Friday, January 31, 2014

Orlando City U23s 2014 USL PDL schedule

Photo by Dave Miller

By Mike Gramajo 

A day after the United Soccer Leagues released the 2014 schedule for the USL Pro, the USL Premier Development League schedule followed. 

The Orlando City U23s will kickoff their season on Wednesday, May 21, when they welcome the Ocala Stampede to the Seminole Soccer Complex at 7:00 p.m.

All home matches will be played at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Sanford, Fla., and the final game of the regular season is schedule for Friday, July 18 when Orlando hosts the Floridans. 

One of the major matchups in the Young Lions’ PDL season include their encounter with Panama City Beach Pirates, which will be played at the SSC on June 15 and 17. 

Full Schedule: 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Orlando City 2014 USL Pro schedule

By Mike Gramajo 

After months of waiting, USL Pro released their 2014 schedule. 

Orlando City SC will open up their final season in the USL Pro, when they face off against the Charleston Battery at Blackbaud Stadium (March 22 at 7:30 p.m.) 

While the Lions open their season on the road, they will play a total of 14 home games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex after the Florida Citrus Bowl, their previous home venue, will be under renovation for much of 2014. 

OCSC's home opener is set for March 29, when they welcome the Pittsburgh Riverhounds to the WWOS.

Some marquee matchups include their rematch of the 2013 USL Pro Final vs. the Charlotte Eagles on May 21. Meanwhile, their trips to new USL Pro franchise’s Oklahoma City Energy and Sacramento Republic are on April 26 and July 17. 

Here’s the full schedule: 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Orlando City signs midfielders Austin da Luz and Joseph Toby to 2014 USL Pro squad

Courtesy of Orlando City SC 
By Mike Gramajo 

After adding players to their 2015 Major League Soccer roster, Orlando City SC turned their focus on strengthening their USL Pro squad.

The Lions announced on Monday the acquisition of former DC United and Carolina RailHawks midfielder Austin da Luz to a one-year contract, while also signing former Orlando City U23s midfielder Joseph Toby.

“Austin just had a great season in Carolina and has spent time in the MLS,” Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath said in a statement. “He’s certainly got the talent. As people have seen him in the MLS, he’s a very talented footballer.”

The terms of the contract were not released.

After a stunning performance with the RailHawks, which saw Da Luz score four goals and notch four assists in 2013. His relationship with Heath is also an indicator on why he signed for the Lions, appearing for the Austin Aztex in 2008 before the franchise moved two years later to Orlando, Fla.

Da Luz’s presence at the RailHawks was considered a success despite not being able to help his side clinch a Soccer Bowl berth. A central-attacking midfielder, da Luz was most recognized by his partnership with 2013 NASL Golden Boot winner Brian Shriver.

With the signing, the Lions are adding more depth to their midfield, after already signing midfielders Kevin Molino and Yordany Alvarez to multi-year contracts, which includes a spot in Orlando's 2015 MLS roster.

After promoting former players such as Jonathan Mendoza and Adama Mbengue, Joseph Toby joins the Lions after playing for its U23s squad in 2012 and playing for the IMG Academy Bradenton in 2013. Although Orlando already has a solid back line, Toby’s arrival adds depth to Heath’s defense, which will more than likely see the former Flagler College defender play as a substitute to veteran defender Luke Boden.

“He’s has a lot of physical tools, as we’ve seen through our U23 team,” said Heath. “Our U23 team gives us a chance to watch and evaluate the players, which is of benefit to them as they may get a shot at the pro team.”

Orlando City will kickoff their preseason on Feb. 11 when they take on the Chicago Fire at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. before facing off against a plethora of MLS squads in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic in late February, early March.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Orlando City sign Alvarez to MLS contract

Courtesy of Orlando City SC 

After helping the Lions win their first USL Pro championship in 2011, Yordany Alvarez is coming back to the place that gave him a chance. 

Orlando City SC announced on Wednesday that they have reached an agreement with Real Salt Lake, which will see the Alvarez join the Lions on-loan for the 2014 USL Pro season, before officially joining Orlando’s 2015 MLS squad. 

“We’re obviously delighted to have Yordany back,” Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath said in a statement. “We have an MLS-calibre player returning to us. I’m really excited to have him with us again and looking forward to the future with him on the squad.” 

The terms of the contract were not released. 

The arrival of Alvarez means that Orlando will trade their fourth round MLS SuperDraft pick in 2017. 

Alvarez joins fellow teammate Kevin Molino, as the first two MLS signings in the club’s history. 

The 28-year-old Cuban midfielder last played for the Purple Kits in 2011, in which he was named 2011 USL Pro Most Valuable Player. He ended up joining Real Salt Lake the season that followed in where he appeared 38 times in league play, scoring only once. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Orland City to reveal 2014 USL Pro kits

Courtesy of Orlando City SC 
By Mike Gramajo

The wait is over, you can finally mark your calendar for the long-anticipated kit release. 

Orlando City SC announced on Monday that they will unveil their 2014 USL Pro kits on Saturday, Feb. 1 (4 p.m. at the Wall Street Plaza in downtown Orlando). 

Initially the kits were to be revealed in December 2013, but the event was postponed via Facebook

The kit will mark the last time the Lions will sport a Lotto branded jersey, before they officially enter MLS in 2015, where all clubs are required to wear uniforms made by Adidas. 

Along with the jersey unveiling, the event will follow into a viewing party of the United States Men’s National Team, as they take on Korea Republic. 

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Orlando City releases preseason schedule

By Mike Gramajo

The Lions are back on the prowl, preseason that is. 

Orlando City SC released their 2014 preseason schedule on Wednesday, featuring a variety of Major League Soccer opponents, before ending their line of matches against several Florida colleges. 

The Lions will kickoff their preseason against MLS’ Chicago Fire at the IMG Academy. Last time both teams faced off was last year in June, which saw Chicago knock Orlando out of the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, 5-1. 

The Fire, however, will have a new man in charge after signing Frank Yallop as their head coach, after Frank Kloppas resigned from the club before joining the Montreal Impact. 

While the I-4 Derby remains out of the schedule, Tampa Bay Rowdies President Andrew Nestor did confirm with SBI that he is currently working on having the preseason cup return for its second installment. 

Here’s a look at the Lions’ preseason slate of matches: