Tag Archives: Houston Dynamo

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!

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!