As we count down to the new year of 2017 — which will be Orlando City SC’s third in MLS and second in the NWSL — and say goodbye to 2016, it’s time to look back at the club’s 10 best moments of the year.
July was terrible for Orlando City SC in Major League Soccer. The Lions reached the last day of the month without a single win (0-2-3), but with a genuine hope: the debut of new Head Coach Jason Kreis against the New England Revolution. And this is our No. 7 moment of the year.
Hired to replace long-time Lions coach Adrian Heath, Kreis had already managed the team four days earlier, in a friendly against English side Stoke City, but this would be his first real test in a competitive match with a team that was struggling during the season.
Over 27,000 fans marched to Camping World Stadium to watch the new head coach debut and they probably didn’t go home disappointed. After starting behind, Orlando City bounced back to win, 3-1 with a great performance from Kevin Molino.
“Obviously very, very happy," Kreis said of his team’s performance. "The week of work the players and staff have put in was excellent. It was one of the best weeks I’ve ever been involved with in training sessions. To see that work culminate in a really good performance makes me extremely happy.”
Kreis made some changes in the starting lineup, even though he didn’t immediately switch the team’s formation to his beloved 4-4-2 diamond. The new head coach benched Darwin Cerén, Cristian Higuita and Brek Shea, bringing Servando Carrasco, Antonio Nocerino, and Hadji Barry to the stating XI.
The changes clearly didn’t make a noticeable effect in the defensive end, as the Revolution scored first in the 19th minute, with Kei Kamara finishing a lethal counter attack.
The turnaround started in the very first minute of the second half, when Cyle Larin’s left-footed shot found the back of the net. Shea, who joined the match right after halftime, crossed to Molino who scored the second in the 64th minute. The Trinidadian scored again with seven minutes left to seal the first win of Jason Kreis’s era in Orlando.
“We you look at the spell we had, we had a difficult July month and to end it in such a great way and a great manner, but most importantly we must build from here," Molino said after the match. "And here is the point for us to keep our mindset and move forward collectively as a team."
Come back every day through New Year’s Eve to count down the remainder of Orlando City’s top 10 moments of 2016.
Check out the rest of our top 10 Orlando City moments of 2016:
10. Orlando City secures two international partnerships.
9. Orlando City made two major off-season signings.
8. MLS Commissioner Don Garber looks on as the first seats are installed in Orlando City’s new downtown soccer stadium.