Tumultuous is a word that should roll off the tongue easily of every Orlando City fan. We all still have months to dissect, tear apart, and debate the who, what, when, and how this season ended in the fashion that it did. It is seasons like this — in fact, it is time in the upper division like this — that will test us all, in ways that none of us could imagine, but we all had to face it head on, even after the realization that the light at the end of the tunnel was a train, and not the promised land.
Part of that reflection means looking internally, and I certainly have a lot to review. After discussions with the editors here at The Mane Land, I thought it would be fun to spend some time every month making some bold predictions. I thought, at the beginning of this season, that I could handle such a presumptuous and daunting task, but I may have been mistaken. I have done pretty well in my other pick’em groups, especially with my longtime group of English Premier League friends. In the past three season, I have ended the year first twice and second once, beat on the last weekend by one damn match.
Unfortunately, it appears that my knack for picking matches has not translated very well to the domestic league. Let’s take a look at how I fared for the season, month by grueling month. We’ll start with April, since I didn’t do March.
April 8 vs. Portland Timbers
Prediction: 2-1 Orlando City. Actual score line: 3-2 Orlando City.
April 13 at Philadelphia Union
Prediction: 2-2 draw. Actual score line: 2-0 Orlando City.
April 21 vs. San Jose Earthquakes
Prediction: 3-1 Orlando City. Actual score line: 3-2 Orlando City.
April 28 at Colorado Rapids
Prediction: 3-1 Orlando City. Actual score line: 2-1 Orlando City.
I predicted three wins and a draw, City won four, so I will say I was pretty successful.
May 6 vs. Real Salt Lake
Prediction: 2-0 Orlando City. Actual: 3-1 Orlando City.
May 13 vs. Atlanta United FC
Prediction: 3-2 Orlando City in a very hard fought match. Actual: 2-1 Atlanta.
May 18 at Toronto FC
Prediction: 2-2 draw. Actual: 2-1 Toronto win.
May 26 vs. Chicago Fire
Prediction: 3-0 Orlando City. Actual: 2-1 Chicago.
I predicted three wins and a draw. The Lions won one and lost three.
June 2 at New York City FC
Prediction: 2-2 draw. Actual: 3-0 loss.
June 9 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Prediction: 2-0 Orlando City. Actual: 5-2 loss.
June 13 at Montreal Impact
Prediction: 2-0 Orlando City. Actual: 3-0 loss.
June 23 vs. Montreal Impact
Prediction: 3-0 Orlando City. Actual: 2-0 loss.
June 30 at Atlanta United
Prediction: 2-1 Atlanta (caveat to this is if Yoshimar Yotun and Amro Tarek are available, then 2-2 draw). Actual: 4-0 loss for Orlando.
I predicted two draws and three wins. The Lions lost all five matches.
July 7 at Los Angeles Football Club
Prediction: 2-0 LAFC. Actual: 4-1 LAFC.
July 14 vs. Toronto FC
Prediction: 3-1 City victory. Actual: 2-1 victory.
July 18 at Philadelphia Union (U.S. Open Cup)
Prediction: 2-1 City victory. Actual: 1-0 loss.
July 21 at Columbus Crew
Prediction: 2-2 draw. Actual: 3-2 loss.
July 26 vs. New York City FC
Prediction: 1-0 City victory, late goal. Actual: 2-0 loss.
July 29 at LA Galaxy
Prediction: 2-1 loss in a tired match for both squads, but the home team trend continues. Actual: 4-3 loss.
I predicted three wins, one draw, and two loses. The Lions had five losses and one win.
Aug. 4 vs. New England Revolution
Prediction: 3-1 City victory. Actual: 3-3 Draw.
Aug. 12 at D.C. United
Prediction: 3-2 City victory. Actual: 3-2 loss on that play.
Aug. 24 vs. Atlanta United
Prediction: 2-0 loss and the woes against Atlanta continue. Actual: 2-1 loss.
I predicted two wins and one loss. The Lions had one draw and two losses.
Sept. 1 vs. Philadelphia Union
Prediction: 2-1 City. Actual: 2-2 draw.
Sept. 8 at Sporting Kansas City
Prediction: 2-1 City. Actual: 1-0 Sporting Kansas City.
Sept. 16 at Chicago Fire
Prediction: 2-0 City. Actual: 4-0 Fire.
Sept. 22 vs. Houston Dynamo
Prediction: 3-0 City. Actual: 0-0 draw.
I predicted four wins. The Lions had two draws and two losses.
Oct. 6 at FC Dallas
Prediction: 2-0 Dallas. Actual: 2-0 Dallas.
Oct. 13 at New England Revolution
Prediction: 3-1 City. Actual: 2-0 New England.
Oct. 17 vs. Seattle Sounders
Prediction: 1-1 draw. Actual: 2-1 Seattle.
Oct. 21 vs. Columbus Crew
Prediction: 3-2 City, and a lovely tifo. Actual: 2-1 Orlando.
Oct. 28 at New York Red Bulls
Prediction: 2-0 RBNY. Actual: 1-0 RBNY.
I predicted two wins, a draw, and two losses. The Lions had four losses and one very important win.
Honestly, we could sit here and tally up the exact numbers and yell from upon high just how poorly my predictions were this season. To be honest, it was the optimist in me that kept thinking that this team would find a way to turn the season around. Week after week, I just couldn’t convince myself that it could get worse, and then it did, over and over again.
At the end, the need to remember the difficulty of road wins needs to outweigh my “gut feelings” just as much as I need to take off my purple colored glasses and be a bit more critical when reviewing the next month’s matches. I can admit it, I failed pretty bad this season, but I did learn a great deal. Hopefully I will be able to translate some of that knowledge into better predictions in 2019.
Playoffs? Do I dare make a bold prediction right now? Nope, I most certainly won’t.