Well City fans, the 2017 season is over. Finally. The season started out with so much hope and the team was playing well. It looked like Orlando City could not only make the playoffs, but challenge for the Supporters’ Shield. Boy, were we mistaken.
Once May started, the Lions went on to only win four games and they looked like one of the worst teams in MLS. It was actually painful to watch some of the performances this past year.
The good thing is that it is all in the past now and it is time to move on. Jason Kreis has said there will be many changes in 2018 and, honestly, the team can’t get much worse. This year was definitely full of emotions, and below is a summary of the season in GIF form.
There was much excitement heading into 2017. There were a couple new personnel changes from the prior year, and new signing Jonathan Spector looked to be the key player that Orlando had been missing. After the worst defense in 2016, Kreis revamped the back line and Joe Bendik continued to improve. If one thing was sure among Lions’ fans, Orlando City was making the playoffs.
Home. That was the theme this year, starting in the very first game. Orlando’s new state-of-the-art stadium was the envy of the league. The crowd noise impressed everyone that stepped inside. The Wall made Orlando feared by opponents. And, oh yeah, Cyle Larin’s lone goal lifted the Lions above their expansion rivals, New York City FC.
Even though the stadium was the highlight of the first game, Kaká had to leave the game in the 11th minute with a hamstring injury.
March 18 - April 29
Orlando City and Lions’ supporters felt like kings after the first seven games. One of the best teams in MLS, the Lions won six of the first seven games. Spector and Bendik both looked to be forcing their way into the USMNT picture with great performances, and the team proved that it didn’t need the $7 million DP Kaká to win games.
May 3 - June 30
At this point in the season, fans may have been saying, “Really?! What are you doing, guys? Cut it out and starting playing soccer.”
The team only won two games in this span and realized that its new home was not a fortress after all. Although the performances started slipping, Orlando was still in playoff contention. It was still early in the year, and a quick improvement should be enough to propel Orlando to how all the fans thought their team should be performing.
I’ll call July 2017 the month of Dom Dwyer and I think this GIF was my exact reaction to the trade. Signing Dom was by far the highlight of this season and took away all of the disappointment from losing Kevin Molino.
After signing Dom, many Orlando City fans were thinking that this was the signing that would turn around Orlando’s season. The team started out great and had been poor for the past few months, but Dwyer is back in purple and will once again lead the Lions to victory.
August - Mid-September
It turned out after all that the team actually wasn’t very good. Sure there were glimpses of some amazing soccer, but the hot run in the beginning of the season was a fluke. The team needs some serious revamping this off-season and some fans were even calling for Kreis to be fired. It is a shame that this was realized with only a little more than two months left in the season, but the good news was that, because of the great start, playoffs were still mathematically possible.
Rest of the Season
I think that summarizes the season pretty well, and there is not much else to say about how the year ended. The one positive was Yoshimar Yotun, who was brought in during the summer. He consistently played above everyone else and showed the caliber that the rest of the team should be at. The Lions were eventually eliminated from the playoffs, and ended the year in a 6-1 humiliating loss to a poor Philly team.
Kaká’s Last MLS Game With Orlando
While he didn’t have the on-field impact many had hoped for, Kaká helped build Orlando City to what it is today. It was an emotional final game, and a sad moment seeing Orlando City’s first ever DP play in his final MLS match. Kaká will always be remembered as a fan favorite among Lion fans. It must be stated though that he was expected to produce more, especially in this final year. 2017 was not the best for the Brazilian but he will always be a Lion.
After the Season
Jason Kreis has his job and isn’t going anywhere. More change is coming this off-season. Kaká may be gone, but with it comes an extra $7 million a year. The team is up for the challenge to finally land Orlando in the playoffs and this off-season should be the most productive one yet.