Tag Archives: Major League Soccer

Orlando CityPride: The City’s Beautiful Game

February’s in full swing but January turned out to be a busy month for the Beautiful Game here in The City Beautiful!

  • Orlando City SC has released their schedule and participated in the MLS Super Draft.
  • Orlando Pride also participated in their inaugural draft, and added some new faces to the club.
  • Copa America announced the dates of the three matches that will be held here in Orlando this summer.

All in all, there is a lot going on and I’ll do my best to keep you informed!

OCSC

 

Orlando City SC
With the full schedule being released earlier this month, there were a few dates everyone was waiting for. We found out last month that the opening match would be on March 6th vs. Real Salt Lake here at the Citrus Bowl. But what other home matches had supporters of the club chomping at the bit?

April 3rd vs Portland Timbers FC – With one of the loudest and proudest (I stress “one of”… We all know The Wall is the loudest and the proudest!) Supporter clubs in the country, Timbers Army, this match is a must see! Last year Orlando City SC travelled to Portland to take on the Timbers, and came out with a 2-0 victory over the eventual 2015 MLS Cup Champions. Cyle Larin scored his very first MLS goal in this match. He would eventually go on to score 17 goals on the season and win the 2015 Rookie of the Year award.
August 7th vs Seattle Sounders – The City lads and their supporters will be looking for a little revenge when these two clubs face off. Last year the trip to Century Link Field was not a pleasant one for the Lions. After a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Clint Dempsey and the Sounders, the club was sent packing with one of their worse losses of the season.
August 28th vs New York City FC – This right here… Nothing really needs to be said about this. There is no love lost between the supporters of both of these clubs. This will be the first trip to the Citrus Bowl for NYCFC this season.
September 17th vs Columbus Crew SC – Out of all the matchups last season, Columbus and Orlando are probably the most evenly matched. The clubs finished 1-1-1 in three matches played last season. After year one, this matchup is probably the most organic of rivals the Lions have. All three matches last year were full of energy and animosity from the players on the pitch to the supporter groups for both clubs. This is one I personally cannot wait for!

 

Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

SuperDraft 2016
This year, the MLS SuperDraft took place in Baltimore, where Orlando City had the 7th overall pick. The Lions selected Richie Laryea from the University of Akron. Laryea, (originally from Canada) just happens to be best friends with current Orlando City striker and MLS Rookie of the Year Cyle Larin. I can’t wait to see what he brings to the pitch! However, I have a feeling he will probably start the season in Melbourne with Orlando City B in USL (United Soccer League). The club also picked up UCF standout Hadji Barry with the 13th overall pick. Barry led the Knights in points with 25, and found the back of the net 11 times in his senior year.

Orlando PrideOrlando Pride
In their inaugural NWSL College Draft, the Orlando Pride picked up three players for the upcoming season. With the tenth, fifteenth, and thirty-first overall picks, the Pride selected defender, Samantha Witteman from the University of California, Berkley; Midfielder, Christina Burkenroad from California State University; and Midfielder Dani Weatherholt from Santa Clara. The schedule for the Orlando Pride’s inaugural season is expected to be out in the next few weeks. I will be sure to keep everyone posted as more information becomes available.

14_StadiumProgress5

Copa America
In case you haven’t heard by now or just crawled out from under a rock, Copa America is coming to Orlando this summer. The City Beautiful will host three matches at Orlando Citrus Bowl. The dates have been set for June 4th, 6th, and 8th. The final draw will be held on February 21st to fill in all the blanks in the schedule. The only team confirmed for Orlando at this point is Brazil on June 8th. Who will they face at the Citrus Bowl? I’ll let you know as soon as the fixtures are available for all three matches.

Follow me (@davidjxblair) and Central Florida Top 5 (@CentralFLTop5) on Twitter for more updates and maybe some live tweets from The Wall at this Saturday’s match against the Jacksonville Armada!

#VamosOrlando

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 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!!

Think You’ve Got What It Takes To Be An Orlando City Supporter?

Here’s a little taste of what life is like in the South End

So you want to be a supporter? We would love to have you, but do you completely understand what you are about to sign up for?

For starters, we do not sit. In fact, we are not even sure why the seat is there. I mean sure it’s nice to stand on if the person in front of you is super tall, but that’s about it. Thankfully our new downtown stadium will have a standing supporters section, the only one of it’s kind in MLS!

Another thing you will need to do is lose your voice. Sound weird? Well consider this… from the march to the final whistle, we do not stop chanting and singing. Once we start, there is no turning back. We are in this for Orlando City and we refuse to be silenced.

OCSC Carolina Challenge field

Smoke, it’s in our DNA.

Supporters without smoke is like a tailgate without beer. The two go hand in hand and should never be separated. You never know when the smoke is going to pop off, so make sure you have your bandana. A true supporter has their bandana on them at all times. There is nothing more beautiful than flags and scarves high in the air, surrounded by a cloud of purple smoke.

You have to understand that soccer is the only sport in the world with a true supporter culture. It is the supporters that create the atmosphere for everyone in the stadium. It is something you will not find in any other major sport. Just try popping off smoke or waving a flag at an NFL or MLB game. If you do the only thing you will be seeing is the exit.

David & The Ruckus

Vamos Orlando and Vamos The Ruckus!

 

Being a supporter is not passive. We live and breathe for Orlando City. It’s in our hearts and in our souls. We bleed purple for the club that we love. We are, The Wall!

If you are interested in becoming a supporter there are two recognized supporter groups, The Ruckus and the Iron Lion Firm. You can click on the link below to join or stop by the tailgate to see what we are all about. The official supporter tailgate is in lot 11. Hope to see everyone at Orlando Citrus Bowl on March 8th!

More info:

http://www.orlandocitysc.com/fans

For tickets please visit: http://orlandocitysc.com/tickets

Orlando City Soccer Club kicks off 2015 campaign with new jersey

By: @jenvargas

Game face… ON.

Orlando City Soccer Club is ready to take care of business, and they are doing it in style! We told you about the new stadium, whose groundbreaking was last month. Now? Our Lions have a brand new Home jersey!

In my humble, novice-soccer-supporter-but-devout-lover-of-purple opinion, the new jerseys are exquisite. Obvious standout is, well, the color. You (have always) had me at purple, Orlando City!! Oh, and in the soccer world, players don’t wear “uniforms,” they wear “kits.” We’re learning, Orlando City. We’re learning….

Photo Credit: Orlando City SC

Photo Credit: Orlando City SC

Orlando City-specific Kit advanced features:

  • This is Orlando” sublimated on the inside of the neck tape – laying claim to the City Beautiful
  • Orlando City” and a gold crown 3D heat transferred onto the neckline, highlighting City’s championship success prior to MLS entry
  • Placement of the Club’s previous logo on the inside of the jersey – underneath the Lions’ new MLS crest – keeping the team’s foundation and history close to the heart.

Technical kit advances:

  • Adidas adizero engineering – the lightest soccer kit in history, allowing players to remain fast, cool and comfortable on the pitch
  • Jacquard engineered banding on the front of the jersey, representing Orlando City’s transition to a new era;

Cool, right? More highlights from their press release:

ORLANDO – November 5, 2014 – Orlando City Soccer Club unveiled the team’s 2015 Major League Soccer (MLS) home jersey today during a press conference at Orlando Health’s downtown campus. The event also served as the launch for Orlando City’s new advertising campaign which will run throughout the winter until the Lions’ MLS debut. 

The inaugural Orlando City MLS home kit, both long sleeve and short sleeve, will be available for purchase starting in early December. However, pre-sale for both models is currently available to fans online at www.OrlandoCitySC.com

“We worked very closely with Adidas during the design process of our first-ever MLS home kit, as we want the jersey to have a simple and classic look that accurately represents our brand and prominently displays our long-time partners Orlando Health,” said Orlando City Founder and President Phil Rawlins. “We are very proud of the end result, and we can’t wait to see our team take the field next year.” 

“Four years ago, we entered into a partnership with Orlando City SC and we haven’t looked back. It has been a wonderful friendship between two organizations that stand for the advancement, well-being, growth, and passion for our community,” says Jamal Hakim, M.D., interim CEO for Orlando Health. “We share the excitement our community has shown for the team and are proud to be the jersey sponsor and official medical team for Orlando City SC.” 

City’s new home kit prominently showcases the color purple – the Lions’ primary color – coupled with three white Adidas stripes. 

Orlando Health – the official medical team and jersey sponsor of Orlando City – is highly visible with the healthcare leader’s logo centrally located on the front of the new home uniform. Orlando Health has been the Club’s jersey sponsor since the team’s arrival to the City Beautiful

In 2013, Orlando Health extended their partnership with Orlando City, becoming the first jersey partner in MLS history to commit to an expansion club prior to admittance into the league. 

Orlando City Kicks off 2015 Campaign 

During the ceremony, the Lions’ also unveiled the first of dozens of new ads and billboards that will canvas the City Beautiful over the next five months leading up to the team’s highly anticipated MLS debut. A 16′ x 80′ banner was installed on the UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health facing Orange Avenue. This banner highlights the partnership between Orlando City and Orlando Health, with the headline, “Part of Something Major,” and four of the Club’s players: Kaká, Kevin Molino, Tyler Turner and Tommy Redding. 

The marketing campaign will span outdoor, print, radio and digital – prominently featuring Orlando City players Kaká, Darwin Cerén, Molino, Rafael Ramos, Estrela, Redding, Turner, Harrison Heath and Luke Boden. 

For more information on Orlando City SC or to purchase 2015 MLS Season Tickets, visit www.OrlandoCitySC.com or call 855-ORL-CITY.  Also, follow the latest Orlando City news and updates via FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

 

About Orlando City Soccer Club:

Recently ranked 14th among all professional teams in North America, Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC) is Major League Soccer’s newest expansion club set to debut in 2015. The Lions’ first team set the U.S. record for best start of any professional soccer club in its first USL PRO league 100 matches (66-12-22). Orlando City has won three USL PRO regular season titles and two postseason championships. Outside of the first squad, OCSC also has a youth club, Orlando City Youth Soccer (OCYS) and a U-23 team that participates in the PDL. For more information on the pro and youth clubs, visit www.OrlandoCitySC.com and www.OrlandoCityYouth.org.

#WeDigPurple, Orlando City Soccer will too on Thursday

We love Orlando City Soccer Club. We know YOU love Orlando City Soccer Club. Heck, our own @jenvargas is The BIGGEST PURPLE FAN we knowThis Thursday, the City of Orlando may rival Jen’s purple love.


The Lions of Orlando City are planning a DIGITAL takeover of Orlando this Thursday, October  16th, beginning at 5:30pm and the public is welcome! Are you ready Orlando?! Don’t forget to register online for your FREE stadium groundbreaking gift! More details below…

 

Countdown to Groundbreaking: #WeDigPurple Digital Takeover of Orlando 

Groundbreaking for the new Downtown home of the Orlando City Soccer Club takes place on Thursdayevening, but the buzz is growing for the once-in-a-lifetime celebration.

Orlando City has partnered with Clear Channel Outdoor for a special digital campaign and unique Instagram takeover that will share the groundbreaking event live across 36 digital boards throughout greater Orlando.

On Thursday, October 16, from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. ET, fans will be asked to post images from the groundbreaking to Instagram using the hashtag #WeDigPurple. Those images will appear live throughout the City Beautiful on the Clear Channel digital boards during the hour.

The groundbreaking celebration is open to all, and fans who attend will receive a unique gift to remember this day: a clear miniature Orlando City commemorative paint can which they can use to scoop up and take home purple sand from the groundbreaking ceremony. Over 24 tons of purple sand will be trucked in for use in the unique event.  Fans can pre-register for the souvenir by clicking here.

Below is a full schedule of events for Thursday evening:

5:30 p.m. – Fans gather at Church Street Station

6:15 p.m. – March begins from Church Street to groundbreaking site

*6:45 p.m. – Formal groundbreaking event begins 

*7:20 p.m. – Ceremonial dig

Additional details of the groundbreaking will be announced over the coming days.  Be sure to get the latest updates by following Orlando City via FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

For more information on Orlando City SC or to purchase 2015 MLS Season Tickets, visit www.OrlandoCitySC.com or call 855-ORL-CITY.

About the Downtown Stadium: 

Through a public/private partnership, a new Major League Soccer stadium is being constructed in Downtown Orlando – it will be the future home of Orlando City Soccer Club and host to other major national events throughout the year.  Scheduled to open for the 2016 MLS season, the stadium will have an initial capacity of approximately 20,000, will be LEED-certified, and will reflect the character and culture of the community, especially the surrounding Parramore neighborhood, to provide an unparalleled and truly unique fan experience.

The stadium will break ground on October 16, 2014, and is being designed and constructed by Populous, Barton Malow, and ICON Venue Group, who are widely renowned for previous works on venues such as Wembley Stadium, Yankee Stadium and multiple other MLS stadium projects.  One completed, it will be operated by the City of Orlando and owned by the Central Florida community. Community funding partnerships include the City of Orlando, Orlando City Soccer Club and Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties.

The soccer stadium is part of the Blueprint Initiative that ensures the local community benefits from the construction with 24 percent of the contracts going to minority or women-owned business enterprises. For more information, visit www.OrlandoCitySC.com.

About Orlando City Soccer Club:

Recently ranked 14th among all professional teams in North America, Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC) is Major League Soccer’s newest expansion team. The club will begin play in MLS in 2015, becoming the league’s 21st club. The Lions’ first team set the U.S. record for best start of any professional soccer club in its first USL PRO league 100 matches (66-12-22). Orlando City has won three USL PRO regular season titles and two postseason championships. Outside of the first squad, OCSC also has a youth club, Orlando City Youth Soccer (OCYS) and a U-23 team that participates in the PDL. For more information on the pro and youth clubs, visit www.OrlandoCitySC.com and www.OrlandoCityYouth.org.