Thanks to 35,421 customers on Saturday night, Orlando City SC now will hold the single-season attendance record for a Florida pro soccer team. The Lions defeated Montreal 2-1 to close to within one point of the final playoff spot (currently held by Montreal) in the MLS Eastern Conference with two matches remaining.
The previous record for single-season average attendance for a pro team in the state of Florida was held by the 1979 Tampa Bay Rowdies who averaged just under 30,000 fans a game. Orlando is now guaranteed mathematically to break that mark with one remaining MLS match this season.
Elsewhere with Florida teams Saturday night, Jacksonville’s long shot bid at a spot in the NASL Championship is effectively over thanks to a 1-1 draw at home versus Indy Eleven. Fort Lauderdale’s 4-2 victory in San Antonio moved the Strikers even with Tampa Bay and Edmonton for the final Championship spot. Tampa Bay lost 1-0 in Minnesota.
Regarding the reports of Orlando City brass visiting Portland last week for the NWSL (women’s pro league) league meetings, I can confirm that the Lions are likely to have a team in that league next season. Several NWSL structural issues were discussed at the meetings as well but those can be discussed another time.