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2015 Orlando City Season in Review: Five Matches that Needed a Better Result

Orlando City ended the season five points from the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. There were many highs and lows to the season but five matches stood out that Orlando could have made up the five points needed to gain a playoff berth.

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City didn't achieve its goal in 2015 and make the MLS playoffs. There were late goals conceded, players missing due to suspension, injury or international duty, as well as some tough matches where referees changed the outcome with red card decisions. We take a look at matches that didn't feature an Orlando City red card and look to see which matches needed a better result.

March 21 - Vancouver Whitecaps 1, Orlando City 0

In their second home match, the Lions dominated the possession and after 90 minutes looked to be headed home with a draw. Cyle Larin made his MLS debut, as he came on as a substitution. Larin almost broke the deadlock when he had an opportunity late in the match that was saved by Whitecaps keeper  David Ousted. Darwin Ceren fouled Pedro Morales in the dying moments of the match (the sixth minute of four added minutes, to be precise) as the referee looked to extend the match for the taking of the free kick. Octavio Rivero was able to get a head on it and one point became zero points.

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April 3 - D.C. United 1, Orlando City 0

Orlando looked the better team all night against D.C. United. The Lions again controlled the possession and created more opportunities than their opponent. Bill Hamid was the star for United as he made many crucial saves throughout the match. There was point in the match where Orlando had three great opportunities around the 30th minute, but Hamid stood strong and made some great saves. Brek Shea also made a great goal line save in the 68th minute that helped to keep the score at 0-0. However, it was déjà vu for Orlando City as it gave up a foul at the top of the box in extra time. Luis Silva hit a great free kick past Donovan Ricketts. Another match another with dropped points.

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May 30 - Columbus Crew SC 2, Orlando City 2

Pedro Ribeiro was able to secure a point in the 89th minute with an excellent strike. The problem with this match and why it needed to be three points was Columbus played down a man for 75 minutes. Columbus was even able to take the lead in the 61st minute on Kei Kamara's header, which many of the Ruckus and Iron Lion Firm will remember, as he taunted the supporters section after his goal. This was a game of missed opportunities, as Larin and Rivas had point-blank chances foiled by Crew keeper Steve Clark. Orlando needed three points being up a man and was just not able to find a way.

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August 29 - Chicago Fire 1, Orlando City 1

This was a weird match, as it was delayed over two hours because of the remnants of Hurricane Erika. The Lions were fresh off to embarrassing losses to Seattle and Toronto where they conceded nine goals in those two matches. The writing was on the wall for Orlando City, as it needed points in a hurry and, luckily, the last place Chicago Fire were coming to town. Tally Hall allowed a soft near-post goal early in this match. Cyle Larin appeared to break the rookie scoring record as Orlando scored in the 37th minute. The goal was officially scored as an own-goal to Eric Gehrig, but the hard work put in by Larin put Gehrig in the no-win situation. Orlando again controlled possession 62%to 37%. The creation of attack in the final third was the undoing for both sides as they were unable to get a winning goal.

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October 25 - Philadelphia Union 1, Orlando City 0

Decision Day for Orlando City and it wasn't a good one for the Lions. Josh Ford played well in Tally Hall's absence. Orlando just could not get anything going against the Union. An interesting penalty kick call early in the match put Orlando City down. The Lions had plenty of time to make a comeback and were unable to test the Union's back line. This game was going to be difficult as Orlando needed to make up a huge goal differential and, with matches being played simultaneously, news surely got to the bench that New England had scored early. Still, the fight was missing in this match. There was an opportunity to finish the season with a .500 record and it went wanting.

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Orlando City had a lot adversity to overcome, with multiple matches marred by suspensions and missing players due to injury. Those games do play a factor, however, these five games were matches that Orlando City had the ability to squeeze out some extra points. Every team has matches where they will look back and say they wish they got more out of the match. For Orlando, it's part of the growing pains of being an expansion side. Late goals on set pieces in the beginning of the season, paired with a slump near the end of the season didn't fare well for Orlando City. Orlando moves on to next year with a great finish to the season and plenty of momentum to start a run for the 2016 MLS Cup