On Monday, Major League Soccer (MLS) announced the 2019 league schedule and also revealed Orlando City would be hosting the (MLS) All-Star Game on July 31 at Orlando City Stadium. The Lions will open the season on Saturday March 2 against New York City FC at Orlando City Stadium.
Six of the first 8 games will be played at home, but the Lions manage to avoid any brutal road stretch as they did in 2018. The longest time away from home will be a three-game stretch in June when they play at Montreal, Washington and Columbus.
Among the schedule highlights is a visit from reigning champion Atlanta United on August 23 and a match against the Los Angeles Galaxy, featuring superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Orlando City plays in Atlanta on May 12.
The Lions are hoping to improve on their highly disappointing season in 2018. They finished 11th, and last, in the MLS Eastern Division, winning only 8 of their 34 games.
Perhaps Orlando is becoming all-star central as two professional sports leagues will be holding their all-star games in Central Florida in 2019. In less than three weeks, the NFL Pro Bowl will be played Camping World Stadium.
That game is set for Sunday, January 27, one week before the Super Bowl.
Orlando City organizers will have a long way to go to match last year’s All-Star Game hosted by Atlanta. In that contest, Serie A champion Juventus played the MLS All-Stars to a 1-1 draw, but came away with the win following a penalty kick shootout.
The game drew a remarkable 72,317 to Mercedes Benz Stadium.