The Orlando City Soccer Club MLS team, also known as the Orlando City Lions, immediately was embraced by locals as soon as it took to the field in 2015. A total of 62,510 fans filled the Orlando Citrus Bowl for the first game, the second largest opening weekend for a MLS franchise. Orlandoans proudly wear the team’s vivid purple colors on game days and at almost any other outdoor function.
Orlando City Soccer Club formed in 2010, playing in the USL PRO, a lower league professional division. It moved up to Major League Soccer (MLS) status in 2013. One of the conditions to move up to MLS was the team have its own soccer specific stadium. Local officials quickly moved to purchase downtown property to build a new soccer stadium close to the Orlando Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic NBA team.
The team’s first year as a Major League Soccer team saw average attendance at 32,847 fans, which set a new MLS record for an expansion team. In 2016, Orlando City started its season strong with a first game attendance of 60,147 fans, highest in the MLS (which averaged 26,152 fans) and 5th highest in the world for that weekend. Orlando City is now playing in its new 25,500-seat stadium two blocks from the Amway Center and within walking distance of the downtown bar district.
Although Orlando has become internationally recognized as a major league soccer city, the Orlando City Soccer Club MLS team struggles to have a winning season. So far, Orlando fans have yet to show signs of serious disappointment. Game attendance remains strong and fans hope a league championship is just around the corner under team leader Kaka, the Brazilian star who was FIFA World Player of the Year in 2007.
Orlando City game schedule.