Orlando City to Play Arsenal in Summer Friendly
Orlando City will play host to English giants Arsenal FC this summer at Exploria Stadium as a part of the new FC Series preseason showcase, the club announced Tuesday. The match will be held on July, 20.
This is an expansion of the Florida Cup, a preseason friendly tournament played at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. Camping World will still host a major match, with Arsenal expected to face London rivals Chelsea on July 23, pending the sale of Chelsea.
Hosting Arsenal is a unique experience for Orlando City and Orlando soccer. The Premier League is the biggest soccer league in the world and Arsenal are one of the biggest brands in the world. Few soccer teams are as popular in the United States as Arsenal, and this match could easily sellout Exploria Stadium.
Arsenal are currently vying for a spot in next year's UEFA Champions League, sitting in sixth place and three points off of the final Champions League spot. Head coach Mikel Arteta has led a bit of a reniassance this season after calls for him to be fired earlier in his Arsenal career.
The Gunners are led by several young stars. Norwegian dynamo and former Real Madrid wonder kid Martin Odergaard runs the show in attacking midfield and is an endlessly skilled No. 10. If it isn't the Norwegian, then English prospect Emile Smith-Rowe will be making things happen in the middle.
Wingers Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli provide the goal threat and dribbling threat on the flanks. Saka, a full England international, is one of the best young wingers in the world, while the Brazilian Martinelli continues to rise through the ranks for both club and country.
Other stars to watch for Arsenal include Scottish left back Kieran Tierney, Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey, English goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and potentially USMNT net minder Matt Turner, who will join the Gunners in the summer.