This Friday will mark a historic day in Orlando’s soccer history, as the U.S. Men’s National Team play a World Cup Qualifying match at Orlando City Stadium. This is not the first time the City of Orlando has hosted a U.S. National team game, however, it will be the first big international match to be held at Orlando’s new soccer specific stadium.
The Women’s National team has played in Orlando before, as recently as 2015, but the Men’s National team have not been to the City Beautiful since January of 1998, almost 20 years ago, when the U.S. beat Sweden, 1-0, at the Citrus Bowl, now known as Camping World Stadium.
The match on Friday marks only the fourth time the U.S. have played in Orlando with all the matches having been played in the Citrus Bowl. In the three games prior, the U.S. have only won once, which was their most recent trip mentioned above.
This qualifying game is the first USMNT game played in Orlando that has actual future implications in qualifications. The first three were merely international friendlies, which makes this Friday match all the more important for the city of Orlando and the U.S.
The two other international friendlies on the men’s side were played in the early 90’s. Both games, they came up just short, losing by 1-0 score lines. The first of those came at the hands of Australia on June 13, 1992 in front of 17,400 fans — the largest Orlando crowd for a USMNT match to this date. The U.S. also lost 1-0 in Orlando to Russia on Feb. 13, 1993.
Outside of the senior team, Orlando also hosted an Olympic qualifying match back in March of 1980, where the U.S. U-23 team beat Suriname, 2-1, but the U.S. ultimately boycotted the Olympics that year, so the result was a moot point.
Historically speaking, this is the most important U.S. match played in Orlando to this date. Tickets are still available, so now is the time to pick yours up, so you don’t miss this historic match.