By MIKE GRAMAJO
With their USL Pro era now over, Orlando City’s transfer into Major League Soccer appears to have a start date. Club president Phil Rawlins told the Orlando Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday that the club’s MLS opener is tentatively scheduled to be a home game on March 8, 2015.
“Nothing has been finalized yet,” said Orlando City spokesperson Lenny Santiago. “Our understanding is that Major League Soccer is set to open the season sometime in March 2015.”
The opponent for Orlando City’s inaugural game has not been resolved. The league is expected to release its 2015 schedule sometime in December.
The date would likely fall on the first weekend of MLS play in 2015, and could potentially be nationally televised.
The team currently has seven players on its MLS roster: Kevin Molino, Darwin Ceren, Tyler Turner, Tommy Redding, Kaka, Estrela and Rafael Ramos. The club is currently in negotiations with Luke Boden, Adama Mbengue and Harrison Heath for potential MLS deals.
The rest of the roster is still being sorted out as the Lions and NYCFC are scheduled to partake an MLS Expansion Priority Draft on Wednesday. The draw will decide which club will pick first in the MLS Expansion Draft on Dec. 10.
The Lions will play the entire 2015 season at the Citrus Bowl while their permanent home is under construction. Groundbreaking for the downtown soccer stadium is expected in October, according to an Orlando City official. The facility is set to open in 2016.
What do you make of this development? Who do you think Orlando City will play in their season opener at the Citrus Bowl?
Share your thoughts below.