Just one week after Orlando City’s new soccer specific venue was on display for the U.S. Men’s National team, the women’s game took center stage as Orlando hosted the NWSL Championship Saturday evening. The Portland Thorns managed to pull out a 1-0 victory over the North Carolina Courage in what turned out to be a very close, physical match.
Just over 8,124 fans came to the stadium to take in the match. Many from the Orlando area, but there was a good amount of traveling support from both the Thorns and Courage that manned the Wall to support their sides. Their voices and support they brought throughout the match added a bit of flair to the game and gave the local soccer crowd a chance to experience how other supporters cheer on their teams.
After the match, the North Carolina Courage Head Coach Paul Riley spoke on his thoughts on the stadium, the fans and Orlando as a whole.
“I think it’s great. I think the facilities are fantastic,” Riley said, “I think that every Orlando fan was on our side tonight, which was fantastic. The Orlando support has been excellent. Otherwise good atmosphere with the two supporter groups from each place obviously took a big plus for that one. The field conditions were excellent, considering all the games on it. We've enjoyed our time in Orlando.”
Amanda Duffy, the managing director of operations of the NWSL, also was incredibly complimentary of Orlando City Stadium. Duffy, who announced the venue choice for the championship game earlier this year, was impressed with the supporters and venue itself as it hosted its first ever championship match.
It was truly exciting and a wonderful environment for the league and for both teams to be here at this stadium,” Duffy said after the match. “World class venue, a brand new venue. The crowd that came out tonight really did a great job supporting the league and the teams. The supporter groups that traveled from North Carolina and Portland, really job well done from them and made this environment really special tonight.”
Orlando City Stadium will play host to a few more events before the year’s end. Orlando City will play one more match there, a game against the Puerto Rican National Team on November 4. Then, the stadium hosts the Division I Women’s College Cup on December 1st and 3rd to decide the college national champion.