It's only been a year and four games of Orlando City being in MLS, but the Lions have already accumulated a pretty respectable home record against former MLS Cup champions. As of this past weekend's win, Orlando holds a 6-1-3 record in the Citrus Bowl over previous cup champions going back to the league’s inception in 1996.
The Lions’ home wins came over the Portland Timbers (4-1), LA Galaxy (4-0), Sporting Kansas City (3-1), D.C. United (1-0), Columbus Crew SC (5-2) and Colorado Rapids (2-0). The three draws came against Chicago Fire (1-1), Real Salt Lake (2-2) and Columbus Crew SC (2-2). As of now, their only loss came in the early part of last year when D.C. United scored a late winner against Donovan Ricketts to squeak out a 1-0 win, a game that Orlando mostly dominated.
Out of the most recent champions, by that I mean winners over the last 10 MLS Cups, Orlando is 5-0-2 at home. D.C’s most recent cup win was way back in 2004, so it’s a bit too far back to be relevant in this case. Even in the last five years of winners, Orlando has gone 4-0-0 at home, which hasn’t been done by any other team.
It’s also worth mentioning the domination of the last three cup winners, Sporting Kansas City, LA Galaxy and most recently the Portland Timbers. Now, say what you will about the circumstances in which the wins came, but winning against those three teams by a combined score of 11-2 is still an impressive feat.
As with any other teams, the underlying stories that came with each win made them just a tad more special. The win against the Galaxy last year was the first win at the Citrus Bowl for the Lions, as was the Portland victory this year. The win vs. Sporting Kansas City had the former affiliates face off in MLS play for the first time and saw former Orlando City loanee Dom Dwyer return to the Citrus Bowl.
Now with the latest win against the Timbers out of the way, let's look at some of the other MLS Cup winners that will be coming down south to the Citrus Bowl.
Next in town will be the back-to-back winners from 2006 and 2007, the Houston Dynamo, which comes to Orlando three weeks after the Earthquakes on July 8.
Then, it will be the 2008 champions Columbus Crew making its fourth trip down to O-Town over the last two years, including MLS and U.S. Open Cup play. The two teams will face off on Sept. 17.
Finally, Orlando will close out the regular season against four-time cup winners D.C. United. That game will be on Oct. 23 and will possibly hold playoff implications for both teams.
Now, while most of this article is just fun statistics, it’s still nice to be able to have the bragging rights that come with beating former champions, some of whom have been in the league since its inception. Now the only thing that will put the icing on the cake is an MLS Cup championship for Orlando.