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Orlando City and the Power of Positive Thinking

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The long road ahead doesn’t seem so daunting when you will good things to happen.

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t need no super suit, I’m feelin’ brave.

Duckwrth’s “Start a Riot” from Spider-Man into the Spider-verse might be my favorite stadium song as the Lions take the field. It’s a definite hype song to get everybody ready to dominate. A close second is Patrick Stump’s (of Fall Out Boy fame) “This City.” This is the point where I’d likely go ahead and apologize now for getting those songs in your head, but I’m not actually sorry.

I am one of those people who is so easily overcome with negativity, anxiety, and depression that I work very hard to find and hold on to the positives as they unfold around me. At work I’m striving to help change the culture. This involves trying to eliminate the negative conversation starter, “How are you?” It’s a small talk question that seems to be preloaded for everyone as a natural response when they encounter someone else.

Whether they mean to or not, people tend to respond with things like, “Ugh, I’m here,” or something negative in nature. Instead we’re working on just saying hello followed by something like, “Have a great day!” It doesn’t allow for the chance for people to spread negativity and instead is creating a happier tone. It’s a work in progress, but it’s catching on.

There was a study I read in The Journal of Clinical Psychology sometime last year, where they had people who tend to think negatively 50% or more of the day sort objects. As the sorting exercise got more and more difficult, those more likely to think negatively started having difficulties, unlike those of their more positive peers.

All this to say that negative thinking has a physical and mental effect on people and is so easy to spread. So, to combat the negativity, I’m here to shine some light on all you Mane Landers! Let’s highlight the hope that James O’Connor and this 2019 team have given us most recently.

Orlando’s Defense is Kind of a Big Deal

Robin Jansson is a like a machine on the field. His responses are almost robotic, like someone has programmed a code for him to respond to every possible situation. Sure, the code glitches here or there, but he’s been mostly consistent since joining the Lions. Add the fact that a healthy Lamine Sané is his center back partner and the two have just been crushing it.

Kyle Smith has been impressing me so much lately with his versatility and his obvious WillJo-esque commitment to the full 90 minutes. The fact that the Lions could bring Shane O’Neill in early on Wednesday night after Smith went down shows the depth that we’re starting to see from the team. Sure, O’Neill played the ball back and wasn’t too comfortable on the attack, but he got the job done. If you thought I was going to forget Ruan or Joao Moutinho, get out of here. Ruan’s pace and Moutinho’s creativity lead to some fun plays to watch. Then you’ve got Kamal Miller out there trying to be a literal wall. Regardless of who’s lining up to defend, communication seems to be much better lately.

There’s Hope for the Midfield Yet

We already know that Will Johnson is Orlando’s go-to guy when he’s healthy and here, but we’re starting to see some other midfielders giving the team whatever’s needed. Carlos Ascues has to be the standout midfielder to me right now. His first-ever MLS goal in the FC Dallas game was like the sprinkles on a sundae that he’s slowly been working to build. The assist on Tesho Akindele’s goal in Wednesday night’s match against Sporting Kansas City has to be the cherry on top.

Since we’re talking about that game-winning goal, let’s talk about Uri Rosell in the midfield. He is consistent in intercepting the ball, connecting on his passes, and served up that sweet, sweet ball to Ascues on the eventual Tesho goal against SKC. Nani has been able to play back a bit, and has had a hand in 16 goals already this season, making him a valuable piece in the midfield and he’s versatile enough to play up top as needed. The team seems to play at a higher level when he’s out there with them. With Mauricio Pereyra joining the mix as an attacking midfielder, I’m hoping for world domination. OK, I’ll settle for a playoff spot.

Tesho Akindele

That’s it. That’s all. Just Tesho. Seriously, how can you not love him? I mean, sure his first touches can be frustrating at times, but the man is putting in work for Orlando City. He goes full steam ahead even when he very clearly could use a rest, and he’s leading the Lions this season with nine of Orlando City’s 34 goals in the MLS regular season, with two assists as well. The Lions have been hurting for someone up top to make things happen and he sure is trying.

I won’t go on to share the positive things I have to say about other struggling players, because you’ve all heard it from me before. With the Open Cup run coming to an end, despite the Lions advancing further than they have in club history, and the team sitting just outside the playoff line at 33 points — right there alongside Montreal and Toronto, and a tough schedule ahead — let’s use our collective power of positive thinking to will it to happen. The road ahead is long but hopeful.

Tell us in the comments all the positivity you want to share!