Orlando City Stadium has witnessed some incredible matches since becoming the Club’s new home. Here’s our list of the top five moments so far in the Fortress:
#5: Evans, Marta Shine in Pride Opener
Date: April 22nd
Opponent: Washington Spirit
It didn’t take long for Orlando Pride rookie Danica Evans to open up her NWSL goal scoring account. Not only did Evans’ first goal come in style, it came when the Pride needed an equalizer deep into regulation time. Orlando City Stadium erupted when the fleet-footed Evans dribbled past the Spirit goalkeeper and finished into an open net. What a way to score her first goal as a professional.
This memorable match also featured Marta’s first appearance for the Pride. After joining the Club less than 48 hours earlier, Marta was fit and ready to debut for her new team. The legendary Brazilian was subbed in at the hour mark and gave Pride fans a glimpse of the world class quality she had brought with her to Orlando.
#4: Rivas’ Wonder Strike
Date: April 29th
Opponent: Colorado Rapids
Carlos Rivas came off the bench and delivered. The Lions were playing some of their best soccer of the season that day in Orlando City Stadium; their stellar play was rewarded by one of the goals of the season from Rivas.
Then, to seal the team’s victory, Kaka scored in stoppage time - marking his first goal of the MLS season. The goal was properly celebrated with purple smoke engulfing Kaka and his fellow Lions who were embracing fans at The Wall.
#3: Pride Leave No Doubt
Date: July 15th
Opponent: FC Kansas City
A record setting night for the Orlando Pride saw Alanna Kennedy, Alex Morgan, Toni Pressley, and Kristen Edmonds all score their first goals in Orlando City Stadium. The 4-1 victory gave Pride fans plenty to cheer about on a beautiful evening in Orlando. Ideal conditions, lights glistening the pitch, and 6,073 Pride fans in full voice made it a night to remember for everyone wearing Purple.
#2: Against All Odds
Date: June 4th
Opponent: Chicago Fire
Rain was pouring, drums were beating, and fans were believing. Everyone remembers the night 9-man Orlando City took a fully loaded Chicago Fire team the distance. The Fire were riding a four game winning streak and looked red hot coming into Orlando City Stadium. It took 100% commitment - and then some - for the Lions to hold off the Fire who had been gifted a two-man advantage courtesy of some questionable referee decisions.
The decisions were what they were; Orlando City had no time to pout or feel bad for themselves. Instead, the team dug in and faced a test that would push them to their limits. Players put their bodies on the line, Joe Bendik was spectacular, and the team grinded out one of the most intense 0-0 draws you’ll ever see.
#1: Welcome Home
Date: March 5th
Opponent: New York City FC
Soccer fans in the city of Orlando and across the state of Florida had been waiting for this day. The day when Orlando City SC would christen their new Fortress: Orlando City Stadium. This monumental event would have gone down in history regardless of the outcome; however it was fitting that the Lions won in front of the sold out crowd.
Cyle Larin scored the game’s only goal against Orlando City’s familiar foe, NYCFC. It was a thumping header in front of the south end of the Stadium and, as predicted, fans exploded with cheer when the ball hit the back of the net. These are the moments Orlando City SC fans will never forget.