MLS released the 2019 home openers for all 24 of its clubs on Thursday, and Orlando City will have a familiar opening fixture at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday, March 2. For the third time in their five years in the American top flight, the Lions will host expansion rivals New York City FC, with this tilt set for a 2:30 p.m. ET start.
Orlando City vs. NYCFC will be the second match played in the 2019 MLS season, with the official first match taking place at 1 p.m. ET between the Philadelphia Union and Toronto FC at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, PA. The home openers for all 24 MLS clubs will take place between March 2 and April 3, 2019 — with the exception of the Portland Timbers, who won’t be hosting their first match at Providence Park until June 1 due to stadium renovations.
Orlando City supporters have fond memories of season-opening home matches against the Pigeons dating back to the Lions’ first ever MLS match on March 8, 2015. That match is remembered for Kaká’s 91st-minute free kick equalizer that sent 62,510 fans into frenzy in a 1-1 draw between two clubs that entered MLS in the same season. There is plenty of history surrounding the two clubs and how their respective entries into MLS came about that has contributed to the rivalry between these Eastern Conference foes.
Orlando also opened the 2017 MLS season against NYCFC at home — marking the first regular season match held at Orlando City Stadium — on March 5, 2017. That match ended in a 1-0 Lions victory thanks to Cyle Larin’s lone goal, giving OCSC a 1-0-1 record against NYC in season-opening bouts.
The rest of the 2019 schedule will be announced at a later date.