The Lion’s Den

Story by: Nathaniel Rivas

Purple flooded the streets and the skies this past Sunday in Orlando. March 5th will forever be known as a historic day for this city as Orlando City SC debuted in the brand-new Orlando Stadium. Almost everything has been redesigned compared to last year’s home at Camping World Stadium. The fans remain the same, but the atmosphere is ever-changing.

This new stadium sits 25,500 fans. According to Soccer Stadium Digest, Orlando had the second highest attendance last season with 31,324, trailing only the Seattle Sounders. The games for Orlando should be full every game this year, and opening day made no exception. The official attendance totaled at 25,527. The sold-out stadium electrified the evening.

Some unique features to this stadium still revolve around the fans. The supporter’s section, properly known as The Wall, is a standing-only section. Safety railings are located directly in front of each row to provide support if necessary. Having a standing-only section for The Wall is safer and more ideal than the seats were in Camping World Stadium.

The Wall stands and jumps the whole time, so there is no need for seats. Perhaps the railing ensures fans can endure the bouncing of the fans. The confetti cannons from Camping World Stadium are gone; purple smoke now floods the skies and field.

A slanted roof offers two features: protection and noise. The new roof offers shade for the fans and will protect them from the rain. The noise is the most intriguing aspect. With the way the roof is slanted and placed low, more noise stays inside and creates a truly intimidating atmosphere. At the game Sunday, the fans made their voices loud during warm-ups and the national anthem.

The rowdiness only grew once the first whistle blew, and it only got louder as Cyle Larin scored the first goal in the new stadium. The whole stadium shook from excitement and let out a roar due to fans both jumping and stomping their feet. At one moment, ESPN stopped commentating for a minute due to the roaring sound of the “ORLANDO…CITY” chant.

The players now play on all natural grass instead of on turf. It not only looks nice but is harder to maintain. The workers take pride in keeping the pitch in pristine condition. In Orlando City’s last preseason game, Larin said this new pitch is one of the best fields he has ever played on. The adjustment period for Larin wasn’t long as he netted the only goal Sunday in Orlando’s 1-0 victory over New York City FC. Playing on grass gives a better and safer environment for this beautiful game.

Nothing is ever perfect, but operations ran smoothly Sunday. Problems can always be addressed and solved. The team can and will continue to improve. Orlando City, welcome home.

Featured image for this article courtesy of

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