June has come and gone, and the masses are starting to return from the international break as play for country comes to an end. As we enter the heart of summer with a crowded slate on deck for July, let’s look back at how these June predictions turned out.
June 1 at Montreal Impact
Prediction: With eight days to plan and practice, I think someone finally wakes up and starts scoring. 2-2 Draw.
Orlando City is certainly waking up, and showed it when the Lions traveled north to face the Impact. Montreal is a team sitting near the top of the Eastern Conference standings, it was an away match with eight days to prepare, and it was looking to be the Lions’ last league match for quite some time, so it was somewhat a must-get-points match. In fact, the Lions looked dominant, controlled the majority of the match, and saw some history from their captain as Nani scored his 100th professional goal. There was also that unbelievable team effort that culminated in the diving header from Will Johnson to make it 3-0. The Lamine Sané and Robin Jansson duo continued to show what is ahead from the club’s newest CB pairing.
June 26 at D.C. United
Prediction: 3-2 D.C. United in a close match that goes back and forth.
Actual: 1-0 to Wayne Rooney and D.C.
Dammit, Wayne Rooney, dammit, dammit, dammit. Again, from distance, he did something seemingly impossible to turn the tide of the match in favor of D.C. United, another team sitting towards the top of the Eastern Conference. The Lions were looking to make up ground. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the cards, and as much as I will boil about this one, I will simply just post the image below. The Lions were the clear leaders in virtually every stat, except the one that means the most at the end of 90 minutes, the scoreline.
June 29 at Columbus Crew
Prediction: 2-2 Draw in Columbus.
Actual: Orlando with a solid 2-0 road win.
Well, the crystal ball nailed half of that scoreline, and the great news was that it was the side of the scoreline most important to the club, its own. It was the third straight away match for the club in MLS play, and on only three days rest from the D.C. United match. It was the third straight match without forward Dom Dwyer as well, with the last two because of paternity leave (congratulations to Dom and Sydney Leroux on the birth of their second child, Roux James). Columbus and Orlando have both had struggles this season, and this match appeared to be one of those pivotal games for both clubs, and the Lions jumped on the opportunity. Nani notched two more assists as both Chris Mueller and Tesho Akindele found the back of the net. One of the big takeaways was certainly the dynamic and excellent play of Sané and Jansson. That makes it two road shutouts against conference rivals for Orlando.
So, thankfully, the crystal ball was pretty good, but not good enough. For the first time in some time, the predictions were a bit too cautious, a bit too pessimistic. Don’t get me wrong, this is exactly what I hope happens for the rest of the season. Taking six points in June was a fantastic surprise, and shows the level of growth that this team has focused on making. Could the years of the summer slump be behind us?
Also, we cannot forget to mention that U.S. Open Cup match against the New England Revolution on June 19. A little bit of Cardiac Cats at Exploria Stadium during the break is always fun, wouldn’t you say?