Let's face it, we don't like it when our players get sent off on a red card. As supporters, we are wearing purple-colored lenses and initially feel it could not be justified. Of course, some are and some aren't (cough...Larin red card vs. New York City Red Bulls...cough, cough). This inaugural season, Orlando City SC garnered ten red cards, but how did they impact the results?
It didn't take Orlando City long to get booked for a red card: in the 83rd minute of the inaugural match in the Citrus Bowl on March 8, Aurélien Collin was called for a studs up challenge on David Villa and was sent off. While we will always remember this match for the stoppage time free kick goal from Kaká, it's worth noting it was also the first red card for the expansion side. Orlando City ended the game in a 1-1 draw despite playing with only ten players in the dying minutes of the match. The team would win their next match 1-0 against the Houston Dynamo.
Red card match results: 0-1-0
Following match results: 1-0-0
Total red cards/double yellow: 1
It would take over one month each for the Lions next two red cards. First up was Rafael Ramos in the April 18 match against the Columbus Crew. Ramos was ejected in the 34th minute, again on a studs up challenge. There would be no last minute heroics in this match, as Orlando City went on to lose 3-0 in Columbus. They also lost their next match 2-0 against Toronto FC. The third red card didn't come until May 24 at San Jose, when Brek Shea was booked in the 51st minute in another 1-1 draw. Orlando City would also get a point in their next match, a 2-2 draw versus the Columbus Crew.
Red card match results: 0-1-2
Following match results: 1-1-1
Total red cards/double yellow: 3
July was not kind to the Lions, and not just in the win/loss/draw columns. Three straight matches with red cards for the men in purple. On July 4, Kaká received his first red card in MLS play against Real Salt Lake. Despite losing their captain in the 45th minute, the Lions were able to pull out a 1-1 tie with only ten players in the second half. The following week, July 11, it was Luke Boden's turn to see a red card against FC Dallas. It didn't come until the 90th minute, but it was indicative of how the match went in the 2-0 loss. Next up was Cyle Larin with a studs up red card in the 32nd minute. The result was another 2-0 loss and a red card in three straight matches.
Red card match results: 0-3-3
Following match results: 1-4-1
Total red cards/double yellow: 6
Heading in to August, Orlando City had to hope for better, but it wasn't to be found on an Aug. 16 visit to Seattle. Tyler Turner was shown a second yellow card in the 41st minute to be sent off for the match. Once again playing with only ten, the Lions went on to lose 4-0. The very next match, Rafael Ramos would get his second red card of the season in the 36th minute against Toronto FC on August 22. Additionally, Adrian Winter would be sent off with his second yellow, reducing the side to nine men for the Lions. Orlando City would lose this match 5-0. The next week against the Chicago Fire, they would garner one point in a 1-1 draw.
Red card match results: 0-5-3
Following match results: 1-5-2
Total red cards/double yellow: 9
Orlando City wouldn't be kept from double digit red cards for the season, though they'd wait until the final match against the Philadelphia Union to get number ten. Cristian Higuita would get his second yellow and be sent off in the 86th minute. The Lions would lose that final match 1-0.
Red card match results: 0-6-3
Following match results: 1-5-2
Total red cards/double yellow: 10
It's evident that red cards whether in match or the following match, did not contribute to success on the field for Orlando City. Bookings are certain to be a part of any match, but hopefully going forward the team will be able to overcome those challenges and get better results.