While the Orlando City Soccer Club has been preparing for its move to MLS by pursuing global stars such as the recently acquired Kaka and potential transfer Robinho, the club’s first MLS signee is having a breakout season in USL PRO.
Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino hasn’t had a lot of time to ponder what the 2015 roster might look like while helping the Lions (14-0-4, 46 points) remain unbeaten by way of an offensive explosion unlike any in his career.
“As a player that’s already signed for MLS [in Orlando] you always wonder who will come in and who you’ll be playing with next year,” Molino said. “It’s great to see that a couple big names want to come here. It shows we’ve been doing some good over the past couple years.”
Entering Sunday’s match at Rochester, Molino leads the league in points (29) and assists (7) and ranks third in goals scored with 11 in 17 appearances.
It’s been a week of transition for the Orlando City Soccer Club and its most loyal of fans, the two recognized supporter groups that gather at one end of the stadium each match and lead the crowd in passionate chants.
Last night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney the club implemented stiffer guidelines as they look to adhere to a more formal code of conduct for fans before moving up to Major League Soccer next year.
It was a moved that was forced upon the club after Orlando City fans brought embarrassment to the brand last Sunday during a road match against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, where four fans were arrested and many others ejected from the stadium.
The World Cup is just around the corner, and the preparation for some countries has shaken up the Orlando City Soccer Club’s roster.
The Lions went into Saturday’s match against the Montreal Impact Reserves riding an unbeaten streak of 12 games, but were without three key contributors due to national team obligations.
I talked to Orlando City coach Adrian Heath about how the club would handle those losses and also asked him his thoughts about English Premier League midfielder Brek Shea, who spent a little more than a week recently training with the team.
What a busy month it’s been for the Orlando City Soccer Club. The Lions took part in nine matches throughout the month of May and although they came away with great results, there’s been plenty of wear and tear along the way.
Despite falling to one of Italy’s best clubs in a friendly a couple weeks ago, Orlando City remains unbeaten in USL PRO through 12 matches after getting a win over Charleston on Saturday. Just a few days earlier they advanced to the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup by way of a win over Tampa Bay.
On Wednesday the Orlando City Soccer Club hosted the Charlotte Eagles in a rematch of last season’s USL PRO championship game. Kevin Molino made the most of the rematch as he finished the night with three goals to keep Orlando City unbeaten 11 matches into the season.
Last year the USL PRO’s Orlando City Soccer Club advanced to the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup before losing to Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire in the round of eight. The Lions got an early start on matching their deep run of 2013 on Wednesday by scoring a 4-1 win over the USL Premier Development League’s Ocala Stampede in the second round.
Orlando City will play its next five matches at home beginning May 21. The defending champion Lions are currently unbeaten on the season and atop the league table with a 6-0-3 (21 points) record. The last time Orlando City was at home they won their fifth in a row against the Oklahoma City Energy on May 4.
I also took a look at how Orlando City fans are preparing for the 2015 MLS season now that the team announced it would have to wait a little longer than expected to move into their new soccer-specific stadium in downtown Orlando.
The Orlando City Soccer Club will join Major League Soccer in 2015 after finishing out their final season this year in USL Pro. While the Lions remain focused on defending their league title, there’s plenty of work being done to ensure the transition to the big leagues goes as smooth as possible.
Orlando City currently has five players under contract for 2015. I chatted with Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath last week about the signings and what they might mean for the club at the next level.