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Orlando City Playoff Charge Must Start with a Return to Home Glory

The Lions’ home form has mirrored their slide down the Eastern Conference table in 2017.

MLS: Toronto FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when Orlando City Stadium was a fortress? That mystique has faded along with the Lions’ overall form as the summer has progressed, and suddenly Orlando finds itself without a home win since May 31 and coming into the weekend’s match vs. Columbus on a two-game home losing streak.

Orlando’s home form has mirrored its slide down the Eastern Conference table from the top in the early season to its current eighth-place standing, 17 points off the pace of conference-leading Toronto.

The Lions’ home form to begin the season wasn’t realistically sustainable, as they took all 15 possible points from their first five matches at the new stadium. However, their point per game average at home has dropped each month since April, and the Lions have completed the 180 of a perfect three points per game in March and April to zero last month.

OCSC at Home in 2017

Month Home Matches Points Earned Points Per Match
Month Home Matches Points Earned Points Per Match
March 2 6 3
April 3 9 3
May 3 4 1.33
June 2 2 1
July 2 0 0

After winning their first five home matches, the Lions have only earned one win in their seven home matches since. Some, like a heroic 0-0 draw vs. Chicago despite playing two men down, were good results despite the lack of a win, and a July slate of Toronto and Atlanta United was as tough of a two-game home stretch as City has seen so far.

New additions Dom Dwyer, Yoshimar Yotun, and and Dillon Powers may provide the spark the Lions need to get back to their winning ways at home, provided Orlando is able to get over its second-half woes and put together a complete 90-minute performance. It’s not hard to envision an account-opening goal from the likes of Dwyer — playing in front of Lions supporters in purple for the first time since 2013 — taking the lid off the atmosphere at Orlando City Stadium and seeing that fortress-like aura return.

But as it stands, despite a stellar summer transfer window, Orlando City sits five points out of the playoffs with 10 matches to play, and any charge for the postseason must start immediately at home this weekend.