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Facing Giants: Getting Mentally Ready for LAFC

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How Orlando City fans can be fully prepared to take in the LAFC match this weekend.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Los Angeles FC Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

This Saturday our beloved Orlando City Lions will take on the West Coast giants, LAFC. The California club currently sits at the top of the Western Conference table with 19 wins and 62 points — who are we kidding, LAFC sits at the top of the table of the Eastern and Western conferences combined. The Lions head into this match having nine wins, seven (mostly) painful draws and 34 points.

This match was never going to be easy, but to add insult to injury, the international break will cost Orlando City the services of Carlos Ascues (Peru), Sebas Méndez (Ecuador), and Canadians Tesho Akindele, Will Johnson, and Kamal Miller. Right now, I imagine the coaching staff is looking down the roster much like:

So how can we, as fans of a team that is not likely to win, be fully prepared as we go into this match? I have a few ideas.

Enter with Low Expectations

I do this a lot with movies that have been adapted from books that I love. If I go in expecting to hate it, I might be surprised that it’s not completely terrible, or at least not as terrible as I thought it would be. If the performance we see this weekend is anything like what we saw against the San Jose Earthquakes, go in expecting a 10-0 loss and be surprised if it’s only 3-0. Hold on to hope that, by some stretch of a cosmic miracle, the planets and stars align to get a point. Dare I say three? Just don’t, I repeat don’t expect it.

Pre-Game

Maybe you do this every match, maybe you don’t, but this would be a good game to maybe Lyft or Uber home. View it as patronizing the local establishments, shopping locally, or giving back to the community if you will. Am I reaching? I think you get the point here though — get your friends together, have a good time before the game, then just have some more fun regardless of what we see on the pitch, because you’re going in with, (in unison now) low expectations! I think you’re getting it!

Find the Silver Linings

I would love for this to be one of those, “This didn’t age well,” posts and if that’s the case blow my mentions up and comment like crazy, because I’ll be right there with you. This might just be one of those matches though, where we must celebrate the small victories. It could be anything from a great defensive play (I’m not wishing that into reality, you are), or a great dribble up the field. Maybe we’re celebrating the fact that with so many staples out on international duty, we get to see some of the players we’ve missed or haven’t seen much of lately. I’ll keep a list if you will!

Don’t Bail

Whatever you do to prepare for this behemoth of a match, just don’t bail on our guys. They’re working hard, we’re seeing so much improvement over last season, and they need to know we support them. I saw someone on social media say that we “vote with our money,” by not renewing season tickets. I just don’t see that logic, if we don’t support the team and celebrate the success that we have seen, we may not have a team to support for long. So many of the players comment repeatedly on how much the support means to them, so don’t get up and leave in the 80th minute because a play didn’t finish.

I see you and I don’t want to say I’m judging, but I’m judging you. Don’t start nasty chants against our players, because like it or not they’re in the 18 for a reason. I mean how would you be able to perform your job if everyone was screaming horrible things at you? I’m not going to lie, I’d get mad, then I’d get petty, and I’d probably cry a little.

So, do what you must to prepare, Mane Landers, for the night is dark and full of terrors. As for me? I’ll start by getting a good night’s sleep and a massage to help me relax, so maybe I won’t chew off all my fingers before the weekend is over. Have anything to add to the list? Share out in the comments.