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Orlando City, supporter clubs taking action after 'unacceptable' behavior

Atlanta United FC beat Lions 2-1 in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City Soccer Club said its fans' behavior was "unacceptable" Sunday during a match with Atlanta.

Upset over calls made by the referees, City fans threw debris, including bottles and cans, onto the pitch near the end of the match, which the Lions lost 2-1. 

The team said it's working to identify the fans who threw objects as they're reviewing video from the game.

"Orlando City SC does not support or condone the unacceptable actions taken by fans at Orlando City Stadium during Sunday’s match against Atlanta United," the team said in a statement. "Fans are strictly prohibited from throwing debris or objects onto the field." 

Orlando City representatives said the fans will be penalized "in accordance with Major League Soccer and Orlando City Stadium regulations." 

"It was just kind of all one big mess,"  said Charles Tolman, who is part of an Orlando City supporter group.

Tolman said if Orlando City fans in major supporter clubs were part of the bad behavior, they would also be banned from the groups.

"If anybody in any of our clubs, Ruckus or Iron Lion, was caught throwing anything, they’re being dealt with now, they’ll be banned from the group," Tolman said.

Tolman said it's downright embarrassing.  

"We do not tolerate that kind of stuff because it doesn’t add anything to the game," he said.

Head coach Jason Kreis also condemned the behavior after the match in a statement to fans.

"We’ve said all along that the fans are a part of our family, the crowd is part of our family and from our point of view, the players, we started to lose control emotionally a little bit as well, the coaches were losing control a little bit emotionally as well, and the crowd, the final piece is that we can’t be that," he said. "We can’t do that. We certainly want to be a very, very difficult place to play, but we need to show the right amount of restraint in that moment to not be throwing things on the field. We just can’t do that.” 

Lee Goldberg, an Orlando City season ticket holder, shot cellphone video that he said shows Atlanta versus Orlando fans arguing and using racial slurs.

"Seeing that was just an embarrassment," Goldberg said. 

Goldberg said he wants the issue to be dealt with.

"We’re better than that," Goldberg said. "People here in Orlando we’re much better."

Orlando Police Department officials said they issued 13 trespassing warnings Sunday night, which means those fans can't return to the stadium for the rest of the season.


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