Hooray! A weekend that will actually feature an Orlando City match! After the match last Saturday against the New England Revolution was postponed due to Winter Storm Reggie, the Lions will be back in action today as they host the Philadelphia Union at Orlando City Stadium.
With 13 days off to rest and prepare for this match, OCSC should be ready to go this weekend. The 13 days rest should greatly help the team, and in the words of the wise William Wadsworth, “Rest and be thankful.”
Without further ado, let’s get into today’s links:
Rochez Waived, Picked Up by Atlanta
While you were out celebrating St. Patrick’s Day last night, Orlando City officially parted ways with Honduran striker Bryan Rochez, who was subsequently claimed by Atlanta United. Rochez’s DP slot was given to Giles Barnes. It was a disappointing stay in Orlando for the young Honduran, who now gets a fresh start for Atlanta, which will pay the league minimum for him in 2017. Meanwhile, Orlando City is on the hook for the remainder of his 2017 salary.
Orlando City CEO Working to Fix Stadium Issues
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the club’s opener of the Orlando City Stadium. Despite a 1-0 win over NYCFC in the first game in the new venue just completed this fall, Orlando City CEO Alex Leitão received complaint after complaint about long waiting in lines to get into the stadium, not enough gates to accommodate the large crowd, and terrible traffic.
Leitão has assured fans that he is working to fix all these problems ahead of today’s match. He said in a statement,
“It’s a big list, honestly, to tackle. We have amazing fans. Very, very patient, but I also know I cannot fail the next game. Not to say we failed, but we had to do something.”
With the entry to the stadium listed as the biggest complaint by fans, Leitão and his staff have been working extensively to restructure lines and wait times. The hope is for those with Apple phones to save their tickets to their Wallet and arrive as early as possible prior to kickoff.
UCF Students Play a Large Role in Orlando City Stadium Opening Day
One of the few known stories of the amazing opening day of the stadium is that of UCF students and their volunteer work behind the scenes. According to the article, “The roles for UCF students with Orlando City ranged from working in the team store or with game-day operations, to being fan ambassadors.”
The connection between UCF and OCSC goes a long way, with many UCF alumni attending the home opener, as well as owning season tickets.
“I got goosebumps a few times during the first game in the new stadium,” UCF alumni Liana Haerens said. “The atmosphere was crazy.”
There will be more opportunities for UCF students to volunteer at Orlando City Stadium all throughout this season.
Bruce Arena Thinks Three Defenders Could Work for USMNT vs. Honduras
The Bruce Arena era will officially begin March 24, when the United States hosts Honduras in Arena’s first match in charge of the team in World Cup qualifying. The team sits in last place in the Hexagonal after two games, putting even greater importance on a good outcome. Arena said in a Facebook Live Q&A that he wouldn’t be opposed to playing with three defenders in the formation.
"Certainly there's a variety of ways of playing. I said with this roster we can play anywhere with three, four, five in the back. Clearly, I favor four in the back, but three is an option."
The game will be played at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, CA, on the 24th, followed by an away match in Panama the 28th. Both are must wins for Arena and company as they try to seek qualification for their eight straight World Cup.
Fabian Johnson Will Miss the Two Qualifiers
Bruce Arena will have fewer options at defense these upcoming two games, as Fabian Johnson will be out with a pulled thigh muscle that he suffered against FC Schalke on Thursday in the Europa League.
Johnson has been a key player for Monchengladbach this season, and Arena will be disappointed to be without him. Graham Zusi will replace Johnson on the roster.
That’ll do it for this week’s Lion Links! Enjoy the game today and enjoy watching all the MLS games happening this weekend!