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Orlando City coach James O’Connor says Lions’ supporters will be rewarded

Orlando City SC fans hold up a tifo prior to the game against the Atlanta United at Orlando City Stadium. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Orlando City coach James O’Connor has made a point of thanking fans for their support after every home game this season.

In terms of announced attendance – tickets distributed – the Lions have been consistent in Orlando City Stadium.

A club spokesperson confirmed 22,000 tickets for the Lions’ home match against the Houston Dynamo have been sold as of Wednesday morning, which includes 19,000 tickets for season ticket holders.

The lowest announced attendance this season was 22,337 (April 8 against the Portland Timbers). Orlando City’s average announced home attendance this season is 24,139. The Lions are 5-6-3 (18 points) at home this season.

Orlando City Stadium’s capacity is 25,500. The merits of Orlando City Stadium and the atmosphere the supporters bring were recently touted during an announcement the 2019 MLS All-Star game will be played at the venue.

“We’ve been blown away by the supporters,” O’Connor said. “I think with the passion that they bring, I think the level of support that we have here is something that I don’t certainly take for granted. I think we want to reward our supporters.

“I think the biggest thing is that we will reward them. The best analogy I can give is that the club has gone through a period where we’re sick. Like anyone who is sick, you need to make them better. We understand what’s needed to make us better and we will do that, and we will give the supporters what they want, for sure.”  

Orlando City (7-18-3, 24 points) dropped to the bottom of the Eastern Conference on Sunday with a 4-0 loss to the Chicago Fire. Midfielder Sacha Kljestan said he understands the club’s fans might be frustrated with the Lions, but added he’s appreciated the support this season.

“The fans, up to this point, have been so positive and so supportive of the team,” Kljestan said. “In reality, I understand that they’re so frustrated with us, as well, because it’s probably not been fun cheering for a losing team all season.

“For those that have stuck by us – and there have been a lot – I would say the majority that are still there, the fans I see around town or after every game or who even write messages on Twitter letting me know to stick with it, to keep going, don’t give up and things like that, that part has been greatly appreciated by me and I think by most of the team.

“We’re very fortunate to have very good supporters here. Not a lot of teams have that type of support from the fans, so we’re very lucky.”

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