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.
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.
After going scoreless in back-to-back matches for the first time in the four-year history of the Orlando City Soccer Club, the Lions returned to form Saturday by dismantling the visiting Charlotte Eagles 4-1.
Orlando City improved to 7-0-2 all-time against Charlotte by way of a 21-8 advantage in goals. The Lions (15-1-4) now own a 16-match unbeaten streak at home.
Kevin Molino scored twice on Saturday to raise his goal total on the season to 13 through 19 matches. Dennis Chin scored his sixth goal of the year and defender Tyler Turner scored his first professional goal early in the first half.
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.