Orlando City had a pretty good first season in MLS. There were big moments like Fill the Bowl, and how Kaká celebrated his penalty kick equalizer in the draw against the Columbus Crew in May. As nice as those were, wins are still what matters, so what were the most significant wins of 2015?
May 17 - Orlando City vs. LA Galaxy
This was the match that Orlando City supporters had been waiting for all season. The first home win, and what a win it was. Orlando City thoroughly dominated the defending MLS champs, as over 40,000 supporters were there to watch the 4-0 win. Eric Avila got things started in the 12th minute, scoring off of a beautiful header from Brek Shea. Rookie of the Year Cyle Larin scored in the 34th minute on an assist from Kaká, who would then add one of his own on a penalty kick in the 56th minute. Darwin Ceren capped off the rout with a long distance shot off of a defender and past goalkeeper Jaime Penedo in the 73rd minute. For fans who waited through two draws and three losses, the victory wasn't just historically significant--it was a joyous relief.
Aug. 1 - Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew SC
The matches between Orlando City and the Columbus Crew seemed to be more spirited than those against many other teams. Orlando was 2-1-1 against the eventual MLS Cup winner, and the biggest win was the 5-2 drubbing in August. Orlando went down 1-0 only five minutes into the match. The Lions would then go on a tear for the remainder of the day. Larin earned his 10th goal of the season in the 18th minute, and Ceren would add another in the 38th minute to close out the scoring in the first half. It didn't take Larin long to get things going in the second half, scoring his 11th goal of the season in the 53rd minute. Cyle's brace would tie the single-season rookie scoring record, with 12 more matches to go. Aurelien Collin scored a header in the 77th minute, followed by Cristian Higuita's first goal for Orlando City in the 84th minute. Collin would score another header...but it was an own goal, as he was trying to clear the ball wide. The win against Eastern Conference rival Columbus showed Orlando City's potential, and added to Cyle Larin's record-breaking season.
Sept. 13 - Orlando City vs. Sporting Kansas City
Going into this match against Sporting Kansas City, Orlando City was 0-4-2 in its last six matches, and 1-7-2 in its last ten. It was time for the Lions to turn things around. The 3-1 win was the start of a five-game win streak that would keep the team's playoff hopes alive after the dreadful previous stretch. Adrian Winter got things started quickly, scoring his first goal as a Lion in the third minute. Actually, it was the fastest goal in club history! Sporting Kansas City would equalize early in the second half, but Brek Shea returned for the first time in 11 games, and it didn't take him long to have an impact. He played a cross to Bryan Rochez for a goal in the 66th minute, putting the Lions up 2-1. Winter finished his brace when he one-touched a goal in the 72nd minute to put the match away. Skid ended; playoff hopes alive!
Sept. 25 - Orlando City at New York Red Bulls
Orlando City was chasing a playoff spot when heading into New York to take on the eventual Supporters Shield-winning Red Bulls. Larin would break the single season rookie goal-scoring record with his 12th of the season in the 24th minute. However, the Canadian international wasn't satisfied with just one goal. He would record his second hat trick of the season, scoring again in the 43rd and 61st minutes. The Lions didn't just rely on Larin taking his record up to 14 goals on the season; Bryan Rochez scored in stoppage time, and they also got help from New York defender Damien Perrinelle, when he scored an own-goal defending a cross from Carlos Rivas and under heavy pressure from Larin. The 5-2 win pulled the Lions within one point of the Montreal Impact and kept the playoff hopes alive.
Oct. 3 - Orlando City vs. Montreal Impact
When over 35,000 showed up in the Citrus Bowl for the Lions' match against the Montreal Impact, they helped make Orlando City the fastest team in MLS history to host a half million fans. Those fans saw a thrilling 2-1 Orlando City victory. Larin kept adding to his record, scoring his 15th goal of the season in the 33rd minute. It was a hard fought match with nine cautions issued. The Impact scored when Dominic Oduro seemingly kicked the ball out of Tally Hall's hands to tie the match. However, it would be Seb Hines who would be the hero that day, scoring off a broken corner attempt in the 80th minute. The win was needed to keep the playoff hopes alive, though Orlando would have to keep winning and get some help from other teams.
March 13 - Orlando City at Houston Dynamo
Of course, we have to include the club's first ever win in Major League Soccer. The Lions were 0-0-1 after a home draw against New York City FC, and went on the road for the first time as an MLS club without suspended defender Aurelien Collin, who was sent off in the home opener. Orlando City defended well, possessed the ball and created chances, but it wasn't until second half substitute Pedro Ribeiro came on that the match turned in Orlando's favor. Ribeiro's hustle forced a heavy touch from goalkeeper Tyler Deric after a lazy back pass from defender David Horst. Ribeiro's pressure then forced Deric into a bad spot and the Houston keeper punched the ball into his own net trying to clear it away from the Brazilian's head. It was the only goal in Orlando City's 1-0 victory, giving the team its first league win.
So there you have it. Arguably the most significant wins of Orlando City's inaugural season. Do you agree? Did we leave out your favorite? Let us know!