Everyone knows Orlando City Stadium isn’t exactly an easy place to play on the road. The stadium has sold out every match this year, filling each seat with roaring Orlando City supporters, and the design of the stadium creates maximum discomfort for traveling teams. When Sporting Kansas City came to play the Lions on Saturday, they were focused on doing whatever it took to find a win.
But as the team competed in a hard fought match that ended in a 2-2 draw, Sporting Kansas City Head Coach Peter Vermes took in the atmosphere, and thought about what it meant for this organization, for this city, and ultimately, for this country. He was impressed.
“It’s fantastic. It’s a great environment, fans are into it for sure, and I think it’s fantastic for the league,” Vermes said. “As much as I deal with my team every day and you compete in situations like this, you also can’t help, in my position, but be a fan with all my time spent growing up with soccer in the United States and going through this league and playing overseas and everything else. It’s exciting what’s going on here. I think it’s tremendous. I think it’s great that the city is supporting the team the way that they are. It makes great environments, great games, and it’s exciting, it really is. It’s tremendous. Congratulations to Orlando because it’s a great situation to be in.”
Orlando City hosted U.S Men’s National Team Manager Bruce Arena for Saturday’s match, and he spoke before the game about why U.S Soccer chose Orlando City Stadium to host the final U.S World Cup qualifier (deep link). Vermes said that he believes the stadium will live up to the expectations, and that he believes it could be a venue for future U.S soccer events as well.
“It’s a great environment. First off, you love a tight environment,” Vermes said. “Having that kind of closeness and people right next to you, it changes that vibe for the players as well. And so I think, yeah, it will be a great environment for the U.S to play games here. No doubt, absolutely.”