‘Florida Cup’ in January to Feature German, Brazilian Teams

We’ve got breaking news this week regarding off-season soccer in Florida! We’ve confirmed with former FC Dallas player Ricardo Villar that the inaugural ‘Florida Cup’ will be held in Orlando and Jacksonville, beginning on Friday, Jan. 15. It will feature two teams from the German Bundesliga, along with two teams from the Brazilian Série A.

Villar, born in Sao Paolo, Brazil himself,  currently serves as Director of International Relations for sport events and education company 2SV, who will arrange the event. While the teams and dates are confirmed, we’re still waiting for details on where the matches will take place. 2SV has a partnership with the Disney Wide World of Sports complex, and sources tell us that the Orlando matches will likely take place there.

The first round of the tournament will be held in Orlando on the 15th, and will feature Fluminese FC vs. Bayer Leverkusen 04, and Corinthians Sao Paolo vs. 1. FC Köln. The second round will be just two days later in Jacksonville, where the two German squads will face the Brazilian team they did not play in the previous match.

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More Orlando City Brazil Preseason Buzz

An online report about Orlando City Designated Player Kaka seems to leak details about the Lions’ preseason plans for friendlies in Brazil. We reported on those rumors a while back, but now things are heating up.

Club owner Flávio Augusto da Silva addressed the rumor on his Facebook page today, saying (via Bing Translator):

Orlando City was invited to participate in a tournament in Manaus, where Flamengo and the SPFC already confirmed their presence. However, we have yet to receive tournament organization confirmation of our opponents. As soon as we know who will make the games I will be happy to disseminate correct information.

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Meet Our New Foes: Toronto FC

This is the 16th part of a series in which we introduce Orlando City fans to the teams our Lions will be facing in 2015 when the team starts play in Major League Soccer. Today we take a look at Toronto FC.

Telling us about Toronto FC is Mitchell Tierney, manager at SB Nation’s Waking the Red blog.

What are the three most important things Orlando City fans need to know about Toronto FC?

Mitchell Tierney: The first thing you should know about our team is that you will enjoy playing us, for the most part. That’s because we don’t win very much, even when the names on our roster would tend to indicate otherwise. The club’s biggest talent has always been finding ways to lose. In eight years in the league we have never made the playoffs.

We also tend to change everyone in the organization at least once a year. It really isn’t worth memorizing any of our players because you probably won’t see them the next time you play against us. That also goes for managers: we have had nine in only eight seasons and there is a chance we could get another this offseason.

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Lions a Potential Hotbed for Young American Talent

USMNT fans rejoice! While club vs. country has been a hot topic in recent weeks, Orlando City SC is establishing early on that they can benefit the National Team program and should have U.S. Soccer purists a least taking notice.

Adrian Heath sends a strong statement with his current roster as he builds toward Orlando City’s opening campaign next March, and that statement is youth. With seven of the nine current outfield players under the age of 25, AH is creating a strong foundation for the program to build upon for years to come. Among this group of Lions are two cubs that should give supporters of the Red, White & Blue reason to get on board with the work being done in Orlando.

U.S. Youth Internationals Tommy Redding and Tyler Turner were amongst the first signings of Orlando City’s MLS era. Whether the defensive duo see regular minutes with Orlando or go out on loan to gain experience, they have shown they possess all the tools necessary to build on their impressive first year of professional soccer. For National Team fans, their inclusion is a positive sign that Adrian Heath has no apprehensions relying on young Americans.

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Meet Our New Foes: L.A. Galaxy

This is the 15th part of a series in which we introduce Orlando City fans to the teams our Lions will be facing in 2015 when the team starts play in Major League Soccer. Today we take a look at the L.A. Galaxy.

Telling us about the Galaxy is Josie Becker, manager at SB Nation’s L.A. blog, LAG Confidential.

What are the three most important things Orlando City fans need to know about the Galaxy?

Josie Becker: The LA Galaxy are the best MLS club that ever MLS’d. There’s enough silverware in the closet to serve an elegant dinner party in the ritziest of places. Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Cobi Jones, Jorge Campos, these are the guys which have put on the shirt. It’s fun stuff.

What are the can’t-miss things to do when Orlando City fans visit an L.A. game?

JB: Carson isn’t the hotbed of activity, but there’s a KFC across the street! Have you ever had KFC? It’s got over five herbs and spices in the batter, totally worth checking out.

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Who Should the Lions Take in Chivas USA Dispersal Draft?

The official dissolution of Chivas USA and the Dispersal Draft that will follow at some point this off-season serve as sharp reminders of the nature of Major League Soccer. As many a disgruntled soccer purist will point out, MLS is still a single-entity league, where the league office, rather than the teams themselves, has the final say in almost everything that happens off the pitch.

Rather than having all of Chivas’ players simply become free agents, as would be expected in most major soccer leagues or other American professional sports, those on the roster will re-enter the league through what’s called a dispersal draft. The details haven’t been finalized, but it will work just like any other draft for the most part. The teams will be ordered, likely from worst to first, and select the players that they would like off of Chivas USA’s roster.

We do know two things for sure:  according to MLS Executive Vice President Todd Durbin, there will in fact be a dispersal draft this off-season, and Orlando City and NYCFC will take part. What we’re unsure of is where in the order the two expansion clubs will fall, along with any additional rules and minutia. ESPN is reporting that the draft may take place on Dec. 1, but that is unconfirmed.

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Meet Our New Foes: Montreal Impact

This is the 14th part of a series in which we introduce Orlando City fans to the teams our Lions will be facing in 2015 when the team starts play in Major League Soccer. Today we take a look at the Montreal Impact.

Telling us about Montreal is Jean-Francois Corbet, staff writer at SB Nation’s Impact blog, Mount Royal Soccer.

What are the three most important things Orlando City fans need to know about the Impact?

Jean-Francois Corbet

1. First of all, the club was founded in 1993. Before joining MLS in 2012 as an expansion team, the Montreal Impact won three championships in different leagues around North America. The most recent one was in 2009. The team had success early in MLS, making the playoffs in 2013, and they represented Canada in the CONCACAF Champions League.

2. The owner of the club is Joey Saputo, who since last week is now one of the owners of Bologna FC in Italy’s second division. He is a very passionate owner and he is not afraid to make some moves to be competitive, as we have seen with the acquisition during the first year of stars like Marco Di Vaio and Alessandro Nesta.

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