Our City is a weekly column dedicated to the culture surrounding Orlando City and Major League Soccer
So, you’ve been chanting “We love you, we love you, we love you, and where you go we’ll follow” all season, only to realize that path we are following our beloved City on for the rest of the season will not include a playoff appearance. What’s a supporter to do with a heart full of passion for a team playing seven exhibition games to round out a disappointing season?
Hope Against All Hope
Technically, Orlando City hasn’t been mathematically bounced from the MLS playoffs quite yet. Cheering loudly enough for a miracle has always been a popular pastime for the most devoted of fans, and this talented but underperforming club could be that team that makes history and defies the odds. If you enjoy complicated math and the thinnest of margins, this is the path for you!
90 Minutes of Soccer is Better Than Most Anything Else
An evening at the stadium is better than most anything else in my eyes. A night hanging out with my friends and family, the first ever-so-slight mention of a chill in the evening as autumn tries to break the summer’s wall of humidity and heat, a few drinks afterwards with friends. This always sounds like a brilliant night for me, even if the boys in purple don’t have much to play for. An Orlando City game is 90 minutes to forget about North Korean nuclear missiles, climate change, and that pressing deadline for the project you’ve been working on. Ninety minutes of making memories with your kids, your nieces, nephews, cousins, or grandparents. Experiences always mean more than things, even if that thing is an MLS Cup you know we won’t be winning this year.
A chance to be in the stands, to yell, cheer, sing, vent frustrations will all be missed come winter.
Bring A Friend
While your passion for Orlando City won’t die, others might be selling their tickets. These last few months of the season provide a great chance to bring a group of friends. Indoctrinate your cubicle mate who has always professed an interest in going, take your kids to a game and grab some extra tickets for their friends, or even just put up a Facebook post so that awkward sorta friend from middle school can respond and you two can catch up on old times at the pub before you walk to the game.
These last home games should have plenty of available tickets as some of the fair-weather fans stay home, so snatch up some tickets and make a party of it.
Get to Know the Young Guys
This last stretch of games promises to give Orlando City’s fringe players a shot at some first-team action. I’ve always been a sucker for the underdog, for the seldom used player who makes the most of his chance. Orlando has a lot of young talent at the bottom of the roster, and these games should be an excellent chance for them to get some playing time.
Orlando has been presented with a unique opportunity to have eight very competitive exhibition matches in which Jason Kreis can evaluate the talent of some of the players who haven’t gotten much playing time with the first team, but also to integrate new players Dom Dwyer, Yoshimar Yotún, and Dillon Powers. Underperforming players have a chance to plead their case before finding the door in the winter transfer window.
It can be hard to support a team that is struggling, but the future is a lot brighter with this Orlando City team than the present. That future starts now with these last seven games. As supporters, finding the bright spots in a bad season can remind us that our passion for the team is there win, lose, or draw.