Football League One side Leyton Orient shockingly drew 1-1 with Arsenal on Sunday in the FA Cup fifth round thanks to Jonathan Tehoue’s game-tying goal for Orient in the 88th minute. It is another classic FA Cup story where lower division English teams have the opportunity to slay the giant clubs. Leyton Orient only forced a replay, but even that is a major accomplishment.
Why this match is of concern to women’s soccer fans is another question entirely. The match itself is not all that relevant, but it did highlight the intimacy of Leyton Orient’s Matchroom Stadium on Brisbane Road, which is the site of the April 2 friendly between the United States and England women’s national teams.
The stadium seats 9,271 fans, the perfect size for lower division men’s soccer and women’s matches. It looks to have the charm and intimacy of an old, small stadium but it also boasts modern updates and amenities.
It does not get much cooler than having a stadium plopped into the middle of a residential area where fans can actually sit out on their decks and watch the match (think Wrigley Field, but better). With housing complexes actually separating the four stands at the corners, Leyton Orient literally feels like a home club for folks that live in the buildings. What could better than waking up, walking outside and looking out at a beautiful soccer stadium? Oh, by the way, Premier League giant Arsenal is in town today. Skip that homemade coffee; the noise from fans coming in the back window is enough to wake up.
Explore more about the stadium here.
The U.S.-England game on April 2 will be aired in the United States on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. ET. It should showcase Matchroom Stadium in a similar way that Sunday’s Arsenal-Leyton Orient match did (with a little less drama since the April 2 clash is only a friendly).
Truth be told, any American soccer team outside of MLS would be thrilled with that modern but tradition-rich Brisbane Road facility, which opened in 1937. Matchroom Stadium may be slightly too large for women’s club soccer to fill the stands consistently (see KSU Soccer Stadium in Georgia), but it should be perfect for an event like the U.S.-England friendly and future English Women’s National Team games. Here is to hoping the April 2 fixture is well attended and showcases the stadium like the Arsenal-Leyton Orient game did on Sunday.
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