Orlando City has made Club history with nearly everything they’ve done this season. Their first game, their first goal, their first home win. They even made a bit of MLS history when they became the first expansion team to defeat a reigning MLS Cup Champion by more than three goals when they defeated the L.A. Galaxy 4-0. Sunday night in the steamy Orlando Citrus Bowl, though, they were part of the first official hydration break in MLS history.
But when you think about it, it doesn’t come as a surprise. Every Floridian knows how hot it gets during the summer (even though summer doesn’t officially start until June 21).
So how about that? It’s technically not even summer yet and the City Beautiful’s scorching heat and humidity demanded that referees pause action in the 30th minute and then again in the 75th minute.
“I didn’t know it was coming, it was a little bit of a surprise” said Lewis Neal, “but it was welcomed. It was my second game back, I was definitely happy to get a little bit of a break and get some fluids. It was a surprise, but I think it needs to be done in the weather and heat here, for sure.”
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For the first time in 2015, league rules mandate that hydration breaks be taken if the temperature reaches 89.6 degrees or higher. The temperature at kickoff hovered around 90 degrees, but that didn’t take Florida’s hallmark humidity into account, which was measured at 50 percent.
“It’s never easy,” said head coach Adrian Heath of playing in the heat. “I don’t think you ever get used to playing in conditions like that. We’re having [hydration] breaks now, which is something I wish they’d had when I was playing, but that was a long time ago.”
In 2009 in Houston, a game between the Dynamo and Real Salt Lake was paused for a hydration break. At the time, league rules didn’t mandate such breaks in the action. The rules have since been adjusted in the wake of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where the Brazilian heat prompted officials to take first hydration break in World Cup history during the match between the United States and Portugal.