It’s been almost a full year since Orlando City Stadium was completed. A mixture of emotions have run through the venue in its inaugural year. With the beginning of the stadium’s first year coming in Orlando City’s season opener against New York City FC, to the last game it hosted this year, the staff “OCSC Classico”. It’s been quite a first year with a soccer specific stadium in downtown Orlando, with more exciting times set for year two.
Since the new soccer cathedral opened downtown, all who have visited, played in it or saw it on tv have praised the building as a true home for soccer and a model stadium for MLS. A mixture of factors have made the stadium one of the best in the league, such as the technological advances in the stadium, like the 583 wireless hotspots that line the stands, or the design of the stadium itself, with its steep grade and angled roofs, that allows anyone in the stadium to have a perfect view of the field and keeps the noise inside the venue.
The stadium proved throughout the season to be a huge benefit for both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride on the field, as they were able to pull out results with the crowds backing them. The Lions went on an incredible run in the beginning, with the noise and atmosphere the crowd created amplified ten fold from the old Camping World Stadium. The Pride also enjoyed a successful home season in the new stadium, getting results in 10 of their 12 home matches, while averaging the second most attendance in the NWSL.
Orlando City Stadium was featured on its biggest stage in October, as it hosted a World Cup Qualifier for the U.S. Men’s National Team against Panama. The crowd and atmosphere bolstered the U.S to a 4-0 win and drew praise from both players and coaches of the USMNT, calling it a fortress and a destination for future U.S. games to be played.
Even in the stadium’s final games hosted on the year, the Women’s College Cup, the coaches and players praised the venue. South Carolina Head Coach Shelley Smith called the stadium “phenomenal” and that her team were “honored to play here.”
Multiple news outlets have praised the stadium as well, with Four Four Two calling it one of the toughest places to play, while The Guardian ranked it as the best stadium in MLS. Mlssoccer.com reiterated many others opinions, calling at a “fortress” for the home team and it guarantees a “packed house and a roaring, electric mood."
As the final few weeks of 2017 come to a close, year two with Orlando City Stadium up and running looks to bring even more great soccer to the city of Orlando, with different tournaments and the MLS and NWSL seasons starting up in March. So strap in for 2018 and an even better year at Orlando City Stadium.