Throwback Thursday: Charlotte FC
Orlando City has never played Charlotte FC before. Charlotte FC have only existed for nine games.
But Orlando City did play North Carolina teams back in the USL days, and this week we're throwing it back to the final year of the USL era, 2014.
The Lions hosted the Charlotte Eagles on August, 4, 2014. It was a typical midsummer USL Championship day, but it was a special one for me personally: this is the first Orlando City game I ever attended or even seen.
I am not from the Orlando area, but my family moved there that summer, and on a whim we decided to check out a soccer game. This was back at the future home of the MLS is Back Tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, a far from impressive venue, but the experience was unforgettable.
The fans were incredible and unlike anything I had ever seen. It was loud, lively and surprisingly intense. I knew very little about soccer or soccer culture, only just being introduced to the sport at that summer's World Cup, but I was blown away by what I experienced that night.
On the field, Orlando dominated. I was under the impression that Orlando always crushed teams at the USL level, because the Lions cruised to a 4-1 victory over a clearly overmatched Charlotte team. The star on the day was Trinidadian winger Kevin Molino, who scored a brace, and his heroics made a lasting impression on a young me.
Molino was instantly one of my favorite players in this world and I still love the player to this day. He's probably my all-time favorite Orlando City player and an early icon for me in the sport.
I've been to plenty of Orlando City games since and follow the team intently for myself and internet content, and it all started with that one USL game, against Charlotte.