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Our City Extra: Orlando's Supporters Groups Step Up

On a rough night at the Citrus Bowl, Orlando City's supporters groups the Ruckus and Iron Lion Firm brought the noise and kept the team and the crowd in the game. Like all of Orlando City's fans, they have a passion for supporting the club, but on Saturday night they seemed to find another volume.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Our City is a weekly column dedicated to the fans and supporter's perspectives of Orlando City. Any feedback, comments, or questions? Find Kevin Mercer on Twitter @KevinMercer225.

I don't need to remind you of what happened in the 32nd minute of last Saturday's match with New York Red Bulls. Every Orlando City fan is still fuming about the controversial call against Cyle Larin. Inside the Citrus Bowl, you could almost hear the change in the crowd. What had been positive support for a club fighting to equalize became quiet disbelief or disgruntled shouts. Another week and another red card -- for some of us it was just too much.

While most of us became passively stunned by the turn of events, one section of the stadium found a way to turn up the volume to 11.

The Ruckus, Iron Lion Firm, and associates in the supporters section keep the energy going despite being a goal and a man down. This isn't anything new for those who pack the supporters section, but on a frustrating night for the Orlando City faithful, we were given a concert in what that loyalty should sound like.

The rhythm of the drum line and the constant chants pushed the Lions on the field to keep pressing for the equalizer while the fans outside of the supporters section began to find their voice again. By the time Adrian Heath was shown the door with a red card of his own in the 74th minute, the entire Citrus Bowl had found their way to turn it up to 11 too.

Some say after Heath's removal the Citrus Bowl was the loudest they have ever heard it. I couldn't help but think how much the supporters section had to do with that, as they kept a disgruntled and frustrated crowd in the game during a tough stretch.

Before the opening whistle, the Iron Lion Firm and Ruckus unveiled their most recent tifo of the season. This one was a brilliant homage to the three pillars of the club -- Flávio Augusto da Silva, Phil Rawlins, and Adrian Heath.

These are all things the supporters groups do week in and week out, simply because they love the club and the camaraderie. These are people who've bought tickets just like the rest of us, but have taken it upon themselves to organize the best tailgate party in MLS, roll out increasingly impressive tifos, and keep the atmosphere going for 90 minutes inside the Citrus Bowl.

Beyond the hours it takes to plan and execute the tifos and the tailgates, many of the members of the Ruckus and Iron Lion Firm are at the stadium long before any players or Citrus Bowl staff, and they are still there packing things up long after most fans have managed to get out of the parking lots.

While the overall contribution of the supporters section is difficult to quantify, Orlando City has fared pretty well this season at the Citrus Bowl. Before the two recent losses to FC Dallas and New York Red Bulls, the club had been on an impressive seven-game unbeaten streak at home. Consider too, when the teams line up, Orlando City seems to prefer attacking into the supporters section in the second half when they have the opportunity -- a trend that began in the USL days.

While all of Orlando City's fans and supporters are fantastic, Saturday's game reminded me of just how unappreciated the efforts of the Iron Lion Firm and Ruckus have gone this year. A little appreciation seemed due. Go City!

Full Disclosure: The author is not a member of any Orlando City supporters group and does not sit in their section.