It's almost here.
On Sunday, Orlando City SC will host their first game as an MLS club before one of the largest crowds in league history. It's going to be an emotional night for the Lions and their fans, both of whom have spent years working towards this moment. Seeing more than 62,000 people in the Citrus Bowl, clad in purple and cheering for their Lions should be a sight to behold.
But it's also going to be one of those rare games where, before a ball has been kicked or a goal has been scored, one thing will be abundantly clear. Orlando has already won.
Here are your Friday morning Lions Links everybody.
Opening Day Stuff
Perhaps the best part about Sunday's 5 p.m. start time is that Orlando City fans will get to spend the whole weekend enjoying the other MLS fixtures in preparation for the one that really matters. It all kicks off tonight in Los Angeles, as the LA Galaxy begin their MLS Cup defense with a match-up against the Chicago Fire.
But you don't want to go into this first weekend of games unprepared.
Fear not, because SB Nation writers and editors (including our own Michael Citro) have put together this awesome 2015 MLS Preview to get you ready for all the scoring, chanting and complaining about the allocation order that this year has to offer.
Plus, sounds like Orlando had the best offseason in MLS.
Kaká breaks the bank
We all know the Lions' star midfielder has been paid handsomely throughout his career, but this list really helps put it in perspective.
Kaká is currently the sixth wealthiest soccer player in the world, according to Goal.com, having earned $108 million throughout his career. Cristiano Ronaldo tops the list at $236 million.
Here's a fun game. Let's list the top six wealthiest players by club:
1. Real Madrid (Ronaldo)
2. Barcelona (Messi)
3. Barcelona (Neymar)
4. PSG (Ibrahimovic)
5. Manchester United (Rooney)
7. Orlando City (Kaká)
It's not bad company for the Lions.
Kaká is also the highest paid in player in MLS, topping USMNT stars Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley at $7.2 million a year.
Match Day Transportation
So there's one downside to 62,000 people coming to watch the Lions on Sunday -- parking.
If you're a season ticket holder or forward-thinking City fan who purchased a parking pass ahead of time, then this part is easy for you. For everyone else though, the club has a couple of options for you to get to the match on Sunday.
photo courtesy: orlandocitysc.com
It's not really as bad as it looks. The Citrus Bowl will be running tons of LYMMO buses between downtown Orlando and the stadium, with buses leaving from various locations every five minutes. Plus there will be free SunRail services running before and after the match.
Where Soccer is a Pleasure
There are plenty of things people already love about Publix. The fried chicken. The subs. The fried chicken on the subs (I did this way too much in high school).
But now, the supermarket chain has partnered with Orlando City SC as the official and exclusive grocery supplier of the club. The deal also allows the Lions to expand their presence in the Orlando community, as Publix will sponsor soccer camps, clinics and mobile fan zones as part of the partnership.
St. Ledger makes the team, Rivas named a DP
The Lions took care of some roster housekeeping on the last day of preseason training, giving a roster spot to trialist Sean St. Ledger and making Carlos Rivas the club's third and final DP.
St. Ledger was accepted to make the club after the Irish defender looked impressive in preseason games. He could very well be in the starting XI on Sunday, and provides Orlando with another veteran presence in the back line.
Rivas being named a DP isn't a total shock either. The Colombian striker was one of Orlando's bigger off-season signings, and this move came about because the Lions weren't able to pay down his salary below the DP line with allocation money.
That it's for today. See you on the other side lads.