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All you need to know about Orlando City SC

All you need to know about Orlando City SC

Joined MLS in 2015, replacing the USL team of the same name. They became the first MLS side in Florida since Tampa Bay Mutiny and Miami Fusion folded in 2001.

First game in 2015 was played against fellow newcomers New York City FC. The match was played at Orlando's Citrus Bowl stadium where 62,510 fans saw Kaka score an injury time equaliser to earn a point for Orlando in a 1-1 draw.

The Lions finished their first season in 7th place in the Eastern Conference, missing out on the end of season playoffs by a single point. Their form through the year prompted many fans to look for the bestunitedstatescasinos in an attempt to win big.

City have still yet to make the end of season playoffs, and have undergone several managerial changes in an attempt to qualify. Things are starting to look up though, with the club performing well in the post-COVID-19 "MLS is back" tournament which was played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. After beating new rivals Inter Miami and knocking out LAFC, the Lions went down 2-1 in the final to Seattle Sounders.

Stadium

Orlando started life in the MLS at the Citrus Bowl, a stadium which was first opened in 1936 and has hosted soccer and American football. The stadium hosted 5 matches at the 1994 World Cup including the Netherlands' 2-0 victory of Republic of Ireland in the Round of 16.

In 2017, Orlando moved into the new soccer specific Orlando City Stadium. The 25,500 capacity venue in downtown Orlando is close to the Citrus Bowl and the famous Amway Centre. It cost $155m to build and also hosts the women's team, Orlando City Pride.

I have been fortunate enough to visit both Orlando stadiums, you can read my thoughts about Orlando City Stadium (which was also my daughter's first ever match).

The atmosphere and pre-game build up in the US really is very different from what you find in Europe - with live music, tailgate barbecues and games including bean bag toss and even blackjack games for real money (probably).

Famous players

Brazilian legend and World Cup winner Kaka scored 24 goals in 74 games for the club when he became MLS' first ever designated player in 2015.

The Lions' current squad includes Portuguese forward Nani who is playing his second season for Orlando. Nani's glittering career includes spells at Sporting Clube de Portugal, Manchester United, Lazio, Valencia and Fenerbahce. Nani has also played over 100 times for Portugal and was part of the side that won the 2016 European. Championship.

Orlando's current squad also includes: Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallase, who led his national side to runners up in the 2019 Copa America; striker Dom Dwyer, who was born in England and is closing in on 100 MLS goals; Canadian international defender Kamal Miller; and highly-rated forward Chris Mueller, who has made over 70 appearances for the club.

Orlando have had a strong start to the 2020 season, only time will tell if this is their year to make the end of season play-offs.



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