Introduction time! I’m Shae (Shy-Aye, not Shea) and I am so excited to be the new Orlando City Official Reporter for MLSFemale!
Soccer has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I played defense from youth through high school until a foot injury ended that dream for me, so then I started following the pros (and some not so pros – Go UVA Cavs!). For the longest, I only paid attention to overseas, Real Madrid specifically and the World Cup teams. Then Orlando joined the MLS and I jumped in head first and never looked back.
It was kind of like fate. My favorite color has always been purple and, despite growing up in New York, I knew from age 15 I wanted to be in Orlando. When I moved in 2013, I fell in love with the city. And then I found out about Orlando City, who just so happened to be purple (which is not your typical jersey color). It struck me as my time to get involved with MLS.
I’ve been a diehard ever since, attending as many home games as physically possible. I’ve been known to scour Central Florida for a place to watch away games. I even celebrated my birthday last year out in Las Vegas and went searching for anywhere that would let me watch an out of market game. (We lost 4-0 to Houston but hey).
That’s just a quick intro to me! I look forward to sharing Orlando City news with you all and making new connections! I can be found on pretty much any social media network at @shaeeliz. Come by and say hey!
“Welcome back my friends
To the show that never ends
We’re so glad you could attend Come inside, come inside”
The circus that is MLS. They have their daring heroes, their colorful sideshows, and the universal appeal of the performance.
Let me tell you what I love about soocer: anyone can play. If you have a ball and can agree where the goals are, YOU CAN PLAY. And that’s the message behind the You Can Play Project. It’s about going out there and showing the world your talent. Soccer is supposed to be the most level playing field. If you have the talent and the drive, you can do well in this sport, no matter who you are. So with rainbows on scarves and t-shirts, and the mindset that anyone can join in, the New York Red Bulls (12-9-2, 38 points) marked its first ever Pride Night by facing Orlando City SC (8-10-6, 30 points).
THE SHOW MUST GO ON: Recent USMNT shooting star and even more recent OCSC acquisition Dom Dwyer had to have a minor procedure on his nose, so he stayed home in Orlando. I don’t want to say, “Yay, crisis averted,” but it’s at least one less concern for the team. Strikers Kaká and Cyle Larin are enough of a difficulty usually. And they made their presence known on the field… for better or for worse.
THE LIONS ROARED: They scored first (Carlos Rivas 18′),
17' | Rivas with acres of space on a stray pass! His chip just goes over!
They stayed physical for the full 90+, and they weren’t afraid to foul or be fouled, to apply pressure or be caught offside. It may have resulted in an own goal (Léo Pereira, 30″), but the team deserves a measure of credit for bringing the fight to RBNY.
THE BRAVE TAMER IN THE CENTER RING: RBNY took over the 2nd half of the game, which has been their form of late. Knowing a tie was not enough to keep them safely above the red line, Bradley Wright-Phillips (60′) added to his career goal tally (now up to 83) and Sean Davis sealed the deal (80′) with an amazing bend on the ball that caused an eruption of cheers in the crowd.
(Sitting in the press box, I have an obligation to not react to the run of play, but I will admit that I am enlivened by the roar of the crowd. I’m still not jumping up and down or anything, but it puts a smile on my face.)
CLOWN MOVE: I have neither the time nor the inclination to consider every team on the eastern seaboard a “rival” so I wasn’t expecting the level of animosity between RBNY & OCSC that came to a head over the course of the match.
Additionally, the Disciplinary Committee has found both Orlando and New York in violation of the Mass Confrontation Policy in the 94th minute of the teams’ meeting. Both Orlando City and the Red Bulls have been issued warnings for each club’s first violation of the League’s policy this season.
And then there was the Video Review of this interaction, which resulted in a red card for Kaká. This made the 4 minutes of stoppage time in the 2nd half become 8 minutes. That’s just… unnecessary. And I’m not really convinced that the action was worthy of a red card! But the final whistle eventually blew, and the Red Bulls had won the day. The fireworks between the teams were replaced by actual fireworks to light the sky above the arena.
Courtesy Fernando Gonzalez via Twitter
With barely enough time to breathe, RBNY headed to Cincinnati for the Open Cup semi-final…. but that’s for another article.
After much online banter between Atlanta United and Orlando City fans over the last month – and some for over two years prior, the two teams finally met in Orlando on Friday, July 21 to begin the (slightly manufactured) rivalry everyone’s been talking about.
Things got heated a few days before the game when we learned that ATLUTD had paid for a billboard to go up in downtown Orlando, two blocks from the OCSC stadium.
This did not go over well in Orlando. Two days after it went up, the billboard was defaced (allegedly) by the Iron Lion Firm, one of OCSC’s let’s say “rowdier” supporters groups. The billboard was taken down later that day, whether by Orlando fans or because that was the plan is unclear.
ATLUTD had just under 500 fans travel to Orlando for the game. During the march to the match, Atlanta fans were escorted by local police and some OCSC front office staff. Someone threw a purple smoke bomb in the middle of the march. Another Atlanta fan was sucker punched walking to the stadium and the people he was with had water bottles thrown at them. There were also reports of a false fire alarm at 3:45AM at the hotel the team was staying at. The social media staff had a good response to that one:
The game was pretty close, though. If not for Tito Villalba‘s late screamer of a goal, ATLUTD would have come away with just one point. My favorite part of this clip is that Adrian Healy and Taylor Twellman are talking about how Bendik has been making some great saves and is Orlando’s MVP and then…
I hate to say it, but that was really well done. And it had us ATL fans worried for a while. Down 0-1 at home to a team we defeated 8 days prior? Fortunately, Tito did not let that happen. An extra time goal from Tito took back a point and Atlanta remains undefeated against Orlando City. I do love the treatment Dirty South Soccer gives this clip:
We still have one more game against Orlando coming up in September. Hopefully their fans will be a little bit better behaved (but probably not).
This coming Sunday, Atlanta United travel to Kansas City to take on the top team in the West. I’m nervous, y’all. The good news is that Dom Dwyer is already in Orlando and wasn’t very effective against us this weekend. At least we don’t have to worry about him.
In other news…
Lots of progress has been made on our new home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium (aka “The Benz”). Turf was laid down this week. The stadium held a media day last week and so many pictures were shared!
It was just announced on Monday that our first game at the Benz is already sold out. The capacity will be held at 42,500 (the standard going forward for ATLUTD games) for the September 10th game against FC Dallas.
The ATLUTD U-16 Academy team are national champions!
U-15/16 Kings of the Academy. 👑@AcademyATLUTD only needed ☝️ year to make history. 🏆