Wake up, Mane Landers, it’s match day! Welcome to Major League Soccer Opening Day 2019! Our Orlando City Lions start the season here at home against New York City FC with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff, although I’m sure you were already aware of that. While you recover from last night’s Fifth Annual Orlando City Pub Crawl, take a few minutes to read about all the news you need to know before heading to Orlando City Stadium.
Orlando City Signs Defender Kamal Miller
In the world of poorly kept Orlando City secrets, yesterday saw another confirmed player signing that we all knew was coming, 2019 MLS SuperDraft second-round pick Kamal Miller. Miller has been with the Lions throughout preseason and as The Mane Land’s own Sean Rollins pointed out, Head Coach James O’Connor often had the 21-year-old center back in his first team. One such first team appearance actually came against NYCFC during the Orlando City Invitational, a match that saw Miller impress more than a few fans. After the official announcement, Miller seemed happy to share the news on his Twitter.
Lions Looking to Add Swedish League Champion Robin Jansson
First reported by Swedish news outlet Sport Bladet and confirmed by sources with knowledge of the situation to The Mane Land, Orlando City is in talks to add center back Robin Jansson to the squad. As a defender for Allsvenskan league club AIK, the 27-year-old won the top-tier league’s title in 2018, having started 25 matches for 2,523 minutes and notching two goals and one assist. Based on his resume and current estimated transfer value of approximately $850,000, one might assume that should the signing go through, Jansson will immediately be in consideration for a starting center back spot in O’Connor’s preferred three-man back line. The guy worked in a horseshoe factory and drove 50 miles to train every night, so it sounds like he has the blue-collar grit that appears to be a theme with this incarnation of Orlando City.
Nani is Ready for Today’s Match, But Here’s Some New Game Day Info for the Fans
Before WFTV sports reporter Christian Bruey confirmed that new Orlando City superstar Nani would be available for today’s match, Nani himself took to Twitter to express his excitement over opening day:
Several pieces of information about the Orlando City Stadium game day experience also dropped on Friday.
- Founder and Vice President of Community Relations Kay Rawlins confirmed that match day posters benefiting the Orlando City Foundation would continue to be available this season, in addition to the new CITYiD patches.
- The drumline of The Wall announced that their GoFundMe goal for replacing and maintaining their equipment was met, meaning they will continue bringing the noise throughout 2019.
- Jeremiah’s Italian Ice partnered with the club to sell their yummy frozen treats in various locations around the stadium.
- When you finish your drink during the match, you can now recycle plastic bottles and cans by Section 16 and donate five cents to the Orlando City Foundation in the process.
- A limited edition 2019 Home Opener collectible 20-ounce cup was shown off specifically for today’s game that you certainly won’t want to recycle.
- Finally, the merch of the match in The Den will be the new home kit and the #BringtheNoise scarf of the month.
Make sure to arrive early this afternoon so that you can check out these cool new features of our beautiful Orlando City Stadium.
Orlando SeaWolves Swept Away by Milwaukee Wave
Gordy Gurson scored a brace but the visiting Milwaukee Wave were rarely threatened, beating the Orlando SeaWolves, 6-2 at Silver Spurs Arena last night. The Wave were physical and defensively sound, while Orlando was sloppy and missed some excellent opportunities to climb back into the game. The SeaWolves are back in action tonight at Silver Spurs Arena against the rival Florida Tropics, who came over from Lakeland. Why not make today an Orlando professional soccer double header?
- Again, surprising no one, a spokesman for Orlando City confirmed to The Mane Land that former Designated Player Sacha Kljestan is now a TAM player and the roster is compliant with three DPs: Nani, Dom Dwyer, and Josue Colmán. Jordan Culver wrote a bit more about it here.
- Culver’s match preview mentioned the club’s favorite off-season phrase, “establishing a new culture.”
- The City of Orlando turned the Lake Eola fountain purple on Friday night to celebrate the start of the Lions’ 2019 season.
- Is Toronto FC looking to Orlando City to improve its preseason next year? Some fans of the Reds think they should.
- The Orlando Pride’s own Shelina Zadorsky helped lead Canada to a 1-0 victory over Scotland in the 2019 Algarve Cup. The Canadians have four points after two matches.
- Meanwhile, Zadorsky’s Pride teammate Marta continues to lead Brazil.
- In DP news, the LA Galaxy officially bought out the final season of Giovani dos Santos’ contract and the Colorado Rapids waived forward Shkelzen Gashi.
- Former United States Men’s National Team star Landon Donovan is “a little worried” about Christian Pulisic.
- HuffPost published this long and quite interesting read about some fringe extremists in the NYCFC fan base.
- Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando announced that the 2019 season will be his last.
- The MLS Disciplinary Committee decided to add a game to the suspension of the Houston Dynamo’s Ronaldo Pena from the 2018 season to the start of the 2019 campaign.
It was another busy Friday for both Orlando City and MLS, as everyone prepared to get the 2019 season started today. I know that I’m super psyched to finally, after what feels like way more than a few months, see the boys in purple take the pitch in a match that has real ramifications. Now get down to the stadium, bring the noise, and go City!