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.
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.
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.
The excitement from this year’s World Cup has yet to let up here in the United States, and that’s good news for Major League Soccer. On Aug. 6 the MLS All-Stars host Germany’s Bayern Munich in Portland with a number of US Men’s National Team players chosen to take part, including USMNT snub Landon Donovan.
On Saturday Simon Borg of Major League Soccer joined me on AM 740 The Game to talk about a number of soccer topics. We chatted about the fan’s picks for the all-star roster this year and Borg explained how Designating Player signings like Graham Zusi will help the league evolve over the years. I also asked what factored into Dom Dwyer missing out on being an all-star this year.
It’s been exciting to cover the Orlando City Soccer Club the past few years during their rise from minor league franchise to members of Major League Soccer. What’s made the journey worthwhile though is hearing from head coach Adrian Heath, who has never met a question he didn’t have a meaningful answer for.
Last week I wrote a profile piece on Heath for MLS, featuring quotes from team president Phil Rawlins and Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer. I hope it sheds a some light on the England transplant and gives fans the chance to learn a little more about the leader of the Lions.