Tag Archives: Orlando City 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!



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.


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!


Show Your Local Love at Canvs on June 5th

Since we were founded in 2009, Central Florida Top 5 has been all about celebrating the amazing things happening here in our region.

We’ve cheered on SunRail and the Dr. Phillips Center. We’ve covered the opening of the Orlando Eye and the arrival of cool new businesses like Gods and Monsters. We’ve walked a mile in her shoes and learned how sharing bikes can get us all farther.

Now, coming up on June 5th, from 3pm to 9pm, all citizens of Orlando are invited to a community celebration of everything we love about The City Beautiful. Macbeth Photography is holding a very special edition of their monthly “First Friday” photography event series at Canvs in the Church Street Exchange building.

Working with artist Nathan Selikoff of Local Notebooks, the Macbeth team researched all of the official neighborhoods of downtown Orlando and created a hand-painted map that showcases each neighborhood and the community as a whole. Here’s how it looks:

Central Florida events First Friday Fotos Local Love

For $20, you get a 5-10 minute photoshoot in front of this beautiful map. One of the images will be lightly retouched and made available via Facebook; all the others will be available for download later. Food and drink vendors will be present, but have yet to be announced.

The proceeds from the Local Love event will go to benefit the work of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness (CFCH). Wondering who they are? You might recognize this video as their work:

Possibly better known as the organization behind the Rethink Homelessness campaign on Facebook, the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness is ultimately responsible for conducting the research and coordinating the implementation of community-wide solutions to the homelessness crisis. Their leadership has helped to put Orlando on the path to making homelessness brief, one-time, and rare.

In addition to donating the event’s proceeds to the Commission, attendees of the Local Love event will be encouraged to write on signs inspired by the Cardboard Stories video embedded above. You can either share something you love about Orlando, or hold up a pre-made sign in support of Orlando’s journey to ending homelessness.

Central Florida Local Love Mayor Dyer Kay Rawlins Phil Rawlins Bess Auer

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando City Soccer leaders Phil and Kay Rawlins, FLBlogCon founder Bess Auer, and other community members are already standing up to show their support. (We did too!)

What makes you want to show your local love for Orlando and Central Florida? RSVP on Facebook today!

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 Stadium Groundbreaking Set for October! Details!

Ceremonial Event to Feature Downtown Celebration

Orlando City SC and the City of Orlando has  announced the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Downtown Soccer Stadium will take place on October 16, 2014, beginning at 5:00 p.m. The event will be open to the public and fans are encouraged to participate.

Specific details of the event will be released in the coming weeks but it will be held on the property located on the northwest corner of Church Street and Parramore Avenue.

October 16 will be a landmark day for the community of Parramore, the City of Orlando, Orange County, our fans and our Club,” said Orlando City President and Founder Phil Rawlins. “We look forward to hosting an unforgettable, festive celebration to mark the ceremonial start of construction of what will be the best soccer stadium in the league.”

Photo from orlandocitysc.com

Photo from orlandocitysc.com

The Downtown Soccer Stadium is a 20,000-seat, state of the art venue designed to host Major League Soccer and other world class events. The stadium will be home to Orlando City SC beginning in the 2016 MLS season.

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

‘Orlando believes in MLS’ #Mission15k Goal MET!


‘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!


Orlando City Soccer Defeats Seattle Sounders Reserves in Front of Record Crowd

Valentino and Molino score early, propel Lions into tie for first place!

Orlando City SC defeated the visiting Seattle Sounders Reserves 2-0 on Sunday, August 11, in front of 10,697 fans, marking a regular season attendance record at Fifth Third Bank Field at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Kevin Molino and Rob Valentino were the goal-scorers for Orlando, propelling City back into a tie first place in the USL PRO with the Richmond Kickers.

“One of the most pleasing performances of the season,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath after the win. “As a unit, from the front to the back, I thought we played really well.”

The Lions had a terrific start to the match, when Molino collected an errant pass deep in the Sounders’ territory in the first minute of play. The Trinidadian ran at the Seattle defense and had Strikers Dennis Chin and Jean Alexandre in space, but decided to go for goal on his own.

The 2012 USL PRO MVP hit a hard strike from just outside the area, causing a deflection off Sounders’ Defender Zach Scott and into the back of the net to give City an early one-goal lead. Molino’s effort came just 36 seconds into the match, and marked the fastest goal in the club’s history.

Seattle responded moments later with a chance of its own, when Striker David Estrada found himself on the end of a well-placed cross. Estrada’s timed his run to perfection and nearly scored, but defensive stallion Rob Valentino was there to clear it off the line.

As the half ensued, City held the majority of possession and looked threatening each time they ventured forward into Seattle’s defensive third. Midfielders Luke Boden and Kevin Molino were heavily involved in each of the attacking plays; however Valentino would be the one to provide the Lions with their second goal of the half.

The defender’s goal stemmed from a corner kick, when Midfielder Anthony Pulis swung in a curling ball to the near-post. Valentino surged past the Seattle defense and used the outside of his foot to flick the ball past Sounders Goalkeeper Andrew Weber in the 30th minute.

Seattle also held several chances of their own through the first 45, showing their MLS quality in brief spells. However, skipper Miguel Gallardo and the Lion’s back-line remained firm and maintained a clean-sheet heading into halftime.

To begin the second half, Seattle’s defense looked a bit sharper than it did in the opening period. The gaping holes that allowed Alexandre and Dennis Chin to get in behind and create opportunities were tightened up, and moving forward became more difficult for the Lions’ attacking players.

However, Heath brought on Chinese Striker Long Tan for Alexandre early in the second-half, providing energy and fresh legs to the City front-line. Shortly after his entry, Tan began combining effectively with Molino and Chin in the final third, yielding several chances.

Chin found himself on the end of a few of those opportunities and was unlucky to not convert after hitting the crossbar in what seemed to be a clear-cut chance. Despite their probing efforts, the second-half would remain scoreless and the match would finish with a resounding 2-0 victory in favor of Orlando.

The win clinches a potential home semi-final match for the Lions, which is scheduled for Friday, August 30. Moving forward, Orlando has a stretch of crucial matches. City is set to travel to play the Kickers in Richmond, VA., on Wednesday, August 14, in what could potentially determine who takes home the 2013 USL PRO Regular Season Championship. The Lions will then return home to take on the Charlotte Eagles, on August 17, before their quarter-final playoff match- set for Saturday, August 24. The playoff match will kickoff at 7:30 p.m., and the opponent is yet to be determined.

About Orlando City Soccer Club: A premier professional soccer sports franchise in the United States and is a member of the USL PRO. The Lion’s pro team has won two regular season titles and one postseason championship during their short time in Orlando. Outside of the pro squad, OCSC also has their own youth club, Orlando City Youth Soccer (OCYS) and a U23s team that participates in the PDL. For more information on the pro and youth clubs, visit www.orlandocitysoccer.com and www.orlandocityyouth.org.