Orlando City SC President Phil Rawlins, along with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, and former USWNT player and current UCF women's soccer coach Tiffany Sahaydak announced today the United States Women's National Team will host Brazil in a friendly at the Orlando Citrus Bowl on Oct. 25 at 3 p.m. The official word came at a press conference held today at the Citrus Bowl under the hot Florida midday sun.
The Mane Land's Michael Citro reported Saturday that Brazil's team website had the match on the schedule, but today's announcement made the friendly official. The match is part of the USWNT's 10-match World Cup victory tour. Rawlins said the club had been ready to make the announcement for the last three weeks, but was waiting for Seattle to finalize the second part of the two-game set against the Brazilians.
The match takes place on a day Orlando City plays Philadelphia Union at 5 p.m. in Philadelphia. Rawlins was non-committal but said there was a chance the Citrus Bowl could host a big watch party after the USWNT friendly.
"I don't want to commit 100 percent to that just yet," Rawlins said. "We will look into that possibility of opening up the stadium and making it a big, big watch party afterwards. I think that would be a great thing to do."
Rawlins and Dyer each credited the city's support for soccer and how it has helped the Orlando economy being one of the reasons they wanted to get the game to Orlando. With Orlando City games averaging more than 30,000 fans and having the second best attendance in MLS, the club's first year in the league has been seen a success from that standpoint, with room to grow.
The Citrus Bowl also recently hosted a match between Mexico and Costa Rica, which drew more than 50,000 fans, which is an example that the city will look to add more large international soccer events.
"Central Florida continues to grow into an international hub for professional soccer, and it’s a great honor for us to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup champions with our partners," Rawlins said. "Considering the massive support for top-caliber soccer in Central Florida, we will continue evaluating all opportunities to bring the highest levels of the sport to the market."
The last time Orlando hosted a USWNT match, the Americans beat Brazil 4-1 in front of around 20,000 fans, which was a record at the time. Jacobs said she thinks the crowd will be significantly larger this time around.
"I think we can do a lot better than 20,000," Jacobs said. "I expect we will surpass 20,000 by at least two times, maybe three times."
Rawlins added he thought 40,000 was a doable number for the friendly as well.
There has been a large amount of speculation that Orlando City is looking to add a National Women's Soccer League club team, and when Orlando City added Servando Carrasco -- who is married to USWNT striker Alex Morgan -- this transfer window, that speculation only heightened.
While Rawlins said the club is hoping to add a team, he couldn't supply much more information than that.
"We have made no secret of the fact that we would like to bring a women's professional team here," Rawlins said. "We continue to have dialogue with NWSL. We have not taken that to a point where we can make any announcements."
He added there was no timetable to expect any announcement.
Brazil accounts for the city's largest number of overseas visitors, making them an obvious choice as an opponent for the USWNT.
"I suspect we will see some yellow and blue in the stadium, as well as the red, white and blue," Dyer said.
Sahaydak said she would make sure her UCF women's team was in attendance for the game as well.
Tickets for the USWNT-Brazil friendly will go on sale on Friday, Aug. 21 at 10 a.m. through ussoccer.com and by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a custom-made official U.S. National Team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com. Tickets are also available at all Ticketmaster ticket centers (including most Walmart locations) as well as the Amway Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
Orlando City Season Ticket Members will receive a special pre-sale offer for this match so check your email in the coming days/weeks.