USL Pro

MLS fans flocking to Citrus Bowl to catch Orlando City Soccer Club

( The following is a story I wrote for the May 30, 2015 edition of Lions Roar, the gameday magazine of Major League Soccer’s Orlando City Soccer Club, exploring the continued support of a legion of loyal soccer fans throughout Central Florida )

You need only to cruise the pavement of Central Florida and tally the number of OCSC magnets adorning vehicles for proof. Or stroll the sidewalks of downtown Orlando wearing the club’s trademark purple and keep tabs on the responses you receive.

It’s as though lifelong relationships are being made by the thousands in 2015.

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Whether it’s the club’s work in the community or the inviting presence of its leaders around town, purple pride is spreading throughout the state at an uncontainable rate.

“I remember when we first started going to games and there was maybe a couple thousand people in the stands,” said Randy Badilo, a season ticket holder in section 110 who has supported the club since its inception. “Then at the start of this year we sell out the entire Citrus Bowl for the first game, and it’s been incredible ever since.”

Boosted by home crowds of 62,510 in the club’s MLS debut against New York City FC on March 8 and 40,122 against the defending champion LA Galaxy a little more than two months later, Orlando City is averaging 37,446 fans at home this season compared to an average of just over 20,000 for the league as a whole.

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Orlando City Soccer Club poised for grand return to Citrus Bowl

The Orlando City Soccer Club called the Florida Citrus Bowl home for three of their four seasons in USL PRO before spending last year at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports.

With an agreement reached late Wednesday between Major League Soccer and its players’ union, the Lions will make a grand return to the Citrus Bowl on Sunday for their first MLS match against New York City FC at 5 p.m.

The club expects 62,000 fans to be on hand for what is shaping up to be the biggest sporting event in the area in recent memory.

The last time OCSC played at the Citrus Bowl – on September 7, 2013 – Dom Dwyer scored four goals and the Lions claimed their second league title in three years with a 7-4 win over the Charlotte Eagles.

The announced crowd that night? A respectable 20,886.

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Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Soccer Futurist Ted Westervelt talks about state of the sport in United States

The Orlando City Soccer Club opens its Major League Soccer season March 8 after dominating the competition the past four years in the lower-division USL PRO.

That’s if players don’t strike while demanding free agency and fair wages from MLS as collective bargaining conversations continue this month.

On Saturday I was joined by “soccer futurist” Ted Westervelt of Soccer Reform and Pot Hunting on AM 740 The Game to talk about the current CBA situation, the lack of promotions/relegation in the US, and other soccer topics here stateside.

Be sure to follow Ted Westervelt on Twitter and take part in what you love and hate about his opinions. From my point of view, it’s safe to say he’s fairly acclimated to the abuse by now.

Carnahan Coverage: Estrela & Rafael Ramos making most of time with Orlando City Soccer Club

When Estrela and Rafael Ramos each earned Major League Soccer contracts with the Orlando City Soccer Club in August the move from Portugal to Florida was made easier because of their existing friendship, forged under the youth soccer system of Benfica.

The 19-year olds played out the final month of the USL PRO season with the Lions this year and joined Portugal’s U-20 national team this month in what’s proved to be a busy stretch away from family and friends.

In just a matter of months they’ll continue the journey when they make their professional debuts with Orlando City as members of MLS in March.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s feature on Estrela & Rafael Ramos for MLSSoccer.com – )

Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City Soccer Club trades for Houston Dynamo goalie Tally Hall

The Orlando City Soccer Club is a long way away from being ready for the start of the 2015 Major League Soccer season. Finding MLS experience to fill out the roster is a top priority this offseason as the Lions make a move from the minor leagues to the top division in North America.

Last week I caught up with OCSC general manager Paul McDonough and president Phil Rawlins about the pending acquisition of Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall, who started in back-to-back MLS Cup matches in 2011 and 2012.

(– Click here to read J.C.’s story on Tally Hall coming to Orlando for MLSSoccer.com –)

Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City Soccer Club embraces past with new Major League Soccer look

The Orlando City Soccer Club unveiled a new kit for the 2015 Major League Soccer season Wednesday. The club left no stone unturned when designing the new look, which honors its four minor league seasons with several different features. Check out the details in the photo below and marvel at its uniqueness, in all its purple glory.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story for Major League Soccer about new look and season tickets – )

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Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City Soccer Club preps for Major League Soccer Expansion Draft

There’s so much to be done before the Orlando City Soccer Club even steps foot on the pitch as a Major League Soccer participant at the start of the 2015 season. Among the many obstacles to navigate is the MLS Expansion Draft on Dec. 10 as Orlando City joins New York City FC in each selecting 10 players from those made available by current clubs.

( – Click here to read J.C.s story for MLSSoccer.com about OCSC preparing for Expansion Draft – )

Orlando City currently has just 10 players under contract for 2015 after defender Luke Boden and midfielder Harrison Heath finalized contracts with the club on Monday. Boden has spent the past four seasons with the Lions while Heath joined Orlando City near the end of the 2014 USL PRO season.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story for MLSSoccer.com about Boden and Heath signing contracts – )

Carnahan Chronicles Radio: College Football, Fantasy Football, Orlando Magic & Orlando City Soccer Club

On Saturday I was joined by producer Chris Vazquez to talk about Florida State vs. North Carolina State and Ohio State vs. Cincinnati before debating the Carnahan Chronicles College Football Rankings.

( – Click here to listen to J.C. and Chris talk college football on Saturday – )

Chris also broke down his top fantasy football options for this week.

We closed the show by talking about the Orlando Magic and upcoming NBA season and recognizing Orlando City Soccer Club’s Kevin Molino for being named most valuable player in USL Pro this season.

( – Click here to listen to J.C. and Chris talk fantasy football, Orlando Magic & Orlando City – )

Carnahan Coverage: Aftermath of Orlando City Soccer Club Playoff Loss

The Orlando City Soccer Club is now entirely focused on a move to Major League Soccer in 2015 after suffering an upset loss in the opening round of the USL-PRO postseason Saturday.

Despite the impressive run over the past four years for the club, the way it all ended won’t soon be forgotten.

On Tuesday Orlando City released all but three players from the 2014 USL Pro roster. The Lions are currently in negotiations to retain defender Luke Boden, Adama Mbengue and Harrison Heath.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story on Kevin Molino reacting to loss for Orlando Sentinel – )

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story on Adrian Heath reacting to loss for Major League Soccer – )

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story on Orlando City’s 2015 roster for Major League Soccer – )

Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City Soccer Club Falls Short in Final USL Pro Postseason Run

On Saturday the Orlando City Soccer Club suffered its first home loss in 20 matches at the worst possible time.

The Lions, the USL Pro regular season champions, lost 1-0 to eighth-seeded Harrisburg City in the first round of the playoffs at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports. The setback ended a bid at capturing a third title in four years for the defending champs before moving up to Major League Soccer in 2015.

Defender Tommy Redding, just 17-years of age, played the entire 90 minutes. He compared the loss to how he felt when he and current teammate Tyler Turner played together on the U-17 National Team and became the first group to fail to qualify for the World Cup a year ago.

“It was tough, but because of that process it makes this a little bit easier, but not too much,” Redding said. “I’ve felt this pain, but not as high of a scale. I was brothers with the guys at Bradenton (home of the U-17 residency program) but wasn’t as close as all my teammates here in Orlando, so it’s really tough.”

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story on Tommy Redding and Tyler Turner for Major League Soccer – )

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Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City Caps Final USL PRO Regular Season Match with Win

The Orlando City Soccer Club played its final USL PRO regular season game Saturday, winning 1-0 over Richmond on a goal by Kevin Molino in the 23rd minute.

The win improves the Lions to 45-4-10 all-time in league matches at home, setting them up in good position for a run at their third championship in four years with home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s recap of Orlando City vs. Richmond for Orlando Sentinel – )

( – Click here to read J.C.’s preview of Orlando City’s regular season finale for Orlando Sentinel – )

Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Updates on Orlando City, MLB Standings, WNBA Finals, FIBA World Cup, NASCAR

On Saturday we opened the show on AM 740 The Game talking about the final regular season game in USL PRO for the Orlando City Soccer Club before going on to talk about current standings in Major League Baseball, the start of the WNBA Finals, the lack of interest in the FIBA World Cup and the final race of the NASCAR regular season.

( – Click here to listen to J.C. and Chris open the show with topics from around world of sports – )

Carnahan Coverage: Kevin Molino Dedicates Hat Trick to Injured Teammate Yordany Alvarez

Orlando City Soccer Club midfielder Kevin Molino added three more goals to his USL-PRO leading total Sunday in a 7-0 thrashing of the Dayton Dutch Lions at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The hat trick is the second of the year for Molino and gives him 19 goals on the season.

When Molino collected himself for the post game presser he made it a point to dedicate his three-goal effort to Yordany Alvarez, who after suffering an injury during a game June 7 was forced to retire from the sport last week. The disarming comments made by Molino about his teammate were a change of pace from the typical answers he’s given to questions in the past.

As Molino knows, the games must go on. With just two regular season games remaining the Lions are in position to wrap up the regular season title and earn home field advantage throughout the postseason.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story about Yordany Alvarez for Major League Soccer – )

( – Click here to read J.C.’s recap for Orlando Sentinel of OCSC’s 7-0 win over Dayton – )

( – Click here to read J.C.’s advance for Orlando Sentinel about returning from road trip – )

Carnahan Coverage: Kevin Molino Sets New USL-PRO Record For Goals Scored in a Season

I talked to Orlando City Soccer Club’s Kevin Molino and a couple of his teammates who’ve played alongside him over the past four years for a feature on the midfielder for the Orlando Sentinel.

Molino, who set a new USL PRO single-season record for goals scored last Saturday, is one of five current players looking to wrap up their third title in four years with the Lions when the playoffs open next month.

As much as I’ve already written about Molino this season, it turns out there was even more to be expressed. Not all of the quotes I gathered from Molino, Orlando City coach Adrian Heath, goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo and defender Rob Valentino could fit into the story. So I’ve provided them below. Enjoy.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s feature on Kevin Molino for the Orlando Sentinel – )

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Carnahan Coverage: Kevin Molino Ties USL-PRO Record in 3-1 Win

The Orlando City Soccer Club secured a home playoff game in the opening round of the USL PRO postseason on Saturday and extended their home winning streak to 17 matches in a 3-1 win over Harrisburg City.

Kevin Molino notched his 15th goal of the season in the win, tying the league’s single-season mark set a year ago by Orlando City loanee Dom Dwyer and Jose Angulo of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

( – Click here to read my follow-up on Kevin Molino’s efforts for MLSsoccer.com – )

( – Click here to read my recap of Orlando City’s win over Harrisburg City for Orlando Sentinel – )

( – Click here to read my preview of Orlando City vs. Harrisburg City for Orlando Sentinel – )