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Orlando City Has Grown Since Opening Night

It might not be much, but something is better than nothing.

MLS: New England Revolution at Orlando City SC Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, stick with me here. I know that Orlando City has only won once in the last 14 games, and by no means am I going to say in this article that the team is a good one. There is a difference between showing signs of growth and actual tangible improvement, and I’d just like to stress that before I go any further. Okay, here I go.

Compare the performances of recent weeks since James O’Connor took charge, to what we saw on opening night against D.C. United. A 1-1 draw yes, but a game in which Orlando did not play particularly good soccer for large stretches, most notably in the first half. Additionally, as was the story for much of the team’s long losing streak, scoring was an issue. While the Lions took 12 shots, only three were on target with only one of those managing to beat David Ousted.

In recent weeks, the Lions have managed to get back on track offensively, scoring more than once in four of the team’s last five MLS games. Unfortunately, only one of those games has been an Orlando victory, which is where the difference comes in between growth and improvement. Scoring more is growth, but to me actually taking three points from more than one of those games shows improvement.

I also think it’s fair to say that since O’Connor has taken the reigns, the team for the most part has played more attractive and positive soccer. At the least, fans can look back on certain games (like the ones against Columbus Crew SC, and the LA Galaxy for example) and feel that Orlando probably deserved at least one point from them. Granted, that doesn’t mean diddly-squat in terms of where the team sits in the standings, but for a long stretch of that losing streak I felt like the team didn’t have a prayer of winning a game. Since O’Connor took over, I don’t feel that way anymore and for my part the shift in the way the team is playing has made all the difference.

Let me be clear though, by no means am I saying that all of the Lions’ problems have been solved. Not at all. The defense is still leakier than a broken faucet on a sinking ship, and the team as a whole is far too error prone. Those issues have cost points time and again, and unfortunately they don’t show any signs of being resolved. This team is far from the finished product, and to be brutally honest I probably wouldn’t use “good” as an adjective to describe OCSC right now.

In my eyes the team has talent and potential but until that comes together on the field and points start being secured on a more regular basis I can’t say that true improvement has been made. But some small strides forward have been taken since opening night in March, and when you’re a fan of this team you sometimes have to take what you can get. Vamos Orlando.