clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Getting to Know Flamengo Before Orlando City's Sunday Clash at the Maracanã

Orlando City heads to Brazil this weekend for a postseason friendly with Flamengo. If you're not already an expert on the Lions' Brazilian foes, here's a cheat sheet to get you prepared for match day.

Bruna Prado/Getty Images

Orlando City heads to Brazil this weekend for a postseason friendly, as the Lions take on Flamengo to celebrate the club's 120th anniversary.

The match will provide Adrian Heath with an opportunity to take stock of his roster before the offseason officially begins, and it will also be a chance for Orlando City to play in one of soccer's most historic venues. The Maracanã Stadium has seen legendary players ranging from Pelé to Messi, not to mention the 2014 World Cup Final. The stadium will also host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics next year.

But what about Orlando City's competition on Sunday? Here's a quick guide to Clube de Regatas do Flamengo before they face off against the Lions this weekend.

Right, so Orlando City has another friendly against a Brazilian club. Is Flamengo anything like that team they played last time?

Okay, so you probably remember Orlando's friendly against Ponte Preta earlier this season. The Lions got a 3-2 victory at the Citrus Bowl that night behind an extra time penalty kick from Cyle Larin.

Flamengo plays in the same league as Ponte Preta, the top tier of Brazilian soccer known as the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A. But the big difference is that while Ponte Preta was promoted last season, Flamengo is one of just five clubs in Brazil to have never been sent down.

Got it. So they're kind of like Chelsea to Ponte Preta's Bournemouth?

Sort of. Flamengo is one of the wealthiest clubs in Brazil and plays in the country's biggest stadium. But that doesn't mean they've enjoyed much success on the pitch recently (come to think of it, they're exactly like Chelsea).

They're stuck in the middle of Brasileiro table this season and haven't won the league since 2009. That's not good enough for a team of their wealth and prestige.

So they're pretty popular?

That would be an understatement. Flamengo are one of the most popular clubs in Brazil, and even during a down year, played in the league's highest-attended match of the season (a 2-0 loss to Coritiba).

They've got an estimated 42 million supporters across Brazil, meaning they can pull off stuff like this at matches...

Who are some of their best players?

Striker Paolo Guerrero was supposed to be Flamengo's big acquisition this season, as the Peruvian had previously starred for such clubs as Bayern Munich, Hamburger SV and Corinthians. But he's beginning to show his age at 31, meaning the team has been searching elsewhere for goals.

Guerrero has been overshadowed by the rise of teammate Kayke Moreno. The Brazilian striker has spent his career mired in the lower divisions, until a breakout campaign for Flamengo in 2015.

Since it's celebrating its 120th anniversary on Sunday, I assume Flamengo has some history?

Oh yeah. The club enjoyed its golden age in the 1980s when it won its first Brazilian championship and saw the rise of Zico.

Haven't heard of Zico?

Generally considered one of the best Brazilian soccer players of all time, Arthur Antunes Coimbra (but he's Brazilian and good at soccer so...Zico) made Flamengo a powerhouse in the '80s. The club won three Brazilian championships and defeated Liverpool 3-0 in an Intercontinental Playoff during that decade. Zico would score 135 goals during two stints with the club.

Since then, Flamengo has enjoyed success in Brazil, adding two more championships and maintaining one of the largest fan bases in the country.

Orlando City will get to experience that passion first hand on Sunday afternoon at the Maracanã.