Happy Friday ManeLanders!
Preseason training is starting to kick into high gear for Orlando City SC, as the Lions have two friendlies under their belt with the start of the regular season still over a month away. Though a few big names such as Brek Shea and Bryan Rochez remain out of town on national team duty, it's been nice to see some of the offseason acquisitions get their first run out in an Orlando City shirt. Trust us, Kaka looks good in purple.
But right now, it's time to hit those Lion Links.
Orlando City officially sets out to #FillTheBowl
Though it's a phrase that's been tossed around the Twittersphere for a while now, the Lions made Operation #FillTheBowl official in a ceremony at the Citrus Bowl on Thursday.
MLS commissioner Don Garber was on hand to help the Lions announce their audacious campaign, with the club hoping to sell out the 60,000-seat Citrus Bowl on opening night against NYCFC. City, county and team officials expressed confidence that selling out the match on March 8 was not just a possibility, but an inevitability.
Garber also spoke at length about CBA negations and an MLS franchise in Miami, in an interview with Paul Tenorio of the Orlando Sentinel.
Carolina Challenge Cup match between Orlando City and NYCFC sells out
Perhaps Orlando City officials should have been a little more clear about which game fans were supposed to #FillTheBowl, because the team's Carolina Challenge Cup match on Feb. 21 against NYCFC has been declared a sellout.
The preseason tournament, which will also feature the Houston Dynamo and USL Pro side Charleston Battery, will not be lacking in star power, with Kaka, David Villa, Brek Shea and Mix Diskerud all expected to play for their new sides. It should be a sea of purple in South Carolina later this month.
Lack of buzz in Montreal?
The Impact have struggled on the field and at the gate since joining MLS in 2012, having never finished higher than 11th in the league, and never qualifying for the playoffs. The team also experienced a 15% drop in attendance last season, the sharpest decline in MLS behind Chivas USA (and we all know how that ended).
Though it appears Saputo's comments were made in large part to motivate the fan base into buying tickets and supporting the club, it will be interesting to see if any more comments about declining fan support come out of Montreal this season.
Violence at African Cup of Nations
A semifinal match between Ghana and host-nation Equatorial Guinea was halted on Thursday after bottle throwing by fans erupted into violence.
With Ghana up 3-0 late in the game, the visiting Ghanaian fans were forced to flee onto the field in order to escape a barrage of bottle and rocks, and a helicopter was eventually called in to help restore order. Amazingly, the match wasn't called, as both teams played three of the remaining eight minutes before referees finally decided to end the match early.
Shockingly, this decision was not protested.
Have a great weekend guys and don't forget to wear purple!