An Orlando Sentinel report, which translates a Facebook post by Orlando City owner Flavio Augusto da Silva, suggests that the Lions could be eyeing a preseason trio of friendlies in Brazil. In the post, da Silva asks fans which three Brazilian clubs they’d like to see Orlando City square off against.
Playing in Brazil would make a lot of sense, as both da Silva and designated player Kaká hail from that country. The move would be a departure for Orlando City, which has typically played in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex. The Lions have held their own over the years against MLS sides in that tourney.
The Sentinel report quotes Orlando City Vice President of Communications Lenny Santiago as saying there is no deal in place for any Brazilian friendlies yet:
“With our strong Brazilian fanbase as well as the significant international interest in Kaká, we are exploring a number of options for the start of preseason,” club spokesman Lenny Santiago said. “However, nothing has been finalized at this point in time.”
Playing preseason friendlies in Brazil might help to grow the Orlando City brand internationally, but the Lions are transitioning into the MLS in 2015, and it might be better to stay home and build momentum heading into the inaugural Major League Soccer season.
Attendance at games has been very good for a USL PRO team (Third in the league at 4,743 per game in the smaller Disney complex, after leading the league with 8,053 per game in the Citrus Bowl in 2013), but the Lions will want to woo additional fans for the move to MLS.
It would be an exciting trip for fans, but I’m not sure holding three friendlies in Brazil really helps the Orlando City brand at home much.