticipation.  You find yourself being brought to the edge of complete joy or complete heartbreak many times in one match.  Saturday night’s match against the Vancouver Whitecaps was 90 minutes of anticipation and 10 seconds of heartbreak.

 

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Before the heartbreak…

 

In my opinion, nothing hurts worse than losing a match in the final seconds of stoppage time. I remember leaving the stadium with my friends thinking how we were so close so many times. Unfortunately close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.  In football you have to finish to be successful.  At the end of the day, controlling the pace and possession only matter if you are scoring goals.

I feel like we got the first two right against Vancouver, but the third one eluded us all.  There were so many missed opportunities.  So many chances for our boys to taste the sweet elixir in the scoring third.  As I watched the play develop in the midfield as the attack pushed closer toward goal, I could feel my heart start to beat a little faster.  The closer and closer the boys got, the more I held my breath only to lose my place in the chant.

 

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One of the many times we held our breath!

 

Over and over we pushed forward, and over and over we were disappointed with the finish. Needless to say the time we held our breath for never came.  We ended up with our first loss as an Major League Soccer club.  It’s not so much the loss that kills me, it’s the way we lost that hurts. Maybe if we were out played by Vancouver this would be easier to take, but we were not. Unfortunately we do not play Vancouver again this season, so this loss will just have to burn in the belly for a bit.  So until then, we look forward to the next match north of the border.

The next Orlando City match is this Saturday, March 28th at 4:00 pm against the Montreal Impact.  Since this is an away match, you can follow the link below to find your nearest City Pub location to watch with fellow OCSC fans.

Pub info: http://www.orlandocitysc.com/gameday/citypubs

Vamos Orlando!

Orlando City: Match Day Experience

Orlando City Soccer Club opened their inaugural Major League Soccer campaign yesterday in epic fashion. I was there with 62,510 of my closest friends to witness this historic event!

A photo posted by Top5 (@CentralFLTop5) on

As I am sure most of you know by now, our boys played to a 1-1 draw with the Manchester City B (New York City Football Club) side. The entire day was filled with many first for not only myself, but many of the SC (Seminole County) Ruckus supporters.

Orlando City SunRail

Photo Credit: Max Levine

  The Sunrail Experience

We started arriving at the Lake Mary SunRail station around noon. One of our fellow supporters, Dan was the first one to get on the train in DeBary. He sent us a text letting us know the train was pretty full. By the time it got to Lake Mary, it was busy but we all managed to get on. The same could not be said for the folks waiting at the Longwood station, many of them were turned away. People were also told not to board at the Altamonte Springs and Maitland stations. At each of these stations, there was easily 50-60 people left behind. The demand for SunRail service was there, unfortunately the supply did not meet the demand.  

The Tailgate & March In Experience

We arrived at Orlando Citrus Bowl just before 2 pm. The place was already a buzz with excitement. Shortly after arriving, I ran into the one and only Jen Vargas! We talked for a bit as I took her around the supporter’s tailgate in Lot 11. Let’s just say her and Bun could hardly contain themselves in this sea of purple bliss.

The overall tailgate experience was amazing. The Wall came through with food, drinks, and a very welcoming experience for all. I even saw a NYCFC supporter getting a hotdog at the Ruckus food tent. If that doesn’t say friendly, I don’t know what does!

After a couple of hours of drinking, eating and mingling about with everyone, we started our march into the stadium. The drums and chants started as the purple smoke bombs were being handed out to anyone with a free hand. This was it, we had arrived in the top flight of US Soccer and this march was one for the history books.

Not to sound cheesy, but this is the type of day you tell your kids about. The type of day that no supporter would have missed for anything in the world. This was the day the world took notice of Orlando City Soccer Club and The Wall. We have officially arrived!

Orlando City Supporters

Photo Credit: Max Levine

  The Match Experience

The atmosphere inside the Orlando Citrus Bowl was ELECTRIC! There was not an empty seat in the house (except for ours but only because we refuse to sit). Immediately after the National Anthem, our Tifo was unveiled to the world. Now since I was underneath this beautiful piece of art (designed by Earl Funk), I was not able to see how amazing it was until I got home and watched the replay. Once the match kicked off, it gave us everything we had hoped for. Plenty of opportunities on goal for our boys, horrible officials for us to yell at, and a 0-0 score line going into halftime.

The second half kicked off and NYCFC was more active on the ball than in the previous half. Then in the 76th minute, Mix Diskerud (NYCFC) opened up his account with a (it pains me to say this) beautiful strike just out of the reach of Donovan Ricketts. Orlando City was down 0-1 with just under a quarter of an hour to go. There was an empty feeling in all of our stomachs. A groan of nervousness rolled it’s way around the stadium, but we had to go on.

The drums pounded harder and our chants got louder. We needed to let our boys know that we were behind them no matter what. The clock ticked closer to full-time, and a sense of anxiety started to set in. Was it really possible for us to lose our inaugural MLS match? Were we really going to lose to this inferior club from New York by way of Manchester? We needed something, and we needed it fast!

Just then, that something happened… A free kick was awarded to Orlando City just outside the penalty arch. Kaka and Brek Shea both stood over the ball. The whistle blew and Kaka took a shot that bounced off a NYCFC defender, and into the back of the net!

  A photo posted by Top5 (@CentralFLTop5) on

The place went mental and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief. It wasn’t the win we hoped for, but fortunately in soccer, a draw is the next best thing and it is WAY better than a loss. We announced to the world that, Our Reign Begins Now!

 Next up…

The next match is away this Friday, March 13th at 7 pm, against the Houston Dynamo. There will be watch parties at all City Pub locations. I will be at Liam Fitzpatrick’s in Lake Mary along with many of the other Seminole County Ruckus members.

To find your nearest City Pub location, please check out: http://www.orlandocitysc.com/gameday/citypubs

¡Vamos Orlando!

Orlando City Soccer Scores First Goal as MLS Team!

If you weren’t one of the 62,510 people who attended tonight’s Orlando City Soccer Club v. New York City Football Club you absolutely missed an ELECTRIC game! Second highest attendance for an MLS game, attendance beating even the 1994 World Cup… that’s A LOT of people! (And purple. Lots and LOTS of PURPLE!!)

Everyone was talking game, talking City, talking MLS. At the tailgate parties outside the Orlando Citrus Bowl…

…in the beer lines!

…in the stands before the game started!

…in the elevator lines!

…in the merchandise lines!

Photo by Jen Vargas

Orlando City Lions make a GRRRAND entrance!

 

Unlike David, I am not a lifelong soccer fan but even I will admit, it’s hard not to get excited about this game when you’re there, folks. If you haven’t been to a game, you REALLY must try going at least once this inaugural season!

What fascinates me most about Orlando City’s supporters – and supporter culture as David has shared – is the genuine camaraderie that comes with being a supporter. It brings the community together in support of ONE cause, one TEAM. Orlando, the city, is like this too when you get down to it, regardless of affiliation, You’re all IN. Chant loudly, wave your flag and for pete’s sake DO NOT sit down!

Here’s a little taste of what being at a live game is like. And when our Lions score a goal? Look out! The stands go CRAZY, as you’ll see below.

You’ll get the full story from our Orlando City writer David soon enough but for now, enjoy Orlando City’s first goal as a full-fledged Major League Soccer team from behind the goal (through Google Glass)!

SPOILER ALERT: Kaka scored the goal in the last minutes of tonight’s game!!

On The Road with Orlando City Soccer: Carolina Challenge Cup

There was an electricity in the air when we arrived at The Plaza Live in Orlando’s Milk District. When Matt and I pulled up at 7:30 am there was already a party in the parking lot. The flags were waving high, the drums were lined up on the pavement, and adult beverages were already being consumed. It was a beautiful purple clad army ready to hit the road in support of our club.

Univision Orlando showed up to interview us and shoot some video before we rolled out at 8:30. The chants and drums filled the air. It was a little taste of what was to come at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston. You just knew this was going to be an unbelievable day.

OCSC Carolina Challenge dudes

Me, Matt Armijo, Pablo Sierra & Kevin Gurnett getting ready to Ruckus!

 

The ride was… well let’s just say it was a blast! It would be hard for me to paint a picture because so much happened on the six-hour trip. It is one of those, “you had to be there” deals. What I can tell you is we used this dress rehearsal to perfect our new chants and formulate our plan of attack for our opening match.  Trust me when I tell you, the Ruckus will be brought on March 8th!

Once we got to Blackbaud, I could see the different supporter groups had sections of the parking lot set up for their tailgate. It was hard not to notice that our reserved area was 3 times larger than any of the others, later I would find out why.

OCSC Carolina Challenge field

Photo credit: David Blair

Right before the first match between Charleston and Houston kicked off at 5 pm, the ratio of Orlando City Supporters to all other supporter groups combined (Atlanta, NYC, Charleston, and American Outlaws) was at least 5:1. Needless to say we traveled very well. In total there were two 60 passenger buses between the Ruckus and ILF (Iron Lion Firm). Plus there were an additional 50-60 supporters who drove up for the weekend. All in all it was an awesome turnout from both groups.

At around 7 pm we marched into the stadium, Charleston wasn’t ready for this. Once the drums started up and our voices filled the crisp evening air, phones came out of pockets. People took pictures and videos of us from any where they could. They were on top of the stands, hanging off the rails, and walking along side us. We were center stage, and Charleston was not disappointed. We even closed the show with some pyro for good measure.

Photo Credit: Orlando City SC

Photo Credit: Orlando City SC

When Kaka scored in the 31st minute, we went bananas! It was a nice little sequence between him and Kevin Molino that created the opportunity to bury it in the back of the net. I feel like these two are going to give everyone a lot to feel good about this season. In the end we drew 1-1 with NYCFC. There are still some kinks to work out but I am confident Inchy will have the boys ready to dominate on March 8th. (You can watch the whole match on Charleston’s YouTube Channel!)

If you still do not have tickets for the home opener, please visit http://orlandocitysc.com/FillTheBowl!

The club will be hosting a number of events the week leading up to opening match. Many of these events include a ticket voucher for the match on March 8th.

For more details, visit http://www.orlandocitysc.com/ockickoff or follow them on social media via FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Forever Our City!

Orlando City Soccer: Forever My City!

Introducing our newest writer, David!

My name is David Blair. I was born and raised right here in Orlando. My first introduction to the beautiful game of soccer was on a trip to England when I was 19 years old.

Prior to this trip, soccer was never part of my life. Growing up I played baseball with SAY and Pine Castle Little League. I had one friend that lived around the block and he was the only one that played soccer. I always thought it was weird he didn’t play baseball or football like the rest of us kids in the neighborhood. What I know now is that he and his parents were ahead of their time.

Fast forward 18 years and here I am writing a blog dedicated to being a supporter of Orlando City Soccer Club. In 2010, when it was first announced that Orlando was getting professional soccer, I was pumped! The first home match in 2011 was against FC New York. I remember being there with my wife, sister in-law, mother in-law, and my friend Kevin. It was around my birthday so they bought me a t-shirt and a scarf at that match. Since then, I have been City Til I Die!

David B & Kaka

David and Orlando City’s Kaka!

 

For most of the first season we sat near midfield. Then a buddy of mine named Pablo suggested that we sit behind the goal in the supporter section, so we did. My life was never the same. I know it sounds silly, but it’s the truth. There is a passion and sense of unity among supporters that you cannot find with any other sports fans. It’s just something you have to experience for yourself to understand what I am talking about. My suggestion to you… DO IT! Come to a match and sit with the supporters. If you hate it, I’ll buy you a beer. If you love it, I’ll buy you a beer. It’s a win/win!

David B 2

See? He wasn’t kidding!

 

This weekend I will be attending the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston with my fellow supporters from The Wall. We open up the tournament against New York City FC this Saturday evening. The Houston Dynamo and Charleston Battery are also participating in the week-long tournament. All matches will be streaming live on the Charleston Battery YouTube Channel. Here is the link for your viewing pleasure: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheCHSBattery

I will be sure to keep you posted on the trip to Charleston and the rest of the Carolina Challenge Cup for Orlando City.

Orlando City Soccer #FillTheBowl

This is Orlando!

Orlando City Soccer’s Kaka Meets Orlando Magic’s Vic Oladipo

Kaka, meet Victor. Victor, meet Kaka.

This is exactly what happened from the Orlando Magic center court right before last night’s game against the New York Knicks. (Spoiler Alert: The Magic WON!)

Also, because we love him so, here’s a shot of STUFFMagic and Kaka from Orlando Magic‘s twitter stream…

‘Orlando believes in MLS’ #Mission15k Goal MET!

#GoCity!

‘The 407’ are among the most dedicated soccer fans in the MLS!   (Photo Credit: Jen Vargas)

 

Congratulations #Mission15k supporters!

“I believe in MLS in Orlando! I want to give my support to Orlando City SC in their bid to bring a second major league franchise to Orlando, and urge the governments at City, County and State level to do everything within their power to help make this happen.”

 

Have you signed the petition yet? Do it, and help support Orlando City Soccer Club’s mission to bring MLS to Orlando!