Hometown pro soccer team The Orlando City Lions are now tied for first place in the league. Their Wednesday game against VSI Tampa Bay was, by all accounts, a success, and with the backup of over 1000 cheering fans, OCSC came away with the win after beating the same team just three days ago on VSI’s home field.
Orlando City Soccer Club’s game-winning goal, put in about ten minutes from the end, was scored by Rob Valentino after a mostly-tied middle half. VSI Tampa Bay tried to tie the game up again in the final moments but couldn’t pull it off as Orlando’s fans shouted, threw streamers, and waved flags in support of the Lions.
And about those fans: they were the most unexpectedly rowdy, dedicated, fun-loving, family-oriented fans I’ve seen in a long time. Purple was the theme as kids and adults alike donned bandanas and covered the goal section with confetti and OCSC banners with each score.
OCSC also had kids working on the field, which goes to show what a community-based group this really is. They shot t-shirts into the crowd, acted as ball-runners and team support, and generally looked adorable running around the field experiencing what a real hometown event is like. I was truly impressed to see so many young people having so much (wholesome) fun.
As Valentino scored the last goal and sealed the win, fans could not have been happier, and confetti cannons confirmed the emotions of the crowd. Smoke bombs went off in the crowd, flags waves and OCSC banners were held high as Orlando came together to support our Lions in the 3rd-to-last game in the standard season.
According to an article by Orlando City Public Relations, “With the win, Orlando will host a quarterfinal match when the USL PRO playoffs begin the weekend of August 23-25. The match will be on Saturday, August 24, at Fifth Third Bank Field at the Florida Citrus Bowl, with the opponent TBD. The Lions are also now tied for first place in the league…”
The game was thrilling and the fans even more so, and OCSC’s next home game is on Sunday Aug. 11 at the Citrus Bowl. Kickoff is at 7:30pm and tickets can be found at TicketMaster.com (keyword Orlando City).