Hi there, gentle readers.
Janet and I made the trip down to Orlando this weekend with Phil and Bobbi Bees of The Regiment. Saw a good number of Battery fans down at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World. Got a glimpse of the Orlando franchise in its transitional year from USL PRO to MLS, from the Citrus Bowl to its promised soccer-specific stadium downtown.
For the moment, Orlando City SC is not so comfortably ensconced at the “soccer complex” at the Wide World of Sports. The stands hold about 5,500 — far less than last year’s regular attendance at the Citrus Bowl — and yet Saturday’s match against the Battery was not sold out. The facility looked nice on the team’s webcast when Charleston went down for the first time, but it’s not quite as impressive in person. It’s overwhelmed and overlooked by the surrounding architecture.
We spent Sunday down there, so I didn’t get to put this gallery together until Monday night. I expect I’ll write something about the experience this week — probably in lieu of the usual Game Wrap, since we’re way off the usual schedule by this point.
As for the match, I think John Ace got the gist of it: The Battery played well against what amounts to an undefeated MLS team in USL PRO, conceded a goal that began with a set piece three minutes before the break, and simply couldn’t convert their chances. The loss ran Charleston’s regular-season record against Orlando in Florida to 0-7-0 (1-11-2 overall), and while the games in the series have generally been competitive, those numbers tell the truth. Orlando is a better team. It sucks to lose, but this was solid performance in a loss, and not the end of the world.
TOP: Substitute forward Adam Mena misses a chance in the 89th minute. It was that kind of night. Dan Conover photos.