The stakes are high, folks. Orlando City is lining up opposite the Philadelphia Union in hostile territory, and we know the chances for a playoff berth are minimal. Before heading into the match that could end -- or extend -- this season, let's take a look at some of the greatest hits from the 2015 regular season.
When the OCSC virus was first taking the city over, few thought this was possible. We took an in-depth look at the impressive feat, and when that fateful day arrived, we all did it. We #FilledTheBowl, demanding the league take notice of the soccer capital of the south.
As a kid who grew up watching Michael Vick run circles around the UCF Knights and the disastrous ends of the Mike Kruczek era, the Orlando Rage era, and the Florida Tuskers era in this building, it was truly a treat to see a world-class player score such an important goal in such an important moment as Kaká did.
I talked a lot about #MolinoMania before injury derailed his season, but this was always Kaká's city. He cemented his ownership with this goal, in this game.
Early Season Success
Two of my favorite games came in the early months of the year, the first (chronologically) being the 2-2 draw with Montreal. Kaká and Pedro Ribeiro teamed up for what became known as the Two-Minute Miracle with some fantastic two-man work in the 29th and 30th minutes to serve each other up a pair of goals.
It felt like it wouldn't matter who lined up next to Kaká. He's Ricardo freaking Kaká, and he will not be stopped.
Speaking of unstoppable, when Orlando City hosted the LA Galaxy, few expected a clean three points for the hosts. The Lions roared to a 4-0 victory over one of the Western Conference powerhouses in front of a raucous crowd that couldn't get enough.
Darwin Ceren was especially magnificent in this one, scoring a goal to pair up with his usual defensive tenacity and passing prowess. Just another example of how frequently these Lions managed to #DefyExpectations in their expansion season.
Winning Streak Down the Stretch
One month ago, we all knew what was needed to keep playoff hopes alive -- three points, every single 90 minutes. In the past five games, Inchy's boys have marched to 15 points on a 13-6 goal differential. We've seen nasty head-on collisions, laughable yellow card suspensions, and non-contact injuries to key players in this stretch -- but there's been something much more tangible throughout each of these games.
Pride. Determination. A desire from the players to give the fans exactly what the fans have given them: everything they have, every single 90 minutes.
It's been a true pleasure and honor to follow and cover this team. Regardless of Saturday's result, I couldn't have asked for a better experience.
Roar on, Orlando.