ORLANDO, Fla. – The new Orlando City Soccer stadium will host a World Cup qualifier match in October between the U.S. and Panama, U.S. Men's National team officials announced Monday.
The match will be the first time the U.S. Men's National team plays in Orlando since 1998 and only the second World Cup Qualifier in Florida since 1980.
ESPN and Univision networks will broadcast the Oct. 6 match live from Orlando City Soccer Stadium sponsored by Volpi Foods.
The World Cup Qualifier is the last match of the Final Round for the U.S. team. The team is currently in fourth place. The top three teams qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
The winner of U.S.- Panama match will advance to 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The qualifier will be the first major competition held at the brand new Orlando City Soccer stadium, completed earlier this year.
Orlando City CEO Alex Leitão said hosting major events like the World Cup qualifier was one of the objectives of building a soccer stadium.
“We’ve seen the engagement from our supporters and the impact they have on our MLS and National Women’s Soccer League teams, and we are excited to see the atmosphere and energy they will bring when the U.S. National Team comes to town to play their last home qualifying match of the tournament,” Leitão said.
The 25,000-seat stadium is located at 655 W. Church Street in the heart of the Parramore neighborhood, which has been a focus of revitalization efforts by Orlando leaders.
Features of the new stadium include a 360-degree lower bowl, with a canopy overhead to enhance crowd noise and provide shelter from harsh weather conditions. The stadium also has a tribute built in to the Pulse shooting victims: 49 rainbow colored seats.
“Our Club has played an active role in using the influence of our teams to attract worldwide interest in bringing more soccer into this community,” Orlando City SC COO Fred Pollastri said. “Our fans, and the fortress they’ve created, are helping us achieve these goals starting with this match.”
U.S. Soccer officials said information about purchasing tickets for this match is coming soon. Because of the high demand expected officials said they will use a lottery system.