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Our City Extra: This Week's Orlando City Talking Points

Flying under a new banner and trying something a little different, this weekday edition of Our City: Extra will take a quick look at a couple of topics going on around the club, its players, and its supporters.

Graphic by Austin David, The Mane Land

It was a good weekend for Orlando City and its loyal support, a decisive 5-2 victory over our new rivals, Columbus Crew SC, has erased all the memories of that rough streak of five games without a win. The players and the fans seemed in a jovial mood as the referee (who happily was not the focus of this game) blew the whistle for 90 minutes. While the Our City column usually tries to dive deep into the club, its fans, and its culture, today there was so much worth covering I thought a quick roundup might be warranted.

Rain Rain Won't Go Away

Five hours before game time I got a text message from some friends in town from Portland. "It's raining sideways, not sure how we feel about making the game."

"Trust me," I said, "it will be a beautiful night by game time." My prediction was right. It was a perfect night for soccer. Now I understand people from the rainy Northwest not comprehending our crazy tropical weather patterns, but around 5,000 of my fellow fans did not text me for a weather prediction, and they missed one of the classic games of the season.

The last time the Crew were in town for a league game, there were 31,430 fans in the stands, while Saturday's match up brought out 26,586. You could cite a losing streak, the fact that this is now the fourth match-up with the Crew, last-minute summer vacations before school starts, and the weather as reasons for the drop in attendance.

While all are viable, I think it was the weather more than anything else. Orlando City fans will become accustomed to the rhythm of our afternoon rainstorms and the fact that they generally end by kickoff. In four years of supporting the team in USL, and so far this season, I could count on one hand the times I've been drenched during a game. Generally, since our rain is often accompanied with a side of dangerous lightning, if there is a storm at game time the club will push kickoff back until conditions are safe.

Speaking of Portland...

My friends are disgruntled Portland Timbers fans, tired of the Hipster Army shenanigans for the most part. They had a fantastic time at the game, enjoyed our supporters groups, the fans, the stadium, and the team. I think my work on converting them to Orlando City fans is complete and there will be at least two Orlando City car magnets making their way around Timbers town by this time next week.

Cyle! Larin!

It was great to hear the Iron Lion Firm and Ruckus give our rookie phenom a chant on Saturday. It was well earned and I'm sure will only encourage him moving forward. I'd not heard a specific player get his own chant since the days of Jamie Watson, Erik Ustruck, and the always memorable re-appropriation of the "I Believe That We Will Win" for Dennis Chin. I'd love to see the supporters groups give some other players some love as the season wears on.

I've yet to come up with a good Kaká chant to suggest.

Here's a great fan video of one of Larin's goals Saturday!

Rest of the Stadium is Stepping Up

In the earliest days of Orlando City, the supporters groups had a few chants that involved the rest of the stadium. As I recall them, they were a type of call and response. Those never seemed to pan out, but lately I've noticed the rest of the stadium taking more cues from the supporters groups. Of course, the one "Orlando!" "City!" chant has quickly become a staple, but even some of the more complicated songs are becoming known to the rest of the stadium. If only the rest of the stadium's fans could realize the chant is "OC-SC" and not "OC-OC" we'd be in business. Kudos to the supporters groups and all the other fans joining in. The stadium seems to only be getting louder and louder every game.

American Football

It was suggested in the media that this Saturday's dent in attendance was the first crack in Orlando City's successful season and the impending arrival of college football and the NFL will send Orlando's ticket sales down the drain. While this might just be wishful thinking by local sports personalities tired of having to talk about soccer and not wanting to miss any airtime talking about anything but college football and the NFL, I don't envision a huge knock from these seasons -- or the Orlando Magic season. Certainly there is a crossover fan, people who love all sports and enjoy checking out the new game in town. That fan will probably be glad to not fight traffic and sit home with remote in hand, watching everything cable television has to offer.

One of the reasons soccer is finding popularity in the United States right now is the fact that it doesn't share many of the demographics of other sports leagues in the country. MLS actively targets markets with a young population and a significant Latino population. These two groups are the least likely to sit home on a Saturday night and watch sports on TV when there is a live game being played in town. Additionally, college football is often played in the afternoon, with only a few games reserved for prime time, meaning many sports fans can watch their college football team play and still make it to the game.

Finally, Orlando City has had unprecedented success at the ticket office. We all understand, as the plans for the new stadium show, 30,000 per game is not the long-term plan for the club.

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How did you like this week's experimental format? Have any good suggestions for a Kaká chant? Any stories I missed or any comments to these? Let us know in the comments below!