With all of the disappointment Orlando City has provided in the 2018 season, I found myself looking for some silver linings. Certainly, somewhere all this suffering is helping someone else out, right? Here is my attempt to turn all of the Lions misfortune into charity for others.
You Are Welcome for the Shield, Atlanta!
That’s right, even as Atlanta cruises toward its greatest victory to date, it has only reached these heights with the help of Orlando. First, the Lions beat the New York Red Bulls, the only competition for the Supporter’s Shield that Atlanta has right now. I know its hard to remember now, but the Lions took advantage of an undermanned Red Bulls squad and did manage a win, one of only seven this season. Orlando also gave Atlanta the night off for three games, including two away games. Considering how hard away wins are to come by, giving Atlanta two of them with minimal effort is an absolute gift. If Atlanta lifts that Shield in a few weeks, those of us in Orlando can look with pride knowing how much our club helped the cause.
Making it Easy on the Power Rankers
Face it, whomever is tasked with creating power rankings has a thankless job. Each week, a host of underpaid or unpaid writers formulate MLS power rankings in an effort to make sense of who’s hot and who’s not in the league. For the better part of the season the task of placing Orlando City on those lists was made shockingly easy with the only real question being who is worse, the San Jose Earthquakes or Orlando City. And let’s face it, that could be answered with a coin flip, or just calling it a tie.
Three Cheers for Mediocrity!
Orlando City’s first few years in MLS were marked by spurts of effort and frustration, with the club middling most of the way and barely missing out on the playoffs for a number of seasons. We were critical of the often-injured Kaká, the streaky Cyle Larin, and the enigmatic Giles Barnes. For all the criticisms leveled at the likes of Seb Hines as a defender, he was not the central defender who was part of the worst defense in MLS history. I’m not sure how one creates a trophy for that, but it has to come as a bit of comfort in retirement. For all the critiques of Brek Shea as a left back, he might be the best one the Lions have had in the MLS years. The ghosts of Orlando City players past are having an absolute laugh as they are reminded, “Well at least we weren’t that bad.”
As we limp into the finish line, spare a kind thought for the club that has been charitable to the entire league this season. OCSC has boosted records with lackluster play and built successful teams with its willingness to part with MLS Funbux and bring on aging roster pieces. We still fill the stadiums, allowing televised games to at least look interesting. Our team gave iconic players like Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimović the proper opponent to have highlight-filled games against. The Lions even gave a few no-name strikers a chance to pad their career stats from time to time with their historically bad defending.
Our side has been the Washington Generals to a league of Harlem Globetrotters; the misfiring legion of stormtroopers trying to capture a league full of Luke Skywalkers and Han Solos. The club has made this season easy on everyone but Orlando’s supporters, who’ve lived through this season with only price hikes and empty promises to show for it.