Final Scrimmage

ORLANDO, Fla. – There were two main impressions for Orlando City SC’s players and coaches as they got to christen their new stadium with a 3-1 preseason victory over USL side St Louis FC on Saturday evening – the grass, and The Wall.


After two years at Camping World Stadium (previously known as the Citrus Bowl), the team will officially inaugurate Orlando City Stadium in Sunday's home opener against New York City FC in front of a sellout crowd of 25,500 (5 pm ET on ESPN). Ahead of the big day, the club welcomed St. Louis FC to break in the new grass field in front of a small group of a few hundred invitees in the stands.

Larin agreed that it had been an invaluable exercise before next Sunday’s season opener at home to New York City FC and he was quick to point out what in his eyes was the standout feature.


“The grass," Larin said. "It is so important. And it was very important to get used to it tonight, getting the feel for the width of the field, the length, and knowing where you are [positionally]. I think we showed today that we fit in well on this field.


“Yes, it’s a very nice stadium. I have played in a lot of stadiums in this league now but I think this is now the best in the league. But, for me, it’s the grass – it is just so nice to play on.”


Head coach Jason Kreis echoed his players’ feelings as he looked back on a worthwhile 90 minutes that was marred only by niggling injuries to stand-in fullback Tony Rocha and new center back signing Jonathan Spector, both of whom came off as a precautionary measure in the second half.


“We’re really, really pleased with how it’s come out,” Kreis said. “There is still some work to be done in the next week, but it looks great and it’s very nice to have a place to call home.”


Although the stadium’s unique all-standing supporters' section behind the north goal was empty, The Wall, as it is known, still looked a formidable sight under the high-tech LED lighting system, and Kreis was in no doubt about his main impression from walking out of the tunnel for the first time.


“It’s definitely The Wall,” he said. “I was walking over there before the game and thinking about having to take a penalty kick as an opposing player in front of that stand. I think it will be a very difficult task.”