ORLANDO – September 4, 2014 – On Sunday, August 31, 2014, Orlando City SC played its 100th USL PRO match and entered the U.S. soccer record books by compiling an incredible 66-12-22 record – the best record of any professional U.S. soccer team in its first 100 league games – including an indomitable 44-4-10 record at home. During the 100 matches, the Lions displayed remarkable offensive prowess scoring 192 goals.
Last night, the team captured its third Commissioner’s Cup in four years, and has now set its sights on a third USL PRO Championship. The squad aims to conclude its reign of the USL PRO on top before jumping to Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2015. While there is no relegation/promotion system in the U.S., Orlando City will be the only USL PRO team to end atop the league standings before transitioning to MLS.
Orlando City’s success on the field continues to draw the attention of fans and the media. A recent survey by BrotherlyGame.com ranked the top 100 clubs in North America based on their performance on the pitch. Listed as 14th, the Lions were the top-rated USL PRO team and placed ahead of several established Major League Soccer clubs.
Very few teams in the history of U.S. professional soccer, dating back to the American Soccer League (ASL) in the 1920’s, have come close to registering such a resounding start in their first 100 games – making the Lions’ reign in USL PRO extra special.
Here’s a look at a few legendary teams that were surpassed by City’s feat:
• Bethlehem Steel F.C. – This storied club is one of the most successful teams in the ASL and is long revered as a pioneer of U.S. soccer. In its first seasons, Beth Steel went 64-20-16. Legendary striker Archibald "Archie" Stark held the single-season goal record (70) for 87 years until it was finally broken by current-day football star Lionel Messi.
• Tampa Bay Rowdies – The North American Soccer League inaugural Soccer Bowl champions, the Rowdies posted a 64-36 record in their first 100 matches. The team featured Englishman Rodney Marsh and Mike Connell of South Africa.
• DC United – One of the ten charter clubs in MLS, and the league’s most successful club at the start, DC United instantly became a soccer powerhouse. With players like Raul Diaz Arce, Marco Etcheverry and Steve Rammel (current Executive Director of Orlando City Youth Soccer), the team won back-to-back MLS Cups in 1996 and 1997, compiling a 64-36 record over their first 100 matches.
Reflecting on the squad’s success, Founder and President Phil Rawlins said, “It is incredibly humbling to look back and see the tremendous success Coach Adrian and the squad has experienced in our first 100 games. Their passion, dedication and commitment to the ongoing improvement of our players and our performance on the pitch have created magical moments for our fans, including capturing two Commissioner’s Cups and two USL PRO Championships. They play truly top quality soccer for the City Beautiful. We look forward to closing out the USL PRO campaign with some additional hardware, and continuing our success in MLS in 2015.”