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Weathering the Storm: A Comparison

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Of hurricanes and Orlando City SC.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve been in Florida for any time at all, you’ll likely relate to a lot of this. While this is meant to be in jest, Hurricane Dorian is looking to become a serious threat to Florida as it approaches and gains momentum. Prepare, stay informed, and be safe, Mane Landers.

The Hurricane is Named:

People get excited when a Hurricane is named and the first projected path shows it coming for the state. Hurricane parties are planned, liquor is purchased, and people watch hours of coverage while reading updates online, mocking those who are trying to prepare early. There’s no real way to predict what will actually become of the storms brewing out at sea, so everyone sits around waiting, joking as to whether Tom Terry has rolled up his sleeves yet, and hoping for time off work.

The MLS Schedule is Released:

By this point, most of the rumors have come, gone, been confirmed, or disproved. The roster is set and now we have dates. Fans go back and forth in support of James O’Connor or against him, supporting new players and returning players, hoping to see their favorites in the starting XI or their least favorites out of the 18, all while planning vacations around away games.

The Hurricane is Upgraded:

Once Tom Terry loses his sports coat and reports of Jim Cantore making his way to Florida start pouring in, you know the upgraded storm is getting serious. This is where a lot of people start to panic. Head to Walmart, Publix, or any store that could possibly sell water or bread and you’ll find empty shelves. Head to the gas station to fill up and if you’re lucky enough to get gas, you’ll likely wait in mile long lines to do so. Everything gets crazy, people go nuts either trying to hoard everything or help in every way possible. It’s not an ideal time.

Home Opener Gets Close:

As the first home game of the season gets close, it’s time to suit up. This season the club had the new “Bring the Noise Kit” reveal right before the season, they introduced the new City ID program, and, as always, new merchandise was available for purchase. Season ticket holders have their packages and their thank you gift and everyone is excited, amped, and ready to brace themselves for whatever the season may hold.

The Eye of the Storm Approaches:

The first winds come, and you might think, “This isn’t so bad.” You soon realize that perhaps things are going to get darker, louder, and even windier. It will take you on a roller coaster of emotions and your levels of anxiety or curiosity might rise. After all the crazy winds and rain come through there is this moment of calm. If you didn’t know better, you might think the storm is over, but it’s only getting started. Once the calm and quiet eye passes, the storm becomes even more unpredictable. Will it or won’t it spawn tornadoes? Will the power lines hold through the second half of the storm? Will the ominous tree, dangling a hair too close to the house, stand? No one knows, and it’s all just a bit unsettling.

Orlando City Flirts with the Playoff Line:

Much like the hurricane, a season with Orlando City will take you on a wild roller coaster. Things started off business as usual, two draws and a loss, when suddenly our Orlando City Lions beat the New York Red Bulls on the road. The back and forth continued, with some lows in May, a winning June, and a not-so-bad July. We saw Orlando City make it to the semifinals in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the first time in club history. We also got to see them lose three times to Atlanta, so there’s that. You have the fair weather fans shouting, “O’Connor out,” throwing to the side the clear progress the team is making. As they continue to pick up and drop points all over the place, the Lions flirt with the playoff line, having yet to rise above it. And while OCSC isn’t mathematically eliminated and D.C. United continues to spiral, there are too many unanswerable questions to predict what happens next.

Hurricane Clean up:

In the end, the community heads out to assess the damage and lend a helping hand. After Charley, Francis, Ivan, and Jeanne, I remember going with my dad to help neighbors cut up fallen trees, passing so many others doing the same. I worked at a little movie theater in St. Cloud that was on the same power line as the fire station, so we had power there almost immediately. We gave out ice, letting community members fill containers they brought from home. We discounted tickets so people could come sit in the air conditioning for two hours at least, and we offered outlets to recharge. In the end, everyone worked together to get things back to normal and better than they once were.

Orlando City Clean up:

Following a season, the front office and coaching staff make decisions on what’s best for the team moving forward. Sometimes it means waiving players, transferring players, and signing new Lions. It’s a hopeful time when the team can regroup and work on a new plan for the following season. There was a lot of change after the 2018 season concluded — a year in which the Lions set the record for most goals allowed. With all that change we’ve seen clear improvement from the team. It hasn’t quite been exactly what fans are looking for, but it’s certainly been a hopeful season, better than it once was.