There are two different ways to react to Orlando City's performance Sunday night. Which one makes a true supporter?
Sunday night Orlando City had what Head Coach Adrian Heath described as the team's worst game this season, falling 2-0 to Toronto FC. The performance left much to be desired and left some fans so upset with the display that they departed prior to the final whistle. So for Orlando City fans experiencing this for the first time, are you a true supporter if you criticize your team?
During a game such as Sunday night, there are two ways a fan can react. One way is to continue to remain completely supportive of the players and only look at the positives of the performance. The other way is to be critical of the team for not performing the way they are expected to as professionals.
To decide on whether it's appropriate to criticize your team, one must ask what it means to be fan. Because at the end of the day, it's the reaction of the true fan that will either justify criticizing the team or consider those criticizing to be fake.
Some believe that being a supporter is simply attending games and having fun. That singing throughout the 90 minutes is what makes you a supporter and not whether you're concerned with the result. For those folks, they enjoyed Sunday night and left the game with a smile on their face. Just the fact that they could have a drink with friends was enough for them.
Others believe that the only thing that matters to a true supporter or fan is the result on the field. Those are the ones who were angry with the performance Sunday night, knowing that the team is better than their display. Many of them left early in anger as their passion for the team got the best of them. They're also the ones who follow every game and every piece of news intently involving the team they support.
Maybe it's an irrelevant question to ask. Does it really matter whether someone is a fan or a supporter? After all, as Men in Blazers host Michael Davies once said, "This is young men being paid way too much money to go and do something which regular men (or women) are obsessed with." However, especially with soccer, people like to put labels on spectators as either "true supporters" or "plastic supporters."
And if true supporters are those who care deeply about the result, and many in the "supporters section" don't really care about the result, is Major League Soccer and its clubs doing a disservice to promote these groups as a whole? After all, if caring about the result is what makes a "true" fan or supporter, they are just promoting "plastic" or fake supporters.
So what does it mean to support your team? Do you have to care deeply about the play on the field? Do you have to care whether the team wins or not? Or can you just sing for 90 minutes without bother?
For that matter, are the terms "supporter" and "fans" interchangeable? Can you be a supporter but not a fan and vice-versa?
Let us know your opinion below.