Orlando - April 10, 2015 - On Friday Orlando City Soccer Club traveled to Portland, OR, for the first of two consecutive away games. The Lions face the Timbers on Sunday, April 12 at Providence Park.
After an inaugural attendance figure of 62,510 and an average of over 42,600 in attendance for the first 3 home games, Orlando City SC is in Portland to square off against a team that many would call the recipe for success in MLS - and one of the noisiest crowds in MLS to go along with it.
“They have a passion for the sport,” said Orlando City goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, who has played 3 seasons for the Timbers, from 2012 to 2014. “I think it's a similar environment from what we’ve been experiencing in Orlando, because the fans show up early, they’re always singing, doesn't matter what the scoreline is, no matter what minute of the game, they’re behind the team, supporting the team. So I think we have a similar set of fans even though our stadium is much bigger. Once we get in our new stadium (in 2016), a smaller, more compact venue, the atmosphere will be very, very similar.”
After recovering from injuries, Colombians Carlos Rivas and Cristian Higuita are two important passengers on this trip to Oregon, giving coach Coach Adrian Heath some great options when constructing the starting XI.
“I feel 100%,” said Rivas. “I can’t wait to score my first goal for Orlando City, but what really matters is to come back from Portland with a win.”
Midfielder Cristian Higuita, 21, one of the most effective players in Orlando City’s MLS debut against New York City FC has spent three weeks recovering from a hamstring injury. Higuita is competing with El Salvador National Team star Darwin Cerén for a spot in the starting lineup this week.
“Darwin has been playing very well," said Higuita. “It’s a healthy battle, good for the team.”
While Orlando City has played well on the road, the Portland Timbers and their hostile crowd will do everything in their power not to suffer their first home loss of the season, after a seven game undefeated home stretch.