It's time, City fans, to come out from the shadows and rejoice as we get closer and closer to the 2016 MLS season we all have been waiting for. The league and club announced today that the season opener will take place March 6 vs. Real Salt Lake at 2 p.m. at the Orlando Citrus Bowl.
The week leading up to the game is packed with fan activities throughout Orlando, from the Purple Pride 5K on March 3 to the Orlando City Pub Crawl on March 5. Phil Rawlins and company will once again be pulling out all the stops to ensure a memorable start to the sophomore MLS campaign. Per the story linked above:
"2016 is shaping up to be an exciting season and we're thrilled to have our first match scheduled at home," said Founder and President Phil Rawlins. "Last year's season opener was record-breaking, and we're planning for another thrilling start to the Lions' campaign this year in front of our wonderful fans, with several opening week festivities and events."
With 18,000 season tickets already sold, the Lions have a head start on this year's #FillTheBowl campaign that they didn't enjoy in 2015 -- but the opponent is admittedly less prestigious. Real Salt Lake struggled in the Western conference last season, finishing with 41 points, good for ninth in the West. RSL also lacks the star power of last year's inaugural game against New York City FC with guys like David Villa and Mix Diskerud. Instead, the big names will be Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman.
Head Coach Adrian Heath is eager to get back to work as well, looking to convert a strong 2015 finish into a permanent spot near the top of the MLS table. In the OrlandoCitySC.com story, Heath said:
"We're looking forward to facing Real Salt Lake in our season opener for 2016. The squad will be ready to go and eager to hit the pitch again as we build upon the winning form from the end of last season in pursuit of a playoff spot in 2016."
While individual game tickets will not be on sale until the full schedule is released, you can always guarantee your spot at the opener with the Holiday 2 Pack, ensuring you'll be there for both the Lion and Pride's season opener.
Here are the rest of the games set for the March 6 MLS opening day:
MLS opening day, March 6 NYRB v TOR ORL v RSL CHI v NYC DAL v PHL HOU v NE SJ v COLO POR v COLU VAN v MON SEA v SKC LA v DC— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) December 22, 2015