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What Difference Does a Year Make? Comparing Orlando City's April Experiences from 2015 and 2016

April 2015 was an early low point for Orlando City in its first MLS Season. Have the Lions hit the sophomore jinx, or are they primed for a breakout first half to the 2016 season?

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

So, that match against the New York Red Bulls happened. Another referee controversy combined with some poor play, and Orlando City walks away from an away game dropping points. Orlando now has a total of four points of a potential 12 this month. That's not an especially impressive statistic, but when you look at how early the Lions have been forced to battle the injury bug and having to play without their captain, Kaká, it certainly factors in to how this team has performed, especially in the midfield.

I'm going to let this Beyoncé gif explain how we all felt at the end of that match.

At best, Orlando can finish the month earning seven points out of  a possible 15, and playing sub-.500 for an entire month can have major implications down the stretch as we saw last year when OCSC only missed the playoffs by six points (five would have had them tied with Toronto FC, but Toronto would have had the tiebreaker on goal differential). In 2015, Orlando City only earned three points in April out of 15.

April 2015 opened with a 1-0 loss to D.C. United, thanks to a stoppage time goal from Luis Silva (which, makes me wonder why the club started selling this shirt, because OCSC has actually lost more points in stoppage than it's picked up). The next week saw Cyle Larin's first start for Orlando City and his first goal along with a Kaká penalty to seal a 2-0 victory over eventual MLS champions, the Portland Timbers. Orlando City would go on to lose its next two matches against Columbus Crew, 3-0, in Ohio and 2-0 to Toronto FC in the Citrus Bowl. OCSC would have a -4 goal differential for the third-worst month of the 2015 season (July: one point, -6 GD; August: five points, -7).

As slow as we all thought March of this year was for Orlando City, April hasn't been much better. OCSC had five points and a +1 goal differential through three matches. With one match remaining this month, April has given us four points and a +1 goal differential. Again, it's necessary to point out that the last three matches have had their fair share on controversy with Philadelphia's free kick and New England being awarded a penalty for Servando Carrasco seemingly growing a hand out of his shoulder. Both plays resulted in Orlando City dropping points, and the referees for those matches not being given assignments the following week.

As of this writing, it is unknown if PRO will even look at the no-call on the play that saw Cyle Larin being scissor-kicked by Karl Ouimette as he was running into the box and being denied of a goal scoring opportunity, and if Hilario Grajeda will be given an assignment this week. It's also worth noting that Professional Referees Organization general manager Peter Walton came out and said that the play was worthy of a red card on FS1 during the match (via the broadcast team).

Orlando closes out the month of April with a rematch against New England and enters May finishing four straight weeks of playing the same two teams, the Revs and the New York Red Bulls. After that, the Lions face Sporting Kansas City, Montreal Impact, Philadelphia Union, and NYCFC.

Philadelphia and Montreal are seemingly trading places atop the table early on here in the season, so picking up points against those teams could be crucial down the stretch as Orlando City's hopes of making the playoffs in year two try to come to fruition.