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Orlando City Experiencing First Slide in Club History

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After five years of domination in USL Pro, Orlando City is dealing with its first prolonged skid in club history.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday's 5-3 loss to New York City FC was the third consecutive league loss for Orlando City SC. It was the first time in the club's five-year history that they've dropped three straight games. For the first time, Orlando City fans are experiencing a slide down the table.

The first four years of the club's history were a harmless period in USL Pro. Over those four years the club won five trophies and never lost two consecutive league games. Lions fans got used to the expectation of winning every game and bouncing right back if they didn't.

Coming into the club's inaugural MLS season, Orlando City was expected to struggle, as most expansion sides do. And while the team did struggle at times, it also seemed to bounce back rather quickly. The first time the club lost two consecutive games was in late April, with a 3-0 loss to the Columbus Crew and a 2-0 home loss to Toronto FC. Then, after a hard fought 2-2 draw against the New England Revolution and a 2-1 crushing defeat to D.C. United, the Lions took points from seven of their next eight games.

It looked as though the team had managed to mitigate the tough early stretch, which was expected to happen, and was sailing along. But that momentum has come to a screeching halt.

Over the last three games, the Lions have failed to secure a point. In the first two of those games, they finished with 10 men and failed to tally a goal. It's the first time in club history that they've had such a skid.

Prior to the losing streak, Orlando City sat comfortably in third place of the Eastern Conference and seemed to be improving as the season continued. However, the team quickly fell to sixth, and, after Sunday's loss, has fallen to eighth and out of a playoff spot.

For the fans of Orlando City, which have been steadily increasing over the past five years, it's a new feeling to which they must acclimate. While most teams in American professional soccer have had the experience of a series of losses, the purple clad fans in Central Florida have never dealt which such a situation.

While this is the first time Orlando City has been in this type of predicament, it won't be the last. The club's dominance in USL Pro mainly came because they outspent their opponents. This was partly because of club president Phil Rawlins' desire to win, and partly because winning draws fans, and the club was looking to build a strong fan base in an attempt to attract MLS. However, due to salary cap restrictions and the money that other clubs possess in MLS, that kind of dominance won't repeat itself.

This current skid by Orlando City is the first true one in the club's five-year history. While most of the players on the team are new and many have been in this situation before, this is a new experience for Orlando City's front office and fans.