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Orlando City SC To Face Chicago Fire in Preseason Friendly
Lions to face tough test in opening preseason match
ORLANDO, Fla.— Orlando City SC kicks off the 2014 preseason on Tuesday, February 11, against Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. EST as the Lions begin their historic final season in USL PRO before joining MLS in 2015.
“It should be a difficult test, because I think Chicago have been down here for a few weeks already,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “But we’ll go with the same approach that we always do, which is to win the game, and it will also give us an opportunity to give each of the players on trial a run.”
The Fire have been training in Ave Maria, Fla., since January 27, training in preparation for the MLS regular season, beginning on March 9 against Chivas USA. High profile players such as University of Central Florida alumni Sean Johnson and Forward Mike Magee headline the Chicago side, who aim to get back into the postseason for the first time since 2012.
The last time the two clubs played each other was the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals in Bridgeview, Ill., on June 26, 2013. Despite holding a 1-1 score line through the first 60 minutes, the Lions eventually fell to the Fire 5-1. Prior to the defeat, Orlando topped the Colorado Rapids and Sporting Kansas City in the 2013 edition of the Open Cup.
After the Fire friendly Tuesday night, Orlando City begins the 2014 Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic. The Lions are grouped with Philadelphia Union (February 19), Toronto FC (February 22), and the Columbus Crew (February 26). There will also be a match held on March 1, with the opponent TBD.
The club’s roster currently consists of: Goalkeepers Carl Woszczynski, Miguel Gallardo, Defenders Joseph Toby, Luke Boden, Rob Valentino, Midfielders Darwin Ceren Anthony Pulis, Kevin Molino, Yordany Alvarez, Austin Da Luz, James O’Connor, Jamie Watson and Forward Dennis Chin. Multiple trialists will also be participating in the friendly match and throughout the upcoming preseason.
Ceren was announced as the club’s latest player signing Thursday afternoon, with the El Salvadorian captain playing in both 2014 and 2015 in MLS. He is the third player guaranteed a spot on Orlando’s roster in MLS, with Alvarez and Molino the other two.
The Lions have been on the field training since Monday morning, practicing at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Sanford, Fla. Orlando’s regular season begins on March 22 in Charleston against the Battery before coming back to Central Florida for the home opener vs. the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday, March 29.
Admission for the Chicago match starts at $9 for children and $13 for adults. Parking is available around the soccer facility. The address of the complex is 5694 47th Street West Bradenton, FL 34210. The match will also be live streamed via imgacademy.com.