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 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.
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.
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.