Our City is a weekly column focused on my perspective of Orlando City as a supporter. I would love to incorporate your ideas and stories, if you have something to add or a story idea please connect by commenting here or on Twitter: @kevinmercer225
During the USL days, Orlando City supporters were known for their loyalty to a number of standout players. Names like Jamie Watson, Dennis Chin, Rob Valentino, and Miguel Gallardo quickly became part of the club's heart and history.
A new season in the top tier league meant the club underwent an almost total reboot. Popular players were given a heartfelt goodbye from the fans, and new players were brought in. Of course, a handful of players playing on the USL team survived the cuts and have made the jump to MLS.
I took to social media and asked Orlando City supporters who their early fan favorites have been this season.
The first part of my question excluded the man that nearly all of us would say -- Kaká. Let's face it, he's been brilliant so far and it seems like he is still settling in, so there is only the promise of more good things to come from the Brazilian in the middle. So the question is better stated, who besides Kaká is your early season fan favorite?
While nearly all the starters got at least a mention, there are a few players that were mentioned almost constantly. One of those players was the youngster Rafael Ramos. Not surprising, as the defender is thriving in his second season with the club after the transfer from Portuguese giants Benfica.
It doesn't hurt that he was named to the MLS Team of the Week for his efforts against Houston last Friday. While Ramos is in his second season with the club, and scored in his debut, many fans are just getting to know the U-20 international and his style of play. The bigger stage seems to be fitting the youngster well.
Another name quick off the lips of Lions fans was Brek Shea. The 6-foot-3 winger came to the club as a bit of an unknown, despite his success at FC Dallas and with the U.S. Men's National Team. Time lost in the reserves at Stoke City, along with injuries, meant Orlando wasn't sure which Brek Shea was coming to play for us.
With that said, Shea has been absolutely solid, as he transitions into Adrian Heath's lineup as a left back. He's had a number of dazzling ball moves right out of FIFA 15 and he's been an additional threat on the attack, as he links up with Kevin Molino and Kaká to break down opposition defenses.
Speaking of Molino, there was a lot of love for this long-time Lion in our informal social media poll. Molino was a two-time USL MVP with the Lions, in 2012 and 2014. When making the jump up to MLS, everybody from Heath to Dom Dwyer, to every writer for The Mane Land proclaimed he would have a breakout season in MLS. That is exactly what the Trinidadian has done so far. His play with Kaká has shown signs early on that they will become a lethal midfield duo a the season wears on.
As a long-time fan, it's good to see one of our originals getting the accolades he deserves now.
A number of other players have emerged in the conversation as well. Amobi Okugo, Darwin Cerén, Aurélien Collin and Seb Hines have all been getting plenty of mentions as well in the early season. There is also an air of anticipation for long-time players like Luke Boden, Tyler Turner, and Tommy Redding to make their first MLS appearances and show what they can do at this level.
With that said, the season is still young and Orlando City supporters hearts are still wide open for the next fan favorite to emerge. So who do you think is standing out so far? Go City!