Well, it's 2015 and the MLS season is just around the corner. Some big dates are coming up for Orlando City SC in the next few months, so now's as good a time as any to run those down for you.
The MLS SuperDraft is only two days away. On Thursday at 12:30 p.m., Orlando City will have the first pick in the 2015 draft of college players. Of course, with any draft, there's a lot of debate about who will go where. We did our part yesterday and held a Mock Draft with the other SB Nation sites, so check it out here. The MLS Combine, where all the eligible players scrimmage together down in Ft. Lauderdale, took place the last few days. In an interview with the Orlando City website, Lions Head Coach Adrian Heath commented on the possible player selection, saying,
"We think there'll be someone for us. We're just trying to find somebody who will, over the next three or four years, will contribute to the club. It doesn't have to be straight away. If he does, great. If he doesn't, then we'll wait."
When it's all said and done, Orlando will have at least one or two new players come Thursday.
Media Day and Preseason Training
While this isn't an event open to the fans, it will be the first opportunity for media outlets, such as ourselves, to go and meet the team and get some interviews. It all happens over at the Orlando City training facilities in Lake Mary on Friday, Jan. 23. This day will also mark the first day of preseason for the Lions.
Between the 23rd of January and the 20th of February, Orlando will be hosting a number of closed-door scrimmages, as well as an open practice for fans some time in early February. There will be a few great opportunities for the players to get acquainted with each other as well as learning Heath's system.
Carolina Challenge Cup
The first chance to get a look at Orlando's squad in real action will be up in Charleston, SC, from Feb. 21-28, when the Lions take part in the annual tournament hosted by the Charleston Battery. Many fans are already aware of the first game on Saturday, Feb. 21 between Orlando City and New York City FC, and some of the supporters groups are planning trips up to the game to cheer on the Lions.
However, it is important to point out that there are two other games that OCSC will be playing in while in South Carolina. On Wednesday, Feb. 25, Orlando City will face off against old USL Pro foe and tournament hosts, the Charleston Battery at 7:30 p.m. Then, on Saturday, Feb. 28, the Lions will face another MLS opponent in the Houston Dynamo at 5 p.m. After that, preseason is all but over and the team will come back into town and prepare for the home opener.
The MLS Opener: March 8
This is a day most Orlando City fans probably have marked in their calendars and circled numerous times. It is, of course, the home opener against New York City FC. The first of many nationally televised games for the Lions, it will be a chance for the team to show the league what to expect from the Lions, as well as their fans. The "#FillTheBowl" campaign seems to be going along well and many fans are buzzing about this game even now in January. Needless to say, it's a game that the city of Orlando is ready for.
Well, that's the next three months in a nutshell. Plan your schedules accordingly and if you have any questions you would like us to ask at media day, drop them in the comments below.