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Orlando City Dominates New England, Finish 2nd Place in MLS

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Duncan McGuire gives a thumbs-up to fans after goal. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) — In an era of Messi-dominated headlines and massive overspending for lackluster results; Orlando City remains an anomaly within the league. In December, Oscar Pareja’s tenure at Orlando City will turn four years old. In that time, the Lions have slowly reformed themselves into a sleeping giant in the Eastern Conference. This 3-2 result against the Revs proves that Orlando City has evolved into a scary team. Coupled with their narrow win mid-week against Nashville, this nine-game unbeaten run secures home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

 

The Purple Revolution is officially here.

Orlando City’s formula to success has been unorthodox, to say the least. Nonetheless, last night’s victory over New England — especially the offensive fluidity in the first half — was a testament to how far this team has come.

Just three short years ago, Orlando was a one-dimensional team relying on the heroics of a Nani, Mueller, or Dyke to turn a game around. After Nani’s departure in 2021, Orlando City indexed into South American talent with the likes of Facundo Torres, Cesar Araujo, and Antonio Carlos the summer prior.

Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

Torres’ debut season was a smashing success as Orlando City won their first piece of silverware with the U.S. Open Cup trophy. The following summer, Orlando doubled down on their prospects in the southern hemisphere. Martin Ojeda and Ramiro Enrique both made the jump from Argentina to the United States.

Wilder Cartagena, the Peruvian ball-stopper, became a fundamental pairing alongside Araujo in midfield. But the real ace in the hole was Ivan Angulo’s loan transfer from Palmeiras. Once the Colombian international found his footing in an Orlando City shirt; Orlando’s offense has never looked better.

Ivan Angulo in disbelief after a near-miss on goal. Photo: Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News.

Where does Orlando’s depth rank among the best?

One of the best attributes of Orlando City’s nine-game unbeaten run is their strength in numbers. Orlando City possesses four players with more than ten goal contributions (goals + assists) on their roster. Martin Ojeda and Torres are the crafty left-footed wingers that can play on either side of the field. When Torres is on the right wing, the objective is to cut inside and score. When he occupies the left wing, the gameplan tends to be a lofted cross into space. Then, players like Angulo and Mauricio Pereyra fill in the gaps in midfield.

No championship-caliber team is complete without a plethora of strikers. Luckily, Orlando City has that in droves with their star rookie of the year candidate Duncan McGuire. After last night’s header, the Omaha native has 11 goals in 17 starts to his tally. Ramiro Enrique shared a lot of his time with the now-departed Ercan Kara. Even still, the former Banfield product has been efficient in front of the goal for Orlando City. He is averaging .46 goals/assists per 90 minutes which is a number that can only improve once he finds regularity. In fact, McGuire was called up to the United States Men’s Olympic National Team Sunday morning.

 

Playoff aspirations higher than ever before

So how does Orlando fare against the rest of the conference for their playoff run? Since their last loss to Inter Miami in the Leagues Cup, they have beaten or taken points off every team in the top five of the Eastern Conference. This is the first year Orlando City surpassed a +10 goal differential since their shortened 2020 season.

The best part about it? The City Beautiful is playing a beautiful brand of soccer that all fans can love. In a year where massive Messi headlines have dominated the league, the real storyline out of Florida is how Orlando City continues to churn out a successful style of play that dazzles the fans but also remains potent against the league’s best defenses.

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Nicolas Vera is a sports reporter for Florida National News, part of the FNN News Network. | info@floridanationalnews.com

Sports

2025 DAYTONA 500 Logo Unveiled

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 15, 2024) – Daytona International Speedway today unveiled the 2025 DAYTONA 500 logo, paying tribute to the design roots of speed as it features the iconic Harley J. Earl Trophy front and center.

Variations of Harley J. Earl awards were presented to DAYTONA 500 champions for decades. But it wasn’t until 1998 that the modern Harley J. Earl Trophy featuring Earl’s Firebird I concept automobile, hand-sculpted by artist John Lajba, atop a black trioval base was presented in Victory Lane.

The late NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt was the first to take home the trophy that pays homage to Harley J. Earl, a renowned automotive designer and the second commissioner of NASCAR.

“The DAYTONA 500 is not only NASCAR’s biggest race of the year, but also one of the most famous motorsports races in the world,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher. “By featuring the symbol of becoming a DAYTONA 500 champion, the Harley J. Earl Trophy, in the logo for the 67th running of The Great American Race, we blend the greatness of the race with the history of the sport.”

Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron was the most recent Cup Series driver to take home the Harley J. Earl Trophy this past February, capturing his first – and Hendrick Motorsports’ ninth – DAYTONA 500

Fans are encouraged to sign up for exclusive pre-sale access to the 2025 DAYTONA 500 by logging onto DAYTONA500.com and completing the pre-sale registration form. To receive priority access to seats, camping, and other experiences, fans may place a $25 deposit to jump the line and receive an early purchase link.

NASCAR will be back at Daytona International Speedway one more time in 2024, for one of the final opportunities for Cup Series drivers to clinch a spot in the Playoffs during the Coke Zero Sugar 400 weekend on Aug. 23-24.

Drivers in the NASCAR Xfinity Series will tackle the 2.5-mile trioval once again in the Wawa 250 powered by Coca-Cola on Friday, Aug. 23. Then, on Saturday Aug. 24, the NASCAR Cup Series returns to DAYTONA during the Coke Zero Sugar 400. Tickets may be purchased for the Coke Zero Sugar 400 race weekend at daytonainternationalspeedway.com.

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Inaugural NWSL X Liga MX Femenil Summer Cup Sets U.S. Television and Streaming Details, Playoff Sites

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ORLANDO, Fla. (May 28, 2024) — The National Women’s Soccer League and LIGA MX Femenil today announced further details for the first-ever NWSL x LIGA MX Femenil Summer Cup, including broadcast details for both English and Spanish-language distribution in the U.S., playoff locations and competition rules and regulations.

In addition, it was announced that the Orlando Pride match against C.F. Monterrey Femenil, originally scheduled for Sunday, July 28 at INTER&Co Stadium as part of the NWSL x LIGA MX Femenil Summer Cup, has been moved to Saturday, July 27. The match will still kick off at the same time, 7 p.m. ET and will be streamed on Paramount+.

The Pride open the tournament with a trip to WakeMed Soccer Park to battle against the North Carolina Courage on Saturday, July 20. Kickoff for that match is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on Paramount+. Orlando will round out pool play by welcoming Racing Louisville FC to INTER&Co Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 1. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET with the match broadcasted on Paramount+ and CBS Sports Golazo Network.

Debuting this season as part of a groundbreaking collaboration between the two leagues, the NWSL x LIGA MX Femenil Summer Cup kicks off July 19 featuring all 14 NWSL clubs and the six teams with the most points achieved in LIGA MX Femenil Clausura and Apertura during 2023, including Tigres UANL, Club América, Chivas de Guadalajara, Rayadas de Monterrey, Pachuca and Tijuana.

The tournament will consist of 30 group stage contests followed by a four-team semifinal round on August 6. CPKC Stadium, home of the Kansas City Current, in Kansas City, Missouri, will host the doubleheader semifinal round. The championship match will be staged at Toyota Field in San Antonio, Texas, on Friday, October 25.

NWSL x LIGA MX Femenil Summer Cup will feature five groups of four teams consisting of both NWSL and LIGA MX Femenil clubs, with each club competing in three matches. Of the five group winners, the four clubs with the most points will advance to the semifinals.

A complete schedule with updated kick times and broadcast details is below. For more information about NWSL x LIGA MX Femenil Summer Cup, click here.

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Tom’s Watch Bar “America’s Super Sports Bar” Now Open In Orlando

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ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) — Orlando sports fans have something new to cheer about! Tom’s Watch Bar is now open on International Drive.

Following a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony, “America’s Super Sports Bar” is now welcoming guests to the ultimate watch party with its 360-degree viewing experience.

Tom’s features giant stadium screens and 150+ TVs lining the restaurant and bar, plus amazing views of the Orlando skyline from the two-story venue’s prime rooftop location.

And what’s a watch party without food? In addition to an unmatched viewing environment, Tom’s will serve elevated gameday favorites like Deep-Dish Nachos, Tom’s Famous Prime Rib Dip, and Korean BBQ Wings, just to name a few. Guests will also enjoy an extensive drink menu featuring numerous beers on tap, a vast selection of specialty cocktails and more. And there’s something for families too — a $10 kids’ menu available all day, every day.

“Orlando draws sports fans from all over the country, and locals are passionate about their Central Florida teams. Now, everyone can cheer for their favorite teams together at America’s finest sports bar,” Tom Ryan, co-founder of Tom’s Watch Bar. “From our extensive calendar of watch parties to our partnerships with local teams, we’re ready to bring a viewing experience like no other to all sports fans in Orlando.”

With a highly sought-after rooftop location right in the heart of the Orlando Entertainment District on International Drive just off I-4, the two-story, 13,000-square-foot sports bar and restaurant will be a game-changer for sports enthusiasts and local guests who want to enjoy the views just minutes away from Downtown Orlando and Windermere.

 

In addition to the rooftop views and hundreds of TVs, guests can enjoy virtual golf suites, featuring several games including the popular Topgolf target game, Zombie Dodgeball, Hockey Shots, Baseball Pitching, and more – paired with comfortable lounge seating, HDTVs and food and beverage service.

Tom’s Watch Bar can also host private events and meetings for groups from 10 to 800 with customizable menus, flexible spaces and advanced A/V capabilities. To learn more about private event books, click here.

Tom’s Watch Bar is located at 8050 International Drive, Suite 1000 Orlando, FL 32819. For more information, visit https://tomswatchbar.com/loc/orlando/.

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