Let the countdown officially begin!
The club announced today that Orlando City SC will begin its inaugural season at home in the Citrus Bowl on March 8 against fellow expansion squad NYCFC. It will be a 5 p.m. kickoff and the match will be nationally televised on ESPN 2.
In addition, MLS announced that Orlando City will be the opponent for the Montreal Impact's home opener on March 28.
Club President Phil Rawlins had this to say:
"Our fans have been waiting for this day for years and so have we. This is the first opportunity of many to show a national television audience why the City Beautiful is the ‘Soccer Capital of the South.' Let's fill the bowl!"
Indeed, it sounds as if "Fill the bowl" is a phrase and hashtag you're likely to see plenty of in the coming months. In addition to the obvious income 65 thousand tickets would generate, a massive sold out crowd like that in the Citrus Bowl would be exactly the type of statement that Orlando City would desperately like to make to a nation still skeptical about professional soccer in Florida.
There should be plenty of star power on hand, but it remains to be seen whether or not New York's English DP Frank Lampard will have returned to the U.S. by that point. New York should still bring Spaniard David Villa along, and of course Kaka and Brek Shea will man the attack for Orlando.
Regardless, while NYCFC tries to track down its players, I expect Orlando City fans will show the world that they can #FillTheBowl!