Hey there, Mane Landers! The opening day we’ve all been waiting for has come and gone. There were several surprises and I don’t think it was what anyone expected.
This Team Will Fight
Though play was sloppy at times, the players showed that they’re making changes and growing. There were a few passes that left me scratching my head, but the fight to get it back seemed to be more aggressive than last season. Alex De John on the defense proved he’s come to play, throwing his entire body (face included) into getting the ball out of there as quickly as he could. They were fun to watch. Maybe that’s just my optimism but the chemistry seems wildly improved among players.
The Attack is Better
Chris Mueller is still the king of heart. First goal of the season, non-stop on the pitch, and named Man of the Match by the fans (and by us). It’s clear that Mueller took the time to grow this off-season. He seemed more confident and ready to play.
Josué Colmán was making moves and trying things out yesterday. I’ve always said he seems to lack confidence on the finish. In the opener he looked calm, cool, and finally confident. Chipping little shots past NYCFC players and beating them on the sprint back to it was just the injection of energy the team so desperately needed. Seeing Nani, Dom Dwyer, and Colmán out there together was a special kind of magic...that we should have seen for 90 minutes. Once Dom and Nani are fully match fit, we just might.
The Offense Will Run Through Nani
Nani was a huge signing and the brief play we got to see against NYCFC was nothing short of exciting. His control of the ball and of himself is apparent. He’s a powerhouse on the field and it seemed the other team knew it. He saw Dwyer’s run before he made it and delivered a perfectly weighted ball to set up the tying goal. His instincts are special.
The Full House Helped
The supporters are the real show. The Wall was packed and the fans were hungry. For a club that saw a mass exodus of supporters at the end of last season, there seems to be some serious energy fueled by the new signings and the promise of things to come. This team looks like it will continue to fight, and yesterday the supporters let the Lions know they will be right there with them each step of the way.
The Refs Still See Purple
While the fouls and cards were nearly even, the refs blew a huge call that would have likely seen Orlando City go ahead late in the game. Dwyer was able to get his head on a cross from Mueller only for the shot to be stopped by NYCFC defender Maxime Chanot’s hand. Supporters of this club are no strangers to questionable calls, but the latest entry may have robbed us of an opening day win. New season, same inability to make what seems to be an obvious call, even with the aid of video review. I’d be remiss not to at least mention stopping play because an assistant referee was injured. Only at Orlando City Stadium.
Those were my my five takeaways. What were your big takeaways? Let us know in the comments.