Let's suppose you are a die hard Orlando City SC fan (and really, why would you find yourself on this blog if you weren't?), and you've decided that at some point this season you want to take trip to cheer your Lions on from the road. You start peering over the schedule, looking for that perfect road game to take off from work, pack the Winnebago up with some of your stuff, crank some CCR (required listening on road trips, as far as I'm concerned), and hit the road.
Which game do you choose? You look over the schedule, weighing the pros and cons, and it dawns on you. Why not make a stop in Louisville to see the young Lions Louisville City FC has acquired on loan? Who knows, maybe first overall pick Cyle Larin will be playing there? (I can dream, right?) What other excuse do you need to drown yourself in Bourbon for a weekend?
We here at The Mane Land have taken it upon ourselves to compare OCSC and LCFC's schedules and give you The Official Mane Land Louisville Road Trip Travel Guide! (It's the catchiest name we could think of, OK?)
The Best Bet
On June 6, the Lions travel north to the Windy City to meet the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park.
The trip to Chicago will take you right through Louisville, which is handy. Exactly one week before the Lions take on the Fire, the USL PRO affiliates of both clubs will meet at Louisville Slugger Field in the third of four meetings, and the second in a home-and-away, back-to-back set, in the freshly dubbed King's Cup on May 30.
This is the best bet to do an Orlando/Louisville double header in one trip. Not only is Louisville directly on the road between Orlando and Chicago, but you'll have a full week at your disposal to enjoy the sights and sounds of both cities between games.
The weather should be beautiful, as the average May temperature in Louisville is in the 70's, which you could use to spend a day betting on the races at historic Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, during the Spring Meet. The good weather also ensures that the atmosphere for the rivalry match-up should be at its best, with one of the bigger crowds of the season.
One of the main downsides, however, is that you'll have to sacrifice the May 30 match against the Columbus Crew at the Citrus Bowl to make the trip.
The Other Contender
So the May 30 through June 6 window doesn't work for you. Maybe it's your great aunt Gertrude's 95th birthday, your wedding anniversary, or whatever. What's the next best option?
- April 16/18: Louisville vs. Rochester/Orlando at Columbus
While the road to Columbus Crew Stadium does not directly go through Louisville, our Ohioan neighbors to the northeast provide the opportunity for a nice, long, soccer-filled weekend. Louisville plays host to the Rochester Rhinos on Thursday night, giving you most of Friday and early Saturday to make the trip up I-71 from Louisville to Columbus.
The negatives? You won't have nearly as long to spend doing the touristy things (like drowning yourself in Bourbon), the Spring Meet at Churchill will not have started yet, and the weather might be a little chilly and rainy. However, for those unable to take off from work for more than a few days, this certainly isn't a bad option.
What To Do In Louisville
Orlando City Youth Academy: Lions Invade Georgia
The Orlando City U-17/18 and U-15/16 USSDA squads each played a pair of matches against Georgia clubs over the weekend and excitement builds for National Signing Day.
If you decide to take the road trip, here are some sights to keep in mind:
- Churchill Downs: The home of the Kentucky Derby is arguably the most famous horse racing track in the world. The Spring Meet runs from April 26-June 29, with live races on four or five days each week. There's also a pretty cool museum.
- Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory: Louisville Slugger bats were used by the likes of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Cal Ripkin, and throughout baseball history have been some of the most popular bats for major league players across the country. Check out the factory where they're made.
- The Muhammad Ali Center: Get an up-close look at the life of the GOAT, Louisville native Muhammad Ali.
- Urban Bourbon Trail: If you're visiting Louisville -- and you can stomach hard, brown liquor -- you have to drink as much Bourbon as possible. Trust me, it goes best with everything.
Will you be making the trip to see some of the young Lions in action? Let us know in the comments section!
Louisville City News and Notes:
- Here's a link to the full Louisville City schedule, released on Monday. Louisville will play 14 home games, including nine Saturday dates. They will play four home fixtures in a row to close June and open July. However, the final three games of the season will all be on the road, including the final game at Saint Louis, which could make or break Louisville's push toward the playoffs.
- ICYMI: Louisville signed former Lion Bryan Burke #ForeverALion
- The U.S. Soccer Federation announced the new U.S. Open Cup format this week. For LCFC's part, the club has yet to pin down a home venue should Louisville host a cup home game. The club is potentially looking at the University of Louisville's home venue. Expect more details in the coming weeks.
- The club has extended the deadline to become a "Founding Member," which includes special first-year privileges for season ticket holders. Want your name to be on a plaque inside Louisville Slugger Field? Buy tickets!
Founding Member deadline approaching. Down to 8 days! Be a part of club history and get your season tix today! http://t.co/BfdcoralWg— Louisville City FC (@loucityfc) February 5, 2015
See you next week.