Tag Archives: Orlando Citrus Bowl

NFL Pro Bowl comes to Orlando’s Camping World Stadium in 2017!

The National Football League made a very important announcement this week in a press conference at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World – Pro Bowl and Pro Bowl Week are both coming to Orlando and will be hosted here for the next three years beginning January 29, 2017! Visit Ticket4Football for more!

The NFL’s Pro Bowl game is an annual all star game that dates back to 1939, where pro all-star players from the 1939 season played in Los Angeles. World War II forced the game to be discontinued until 1950 where teams from both league conferences (winning teams and non) played. The Pro Bowl was played for a long time in Los Angeles, California until it moved to Aloha Stadium in Hawaii in 1980 where it was played every year until 2009.

Next year’s host city was rumored to be Rio de Janeiro, Brazil but instead will be played here in Orlando at Camping World Stadium on January 29th, 2017. Florida has hosted only one Pro Bowl game which was played at Sun Life Stadium in Miami in 2009. Now it’s back and in Orlando! People are going crazy and already getting tents from Survival Cooking to camp outside of the stadium.

We are thrilled to bring, not only the Pro Bowl Game here, but also to create a weeklong Pro Bowl experience for fans from across the country and around the world right here in Orlando,” said Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s Senior Vice President of Events. “We can only do that with incredible partners, all of whom are represented here today; Florida Citrus Sports, Orange County, City of Orlando, Disney, ESPN, Visit Orlando, and Visit Florida, a great set of partners who have all made this come to fruition,” he said.

Edgewater Eagles Pro Bowl

Central Florida’s own Edgewater Eagles scrimmage with Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Mickey Mouse at ESPN Wide World of Sports! [Image credit: Melinda Sparks]

Going from Hawaii to Orlando is a bit of a change, right? We thought so too. Why Orlando? O’Reilly responds, “We had a lot of very interested cities and markets, both domestically and around the world, who were interested in hosting the Pro Bowl but when it came down to it, there’s no more natural home for the Pro Bowl in a time where we want to bring together youth and families in a unique way and celebrate our 88 biggest stars than coming to the City of Orlando, and coming to Orlando, Florida.”

Here are my Top 5 reasons why Pro Bowl in Orlando is VERY COOL thing!

  1. Fans will get the chance to meet their favorite NFL players up close and personal during the Pro Bowl week before the game
  2. Fans can also participate in the NFL FAN EXPERIENCE where you can pass, receive, and kick in various NFL fan based games.
  3. Orlando can demonstrate to the NFL, and the world, that we deserve and would support a local NFL franchise.
  4. Orlando could now become host to USA Football’s Regional Development Camps and provide a great opportunity for young athletes to hone their craft.
  5. The Pro Bowl would provide an economic boost to the surrounding Orlando communities.

Pro Bowl fans can sign up for exclusive presale and pregame info in the next link! NFL tickets will go on sale to the general public this November.

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!



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.


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.


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!


Copa America Centenario Comes to Orlando in June 2016

For the first time in it’s storied history, Copa America will be played outside of South America next summer. Copa America is coming to Orlando Citrus Bowl! The full schedule was just released – CLICK HERE!

Copa America is the oldest, most prestigious and widely viewed tournaments in the soccer world. Next year’s Copa America Centenario will feature six teams from CONCACAF and all 10 teams from CONMEBOL: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

We learned that Orlando will host three matches here at the Orlando Citrus Bowl on June 4th, 6th and 8th, 2016! Brazil will play on June 8th!

Lucky you, Orlando City, Orlando Pride and Orlando City B season passholders! You get first dibs on pre-sale passes in January! (Regular on sale opportunities to be announced.)

The announcement that Brazil will be an anchor team in Orlando could not be better news for our community,” said Central Florida Sports Commission President and CEO John Bisignano. “Brazilian tourists are a key demographic to our area, but it’s the country’s spirit and passion for the game of soccer that will make Copa matches at the Orlando Citrus Bowl that much more special.

With the tournament being played on North American soil for the first time in it’s history, we know already – it’s going to be an exciting summer! The 2016 Copa America Centenario will feature six teams from CONCACAF and all 10 teams from CONMEBOL: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Orlando can expect to possibly see some of the biggest stars in world soccer grace the pitch at the Citrus Bowl. Some of the big names could include the likes of Lionel Messi (ARG), Neymar (BRA), Luis Suarez (URG), James Rodriguez (COL), and Claudio Pizzaro (PER).

This will also be the first time since 2007 that the U.S. has participated in Copa America.  The U.S. has appeared in the tournament three times (’93, ’95, ’07), recording their best finish in Uruguay ’95, where they finished 4th.

Next year promises to be a very exciting year in Orlando for the soccer. Orlando City SC, will be kicking off their second season in Major League Soccer, and Orlando Pride will begin their inaugural campaign behind superstar, Alex Morgan.  With the announcement of Copa America Centenario, there is no doubt that Orlando is “The Soccer Capital of the South”.

June will be an historic month for world class soccer in Central Florida with the kickoff of Copa America and specifically, the Brazilian National Team here in the City Beautiful,” said City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “We invite all soccer and sports fans, whose outpouring of support helped us secure these events, to join us at the Orlando Citrus Bowl for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

We will be sure to keep you posted as more information is confirmed. I will also be tweeting information as it becomes available. Follow me @davidjxblair on Twitter.

#CopaAmerica #Centenario #SoccerCapitalOfTheSouth

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


MEAC/SWAC Challenge

The 11th annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney is back at the newly renovated Orlando Citrus Bowl with a new afternoon kickoff time. Arkansas – Pine Bluff and South Carolina State will battle for conference supremacy at 3:30, but the party starts at 11:30 with the Great Heart & Soul Tailgate and Pep Rally.

Tickets are just $25 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster or in person on game day at the Orlando Citrus Bowl Box Office.

Orlando City SC Weekly

Fourteen games into the season and Orlando City SC is looking like the team we hoped they would.  After a rocky start, the Lions have managed to right the ship, collecting 8 points in their last 4 matches. The club is currently on a four match unbeaten streak. But even with the success as of late, there are still some folks that think it’s not enough. To those people I say, consider this… In the first ten matches of the season, the Lions managed to scrape together 9 points out of a possible 30.  When you look at what they have accomplished since their 4-0 thrashing of the LA Galaxy on May 17th, it’s easy to see the pieces are beginning to fall into place. I mean after all, we could be New York City FC cleaning the cellar in last place, but we’re not! #NotARivalry

With the recent return of Pedro Ribeiro and Lewis Neal, the club has added a bit more depth to the roster. While Ribeiro was out nursing a torn hamstring, Cyle Larin stepped in and gave Lion’s fans something to cheer about. The number one overall pick has five goals on the season, and is currently tied with last seasons Golden Boot winner, Bradley Wright-Phillips.  In the eyes of the Lion faithful, Larin does seem to be well on his way to Rookie of the Year honors.

Coming into Saturday’s match-up against the Chicago Fire, the Lions were sitting in 7th place in the east, one spot out of the playoff race. In what was billed as an important conference match up for both clubs, Orlando City came out sluggish.  The first half saw the good guys go down early with a beautifully placed goal by Chicago’s Kennedy Igboananike.  Chicago managed to score twice in the half, with one of those benefiting the Lions. Pressure from Pedro Ribeiro, forced Chicago’s Adailton to put the ball in the back of his own net to draw the Lions level at 1-1 going into the break.

In the second half however, we saw a much more aggressive attack from the City lads. Cyle Larin would come on to replace Ribeiro, and it wouldn’t be long before he made his presence felt.  Fighting through a couple of defenders, Larin would rip a shot from outside the box that you just had to see to believe! (Highlights can be found by clicking HERE.) Add another own goal by Adailton late in the match, and the Lions would pull out the 3-2 win. This was the clubs first ever win against an Eastern Conference opponent. The win also moved Orlando City up to the 4th place in the conference.  With matches coming up against two more Eastern Conference opponents (DC United & Montreal) the Lions are now hopefully hitting their stride. It’s not crunch time just yet, but if they want to stay in the playoff hunt, they cannot afford to keep giving up points against clubs in the east.

US Open Cup play is set to start next week, and Orlando City will log plenty of miles in a short amount of time. After the home match against DC United on June 14th, the Lions travel to Charleston to face the Battery in the 4th round of the US Open Cup on June 17th. However, there will be no rest for the weary! The lads will then head north of the border to face Montreal on June 20th. Three matches in six days will really test the depth of the bench for Adrian Heath and his club!

But first up is league leading DC United.  The match is scheduled for Sunday, June 14th, with kick off set for 7:00 pm. This will be the third and final meeting between the two clubs for the regular season.  The first two meetings both went the way of United.  A 0-1 heartbreaking defeat at home for the Lions in April and a 2-1 road defeat in May. Manchester United tickets are still available for this match-up, so be sure to follow the links below for more information.

If you are not able to make it to the match, City Pubs around town will be broadcasting the match complete with drink specials.  Check out the link below to find you nearest City Pub location.  The game will be carried nationally on Fox Sports 1.

Vamos Orlando!


City Pubs

Orlando City SC: Week in Review

It was a busy week for Orlando City SC, but that’s the way I like it! There is a little bit of everything to talk about this week so let’s get to it…



PC: Ismael Shah


At Columbus Crew SC 

Going into Columbus expectations were high for Orlando City SC. Coming off a huge win over the Timbers in Portland the week before, we were all riding high.  If we could shutout the mighty Portland Timbers in the Rose City, Crew SC should be a walk in the park, right? WRONG! Orlando City looked good for the first 25 minutes, but after a Crew SC goal in the 32nd minute and a red card to Rafael Ramos in the 34th minute, the wheels quickly fell off the wagon. Orlando City would be forced to play a man down for the remainder of the match after Ramos was sent off. This proved to be fatal in the 55th minute when Columbus would score their second goal of the night. Our boys would never recover. When the dust finally settled, Orlando City would suffer their worst defeat of the young season, falling 3-0 to the Columbus Crew.

14,000 Season Tickets Sold

On Wednesday Orlando City SC reached their season ticket goal of 14,000 tickets sold. This makes Orlando City SC one of only four clubs in Major League Soccer to have a waiting list for potential season ticket members. The club ranks among the top teams in the league in terms of season tickets sold and overall attendance this season.  Only Seattle Sounders FC have a higher average home attendance than Orlando City. This is just more proof that The City Beautiful is the “Soccer Capital of the South”.

Brett Lashbrook Resigns

It was announced today that COO Brett Lashbrook has resigned his post with the club. Lashbrook joined Orlando City SC in 2013 and played an integral role in Orlando securing their MLS bid. Brett Lashbrook’s last day with the club will be Friday, May 1st.  CEO Alex Leitao will assume ticket sales, corporate sales, marketing, and communications as the club attempts to restructure the front office.

Toronto FC Comes to Town

Looking to bounce back from a disappointing trip to Ohio, Orlando City hopes to get back on track this Sunday. US National Team stars Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradly come to town looking to keep Orlando City on the ropes at home.  In three matches at the Citrus Bowl, Orlando City have only been able to generate one point and one goal (both came against fellow newbies NYCFC back on March 8th). The last two home matches were both heart breakers, where our boys lost 0-1 on stoppage time free kicks to Vancouver and DC United.  Toronto FC brings a pretty stacked roster with limited results thus far to Orlando.  With just three points in five matches, the struggle is real with Toronto FC this season.  To be fair though, both Altidore and Bradley have been called away to the national team on more than one occasion this season.  With both of these guys back in the line up and Orlando City hungry for their first home win, this should be be a fun match up for all involved.

For those of you looking for tickets, there are still some available on the Orlando City SC website. Follow this link for more information —-> Tickets

If you are unable to make it to the match, it will be broadcast on either Fox 35 or My 65 locally in Orlando beginning at 7 pm.

As usual, you can find me in Lot 11 with the rest of The Wall.  If you make it out, stop by and say hello.

Vamos Orlando!

Futbol Fiesta: Mexico vs Costa Rica

The City of Orlando and Orlando City SC recently announced an International Friendly match between Mexico and Costa Rica. Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Mayor Buddy Dyer, and Orlando City SC founder Phil Rawlins were on hand for the announcement at the Orlando Citrus Bowl.  This friendly will be the biggest international match up in The City Beautiful since the 1994 World Cup.


3-19-2015 Orange County to Host Friendly Futbol Fiesta Photo

(L-R) Orlando City Soccer Club Founder and CEO Phil Rawlins, City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs


The Orlando Citrus Bowl will play host to the match up on June 27th at 6:00 pm.  Leaders from both the city and county hope the two soccer giants will bring international media awareness as well as an economic impact to the area.

Mexico and Costa Rica have a rich football history together dating back to 1935.  The match-up in June will mark the 50th meeting between the two countries (all competitions).  This will be the first time both countries have faced off against each other here in The City Beautiful. For Mexico this will be their first visit to Orlando since their 2-1 win over Ireland in the 1994 World Cup.

Orlando City SC is offering a “Two Pack” starting at $45.  The “Two Pack” will include one ticket for the May 17th Orlando City match against LA Galaxy, and one ticket for the June 27th Mexico vs Costa Rica match.


Individual match tickets for Mexico vs Costa Rica go on sale to the general public April 15th at 10 am.  Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster.







Orlando City Soccer: Approved for All Ages

When I asked my nephew what he wanted for his birthday, an Orlando City Soccer Club match was at the top of the list.  So I did what any good uncle does…I took him.

Dom's First Match!

Dom’s First Match!

Once the 2015 season schedule was released I sent it over to my sister so Dom (my nephew) could pick the match he wanted to attend.  His birthday is in April, but I told him that he could select any match he wanted.  He picked the DC United match because he said he used to like them.  Now I am pretty sure Dom has never watched D.C. United play, however I am sure he likes the colors red and black.  A little background on my nephew here… He has a vivid imagination.  At breakfast he asked for a Cup of Joe, because he used to drink it back in high school… He’ll be seven at the end of the month.

April 3rd finally arrived and we were on our way to the Citrus Bowl for the match up against DC United. Once we arrived, we headed to lot 11 so I could show Dom around the Ruckus tailgate.  We met up with my fellow SC (Seminole County) Ruckus members in our little section of lot 11.  Dom went around like a seasoned veteran giving high fives and hugs to everyone he met.  Dom even meet The Ruckus’ @orlandounicorn himself, Danny Voss.


Dom with @orlandounicorn Danny Voss

After we finished doing the rounds at the tailgate, we headed over to the Mane Street Fan Zone sponsored by Publix. This was my first trip to the Fan Zone, but it was pretty cool.  There are activities for kids, a band, and plenty of freebies for the taking.  One of the coolest giveaways was from Continental Tires. If you filled out a short survey, they would give you an Orlando City SC scarf.  I know there isn’t much need for a scarf here in Orlando, however the scarf is universally known as a “soccer thing“.  So hats off to the folks at Continental Tires for “getting it“.


Free Scarf!

I asked Dom if he wanted to participate in the march in or get better seats in the supporter section, he opted for the latter.  We made our way into the stadium, and for me it was a little weird.  I couldn’t tell you the last time I entered the stadium without a hoard of smoke loving supporters, but this was Dom’s birthday so he was the boss. The match may not have ended the way we hoped, but I am pretty sure this kid didn’t care too much.

Win or lose, still fun!

Win or lose, still fun!

In my opinion, there isn’t a better value in The City Beautiful than an Orlando City match.  If you are looking for an exciting and affordable night out with the family, head on over to the Orlando Citrus Bowl for the next Orlando City SC match. Tickets are available now for the next home match against Toronto FC on April 26th on the Orlando City SC website,  http://www.orlandocitysc.com/tickets

Next Match: April 12 at 5:00 pm at Portland with The Timbers.  As with all away matches all City Pubs will be hosting watch parties complete with drink specials.  To find your nearest City Pub, please use the link below.


Vamos Orlando!




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.



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.



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!

Top 5 Reasons to Check Out Monster Jam This Weekend


by Kelly Green

1 It’s the first ever Monster Jam in the newly renovated Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium.
Stadium officials and architects consulted Monster Jam in the development of Citrus Bowl Stadium’s all
new South End tunnel, which provides Monster Jam with easier access in and out of the stadium. In the
construction of the South End tunnel, Monster Jam provided logistic and size requirements for these access points to help improve the Monster Jam dirt track construction process. Over $3 million+ went into the Orlando Citrus Bowl field turf and an estimated 300 truckloads of dirt will be needed to cover the brand new field turf!

2015-01-17 15.19.58

Meet drivers at the Party In The Pits.

2 Party In The Pits
Pick up your free pass at your Southern Ford Dealer or when purchasing tickets. Meet the drivers, watch cool displays from R/C trucks to BMX stunts. You might even see a stilt walker or a clown or two. (Monster Jam IS a Feld Entertainment production, after all!)

3 The Trucks
Orlando fans will see:

  • Grave Digger® driven by Chad Tingler
  • Scooby-Doo™ driven by Brianna Mahon
  • Max-D℠ driven by Tom Meents
  • Son-uva Digger® driven by Ryan Anderson
  • Monster Mutt® Rottweiler driven by Rod Schmidt
  • Grave Digger the Legend® driven by Adam Anderson
  • Soldier Fortune driven by Chad Fortune
  • Gunslinger® driven by Scott Hartsock
  • Black Stallion® driven by Mike Vaters
  • Overkill Evolution driven by Mike Vaters Jr.
  • Higher Education driven by Jim Tracey
  • Iron Warrior® driven by Matt Cody
  • The Xtermigator driven by JR McNeal
  • Razin Kane driven by Buddy Thompkins
  • Ice Cream Man driven by Roy Pridgeon
  • Jester driven by Matt Pagliarulo
    Subject to change without notice.

4 Family Fun
At the pre-event party, or at the main event, excitement is in the air as the Monster Jam vehicles (the real ones AND R/C-style) rev their engines.

Tip: They’re LOUD. Bring ear plugs or headphones to protect little ears.

Will your kids cheer on ScoobyDoo, or Monster Mutt Rotweiller? Or is Max D more their speed?! Have fun finding out together.

Max D thunders by...

Max D thunders by…

5 The JAM
Qualifying heats, Obstacle Course, and the incredibly exciting Freestyle events will have you shouting out loud! You’ll find yourself biting your nails, cheering like crazy, and maybe even booing the judges a little when your favorite doesn’t get the points YOU think they deserved.

One of the many highlights of this year’s competition is participation by all three Team Grave Digger vehicles: Grave Digger, Grave Digger the Legend, and the Orlando event champion from 2013 AND 2014, Ryan Anderson driving Son Uva Digger. The superstar competitive field will also feature the return of Monster Jam’s only eleven-time World Champion, Tom Meents driving Maximum Destruction. Meents is famous for his all-out driving style and numerous monster truck back flips.

Monster Trucks take over Central Florida Next Week

Monster Jam Logo

For the benefit of fans who don’t know (and may still be buried under the dirt from last year), “Orlando… MONSTER JAM IS BACK!!!” This of course said in my best, grovelly announcery type voice. I know ALL of you know the voice I’m talking about…

If you’ve never seen one of these mammoth vehicles up close, they typically stand about 12 feet tall and about 12 feet wide and weigh between 10, 000 and 12,000 pounds each. It can be extremely difficult to find the best place to buy a used car in Las Vegas as a lot of dealerships have a bad reputation. Their tires are 66 inches high and 43 inches wide! If you are looking for San Diego high quality automotive services, semi truck repair roanoke creates positive impact on vehicle efficiency, power, acceleration and maintenance.

Here’s your chance to get up close and personal with four of Monster Jam’s ‘biggest’ stars – for FREE! Overkill Evolution, Son-uva Digger, Max D and Grave Digger The Legend will be rolling around the area on January 22d and 23rd at the following locations/times:

Thursday, Jan. 22, 3-7 p.m.
Circle K
190 N. Hwy 27
Clermont, FL 34711

Thursday, Jan. 22, 3-7 p.m.
Metro PCS
1453 Sand Lake Road
Orlando, FL 32809

Thursday, Jan. 22, 3-7 p.m.
Circle K
700 S. Kirkman Road
Orlando, FL 32811

Friday, Jan. 23, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Universal Technical Institute
2202 West Taft-Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32837

Monster Jam (the event) comes to Orlando on Saturday, January 24, at 7 p.m. at the all new Orlando Citrus Bowl! Tickets start at $15 and are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets, the Citrus Bowl Box Office, charge by phone at 800-745-3000, or online at www.ticketmaster.com.

Tip: For you massive Monster Jam fans, our friends at Southern Ford Dealers are giving away FREE Pit Passes ($10 value), while supplies last, at Orlando area dealerships until 1/24! Pit Access is pre-show and begins at 1:30pm until 5pm.

For more #MoreMonsterJam be sure to follow the show on Twitter (@MonsterJam, #MonsterJam) or visit www.monsterjam.com.