MLS 2015 begins with an exciting and new matchup.
Orlando City SC will open its inaugural Major League Soccer (MLS) season at home against New York City FC (NYCFC) on Sunday, March 8, with 62,000 fans expected to be in attendance at the Orlando Citrus Bowl. The Club’s historic fixture is scheduled to kick-off at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
In addition, City’s first league game as an MLS Club will be broadcast worldwide in over 30 languages, and in over 100 countries. The match also marks the first of 16 nationally televised games scheduled for Orlando in 2015.
“Sunday evening will certainly be an emotional night for everyone involved with the Club, including myself,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “We’ve worked extremely hard for this day, and we’re delighted to open our first MLS season in front of 62,000 fans. Our supporters have been fantastic since day one, and Sunday’s game will be another great opportunity to showcase the strong passion here in the ‘Soccer Capital of the South’.”
Orlando City enters the match against fellow expansion side NYCFC after only suffering one loss in seven preseason matches (1-1-5, 8 points) against D.C. United, F.C. Dallas, Toronto FC, BK Häcken, Charleston Battery, Houston Dynamo and NYCFC.
Both Orlando and New York previously met during the 12th annual Carolina Challenge Cup, drawing 1-1. Kaká opened the scoring for the Lions – finishing from the edge of the area to notch his second preseason goal for Orlando. However, David Villa responded for New York, setting up Khiry Shelton’s equalizer 10 minutes into the second half.
The Lions’ only win during the 2015 preseason came in convincing fashion, as City defeated FC Dallas 4-0. During the match, team captain Kaká scored his first goal as a Lion, finishing from the penalty spot after Martin Paterson was brought down in the box.
Midfielder Kevin Molino has also been in fine form, displaying a growing relationship with Kaká. Both players combined to set-up Paterson’s first goal against Dallas, and the Brazilian provided the assist for Molino’s finish in the team’s friendly against Swedish first-division side BK Häcken.
New York has played five preseason matches, leading up to their MLS opener. NYCFC began their friendlies with a strong 2-0 victory over St. Mirren, but suffered a 2-0 defeat in their ensuing fixture against Brondby. NYCFC finished in third place in the Carolina Challenge Cup (1-1-1, 4 points), after defeating the Charleston Battery 3-0 in their final match of the tournament.