Still one year away from making their Major League Soccer debut, Orlando City continue to schedule major-league caliber games at all opportunities.
The USL PRO club has announced that it will host Italian powerhouse Roma on May 23 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the second consecutive year that the Lions will take on the Serie A giants. The teams played in January 2013 at Rollins College's 500-seat stadium, with Roma winning 5-0 against an Orlando team that included multiple trialists.
“AS Roma are one of the top clubs in the world and we are delighted to have them back in Florida again,” Orlando City president Phil Rawlins said in a statement. “I know our fans will enjoy seeing the Lions take on a world-class team like Roma.”
Roma are in the third year of a six-year contract as "the official professional football team" of the Wide World of Sports Complex, which is in its first season as Orlando City's home stadium due to renovations at the Citrus Bowl.
“We are very happy to return to Orlando this year,” said AS Roma CEO Italo Zanzi, a former deputy general secretary with CONCACAF, in the statement. “We look forward to an exciting match with Orlando City – it will be a great complement to our training at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports.”
Currently in second place in Serie A, Roma played in the MLS All-Star Game last summer and also played friendlies at Toronto FC and against Chelsea at RFK Stadium. In 2012, Roma played three summer friendlies in the US, none of which were against American clubs. American midfielder Michael Bradley was transferred from Roma to Toronto FC during the 2013-14 MLS offseason.
Tickets for the May 23 match went on sale to Orlando City season ticket holders on Thursday morning and will go on sale to the general public at 10 am ET on Saturday.