By AARON CRANFORD
Orlando City SC announced Friday that the club had sold more than 40,000 tickets for their inaugural MLS match on March 8 (5 pm ET; ESPN2, ESPN Deportes).
The Lions will host New York City FC, and with over 40,000 tickets already sold, the opening-day affair will certainly be one to watch as they close in on their operation to fill the bowl. Orlando played to a 2-2 draw against BK Hacken earlier this afternoon, which saw Kaka assist Molino for the first goal of the match.
In the ticket sale announcement, Orlando City said only a limited number of season tickets remain in the lower bowl, and the Plaza level has nearly sold out.
“Orlando City fans have responded in overwhelming numbers since last Saturday and the milestones continue to fall as we approach the history-making season opener,” said Club President and Founder Phil Rawlins. “Three weeks remain and we are within reach of our goal to #FillTheBowl! Orlando and all of Central Florida have embraced Purple Pride. We are going to show the nation on March 8th why we are the ‘Soccer Capital of the South.’”
The #FillTheBowl campaign has a little less than a month to reach its desired goal of selling 60,000 tickets to the season opener.
Here are some more MLS stories to close out your Friday:
SPORTING KC SIGN HAITIAN MIDFIELDER SONI MUSTIVAR
Friday, Sporting Kansas City penned Soni Mustivar, who originally started in the French national team system, but has since played six times for the Haitian national team.
Per a club release, the 25-year-old midfielder will join Sporting KC pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa.
“I believe that once he gets acclimated to the way we play, there are some special qualities in his game that will become very apparent,” Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes said.
“I don’t think it will take too long for him to adjust to our team because he just played the entire fall season with his previous club. All in all, I think he will be a good addition for us and I think it will be demonstrated over time.”
Mustivar began his professional career as a teenager with SC Bastia in France’s Ligue 2 from 2008 to 2010. He made 22 league appearances, two appearances in the French League Cup and an appearance in the French Cup.
After a loan spell with US Orleans (France), Mustivar moved to FC Petrolul Ploiesti and has played the last three seasons in Romania’s Liga I. He made 61 appearances with two goals in league competition while also earning eight appearances in the UEFA Europa League. In addition, he started in Petrolul’s triumph in the 2012-13 Romanian Cup Final and captained the squad in the 2013 Romanian Supercup against Liga I champions Steaua Bucuresti.
“I am very excited to join Sporting Kansas City,” Mustivar said. “This is a great team with great fans. I am going to work hard from day one to contribute to the team any way I can.”
RED BULLS DEFENDER IBRAHIM SEKAGYA RETIRES
Ibrahim Sekagya calls it quits after a 20-year career, which saw him play for numerous clubs, including Atletico de Rafaela, Ferro Carril Oeste, Arsenal de Sarandi and RB Salzburg.
Sekagya has played for New York Red Bulls since 2013 and will be remembered as being the most iconic player in the history of Ugandian football.
According to New Vision, Sekagya phoned in his retirement hours after being offered a lucrative deal with the New York Red Bulls as part of the team’s coaching staff for Team B.
“I would like to thank my family, especially my wife for all the support she rendered me. I thank all the supporters and teammates I have played with through my career at club and with the national team for making me the player and human being I am today,” he added.
The New York Red Bulls saw another player leave Friday as they waived Eric Stevensen, who was drafted 34th in the 2014 SuperDraft.
STEVE ZAKUANI EXCITED TO BEGIN SOUNDERS BROADCASTING
The one-time Sounders player is looking forward to being a part of his old organization again this upcoming MLS season, but Steve Zakuani will be playing a different role this time around.
“I knew that once I retired or stopped playing, I would come back home, which is Seattle,” he said in the an interview with Sounders.com.
“And to be involved with the organization at any level, I would have done anything they asked me. And so, to do broadcasting with some really cool people, I’m excited about that.”
Steve Zakuani is excited to see how the other side of soccer, namely broadcasters, view and interpret the game. The former No. 1 overall draft pick was forced to retire at the age of 26 after multiple injuries, but he knows that his experiences on the field will help him in his new broadcast role.
“Just to be on the other side of it; I’ve been a player, so I understand the game from that side,” he said.
“But I want to see the other side of it, see how to analyze the game and kind of cheer the team on as a fan, but also giving perspective to it.”