It’s been a few weeks since we’ve done this column, thanks to some midweek Pride games, but it seems there’s nothing to really talk about, is there? Well, I suppose I’ll just have to come up with something. Let’s take a look back at the week that was.
The Orlando Pride are back in the groove. The win at Portland made it five matches unbeaten, as it seems that having the Brazilians and Australians back in the lineup has been helpful. The 2-1 win over Portland was a first for the Pride against the Thorns, and an important one on the road. Points away are always valuable, especially when they come against the defending champions. Additionally, a seemingly struggling Alex Morgan got back on the score sheet for the first time this season, and Christine Nairn had another amazing goal from distance. The Pride do have to face the top of the table North Carolina Courage in another midweek match-up next week, but they get to do so in the friendly confines of Orlando City Stadium. The Pride are currently sitting in third place, and a point or three against the Courage is not to be underestimated. Get out there and support them. Just don’t throw trash.
PRO gonna PRO, as they say, and Sunday night that PRO was referee Alan Kelly. It is a difficult job to referee a soccer match, and more so at a professional level, but that is supposedly what Kelly has been hired and trained to do. He did not do a good job of it in Orlando City’s loss to Atlanta United FC. Let me be clear, I don’t think he missed a call on Will Johnson. Will went to ground a bit too easily and has since been fined for simulation. However, he could have called it as a make up call for the penalty by Cristian Higuita against Greg Garza. That was the wrong call, as Garza also went to the ground too easily. It wasn’t just that Orlando City was yellow carded 5-1 against Atlanta, it was how inconsistent the calls were all night. Add to the fact that Kelly truly lost control of the game in the second half (if he ever really had control), and it was simply a very poor outing for the official. I could do with not seeing him at an Orlando City match ever again.
Is there really any surprise here? The Orlando City fans that threw trash on the field during the loss to Atlanta United FC are the uncontested ugly of the week. Not all of the fans. Not the supporters groups. Just the ones that saw fit to rain cups and bottles down onto the pitch.
There is no excuse. You can be passionate and not throw trash on the field. You can be upset with officiating and not throw trash on the field. You can lose to a supposed rival and not throw trash on the field. This is not the reputation that we want for the club or for those that support the team. The Orlando City front office rightfully put out a letter of condemnation, and 15 fans had been trespassed by the Orlando Police Department. Hopefully others who participated in this farce will be identified and face ramifications as well. It boils down to this; how would you react if it had been Atlanta fans doing the same thing? We need to hold ourselves to a level of class and decorum if we hope to be shown respect by the rest of the league. Let’s start being better now.
There you have it, Mane Landers. Still feel like venting? Want to proclaim your promise to go watch the Pride? Do so in the comments below. Go Lions, and go Pride!