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Orlando City MLS - Part 2
Continued from part 1
We made all these arrangements several weeks before the game, in fact as soon as tickets became available and then forgot about it until we arrived in Orlando some four weeks ahead of the big game. Soccer fever had come to Orlando in force! Orlando football shirts, and T shirts were readily found in retail outlets along with baseball caps, sports bottles, sweatbands and other souvenirs.
Cars were sporting Orlando City bumper stickers and pennants and when we visited the soccer store in the Florida Mall we were asked if we had purchased our tickets to the game. You couldn' t help but notice that MLS was coming to Orlando! The day before the match my husband logged on to Orlando City' s website to find that the match was a sell out and that an extra 2000, standing only tickets had been released and they too had sold out. What' s that I hear you say, standing at a soccer match, that wouldn' t happen in the Premier League, how will they control the hooligans? This was going to be a major event!
We then started to become concerned about parking the car and decided to pre book parking in Lot M which was the only lot still showing availability, this was our first big mistake!
We were unsure what to expect at an MLS game, would their be entertainment prior to the match, cheerleaders and the general razzmatazz you associate with American football and baseball games? We decided to arrive 2 hours before the 5pm kick off which should have given us plenty of time to find our parking lot, stroll to the stadium, maybe pick up a hot dog or burger on the way and generally enjoy the build up to the big game. This was our second big mistake, we should have allowed far more time.
We arrived in the vicinity of the stadium by our scheduled 3pm, the streets around The Citrus Bowl were awash with the purple shirts of Orlando City supporters, although we did spot a couple of sky blue stalwarts sporting Etihad across their chests. Families were having barbecues and picnics where beer was ever present and vendors were selling burgers, hot dogs, ribs, pulled pork sandwiches etc. etc. Everything appeared to be family orientated and very good natured.
Numerous, local entrepreneurs were waving flags and offering parking priced between $10 and $20, parking lots of local businesses, forecourts and even residential driveways were being utilized, a bit like back home really. Anybody seeing all this could not deny that Orlando had taken the opportunity to become involved in the very English game of soccer right to its heart and this could be something really big!
Continued in part 3
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