Orlando City Hopes Match Against A.S. Roma Helps Lead To MLS



WINTER PARK, Fla. - Soccer fans filled the Rollins College stadium on Wednesday to see the Orlando City Soccer Club battle against one of the best teams in the world, A.S. Roma.

Roma defeated Orlando City 5-0 at Barker Family Stadium in Winter Park.

In the meantime, Orlando City Soccer is pushing to become a major league team.  Currently, they have the highest fan attendance of any minor league soccer team, averaging about 7,000 fans per game when they play at the Citrus Bowl.

Mateo Rodriguez, 13, is a part of the home team's youth league, and was one of the first fans in line for the game.

"We get to practice with them and watch them, and they help us out a lot," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said he wants to see his role models go pro, and WFTV found out the game could help make that happen.

"The level that we're at is great for the start here in Orlando, but I think we're starting to prove that we can be something bigger," said Orlando City midfielder Jamie Watson.

Watson said playing against teams like A.S. Roma make he and his teammates better, and prove to the Major League Soccer Commission that they have what it takes.

The stadium holds 500 people, and crowds of people were turned away after the game sold out.

"We're averaging the most out of any minor league soccer team in the United States, and as long as we continue to do that it's going to be pretty hard not to end up in the MLS someday," said Chris Jones of Orlando City Soccer Club.

In addition to fans, the team needs a soccer-dedicated stadium.

Plans for a $100 million, 18,000-seat stadium were drafted in December.

The team said it's hoping to get the money in line this year.

A soccer stadium for the Orlando City Soccer Club would need to be funded through city, state and private money.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer met with the MLS Commission in an effort to secure a partnership.