Orlando Sports Teams: A Midsummer Recap

Orlando’s professional sports teams are all in a similar stage: the rebuild. Central Florida hasn’t seen a championship in any of the major four leagues or the MLS in its history. The only championship Orlando can call its own is the Solar Bears’ 4-1 victory against the Chicago Wolves in 2001. With that being said, let’s look at how the Orlando Magic, Pride, Solar Bears, and City Soccer have done in recently and how they can improve.

Orlando Magic – NBA

The Kingdom on the Rise is looking up after a successful rebuilding season in 2023 as it shifts to its younger players. With Cole Anthony, Franz Wagner, Markelle Fultz, and Wendell Carter Jr. being benefactors of this shift, the #1 overall pick of the 2022 draft, Paolo Banchero, was the Orlando Magic’s poster child. 

Banchero’s phenomenal rookie campaign led him to win the Rookie of the Year award, averaging 20.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. Unfortunately, the Magic fell short of the Playoffs as the 13th seed in the East but managed to get the 6th and 11th (via Chicago) overall picks in the 2023 NBA Draft. Orlando drafted Anthony Black at No. 6 and Jett Howard at No. 11. 

And although he’s not playing for the Magic, UCF’s star forward Taylor Hendricks was drafted 9th overall to the Utah Jazz to reinforce their transition skills, spacing, and interior defense.

Orlando Pride – NWSL

The Orlando Pride have had a difficult season in the National Women’s Soccer League, sitting at the bottom of the league and struggling in away matches. Like the Orlando Magic, the Pride look to improve via its young core. Having drafted former UCF Knight Kristen Scott 41st in the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League Draft, the Pride has its second Knight in addition to Carrie Lawrence. 

Messiah Bright, a 23-year-old forward, leads the Pride in scoring this season, while veteran midfielder Erika Tymrak, one of the NWSL’s top playmakers, facilitates offensive plays. Additionally, forward Adriana and defender Kylie Strom are the only two Pride players with at least one goal and one assist. 

Orlando Solar Bears – ECHL

Orlando’s Solar Bears are having another down season towards the bottom of the East Coast Hockey League standings. 

Orlando has been out of playoff contention this season since March and has not seen the postseason since 2019 when it lost in the 2nd round to the Florida Everblades. Nevertheless, the Solar Bears had a hot start to the season between October and November, but the ice melted beneath them, sinking to the bottom half of the ECHL. 

Despite the abundance of recent disappointment, Tristan Langan and Ross Olsson have been tearing up defenses throughout the regular season. They can give Solar Bears fans hope for a bright future. 

Orlando City Soccer – MLS

Orlando City Soccer has had a rough season, but is currently on a hot streak, and it is sitting dead center in the Eastern Conference in the MLS. 

Rookie forward Duncan McGuire and senior forward Ercan Kara lead the way for Orlando City’s scoring, accompanied by senior midfielder Martín Ojeda, one of the best playmakers in Major League Soccer. On the defensive side, senior goalkeeper Pedro Gallese is proving to be one of the most talented and efficient defenders in the league. 

Despite most of Orlando’s talent being older, they’ve been powerful in away games and have a winning record since May, including a 3-1 victory against rival team Inter Miami on May 20th. 

More Information

Visit centralfloridalifestyle.com and Central Florida Lifestyle social media platforms for more Orlando sports updates.

For updates on Florida’s sports teams as a whole, visit https://www.centralfloridalifestyle.com/orlando-local-stories/florida-sports-a-big-year-and-a-bright-future/.


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