After two years at the Citrus Bowl, Orlando City SC finally opened their new home on Saturday, and it’s spectacular.
Orlando city football clubs first game in its new home stadium wheeee pic.twitter.com/HkggQJ0zg3— Shane Gaffney (@Shanegaffney29) March 5, 2017
The 25,500-capacity Orlando City Stadium is everything soccer fans in America have ever wanted. Orlando’s big supporters groups called it “a gift from the gods” in their tifo before the Lions’ game against New York City FC.
Orlando is the first team to build a stand with “safe standing” — a standing-room only section with barriers to prevent any dangerous situations that might arise from having a setup like this. There’s also a designated area for use of smoke canisters, also a first in MLS.
The first time I've ever seen something like this.. standing room only.. designated smoke device area. pic.twitter.com/Sweu35GZTh— herculez gomez (@herculezg) March 5, 2017
The stadium also features a touching tribute to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting — 49 seats in the colors of the LGBT pride flag.
Things didn’t get off to a great start for the team on the field on Sunday, with star Kaká leaving early due to an injury. But his replacement, Giles Barnes, didn’t take long to make an impact. He provided the assist for Cyle Larin’s opening goal, and when the ball hit the back of the net, the crowd was LOUD.
On the ESPN broadcast, Taylor Twellman later mentioned that the crowd and roof over all four sections created a sound that he hadn’t heard in any other soccer stadium in America.
After that goal, fans got to break in that designated smoke device area.
Win or lose, Sunday is going to be a great day for Orlando City supporters. They got to open their new home and experience watching the first goal ever scored at the stadium. It feels like a special day for the progression of American soccer, period, and that feeling is likely amplified if you’re an Orlando fan.