On Friday night, Orlando City SC take on New York City FC in their final regular season home game of their inaugural MLS campaign. The Lions have been on a tear, winning their last four matches to keep the Club’s playoff hopes alive. With everything on the line this match will be the biggest “Can’t Miss” sporting event in Orlando this year. Here’s why:
5. Flash to the Past
This may be Orlando’s first year in MLS, but the history of soccer in the city has been in the making since 1985, when the Orlando Lions first took the scene. This Friday night, more than 40 former players from the Orlando Lions, Orlando Sundogs, and Orlando City SC will be in attendance for the Club’s first Alumni Association Weekend. Come out to honor some of the players who have helped make soccer in Orlando what it is today.
4. The Rematch
Many of you were there on March 8th – 62,510 of you to be exact. It was a heated match between two freshly minted expansion sides that ended with one of the most unforgettable moments in Orlando sports history. 32 games later the two teams will meet again - this time with a potential playoff berth on the line for Orlando City. You can be sure this game will be every bit as memorable as the last.
3. Friday Night Lights
The town shuts down early, supporters are tailgating by noon, and the lights are shining bright in the Orlando Citrus Bowl. If you missed the only other Friday home match of the season (A thrilling 2-2 draw against New England on May 8th), then you missed one of the best crowds of the season. There is something about Friday night matches that bring out that party vibe. You can just feel it in the air as the city of Orlando descends on the pitch to let all their work week frustrations fly at the opposition.
2. World Stars on Display
NYCFC are sporting a few big time players that weren’t present when the teams squared off on March 8th. Both Chelsea legend Frank Lampard and Italian star Andrea Pirlo have since joined the team.
Lampard made his debut for New York on August 1st after a storied career in the English Premier League. With an astonishing 262 goals, he currently sits fourth on the all-time goal scores list for the league.
The 36 year old Pirlo made his debut for NYCFC on July 26th in New York against Orlando City. Not only did Pirlo spend a combined fifteen years between historic clubs Milan and Juventus, but he is also the fourth-most caped player in Italian National Team history.
1. City Needs its 12th Man
As Orlando City continues toward a potential playoff bid, the support of its screaming, tireless and wildly loyal fan base will be as important as ever. This match has the potential to be the second-highest attended match of the year – bookending the regular season with unforgettable moments. Don’t miss your chance to be there and watch City make history again!