With the victory over New York City FC, Orlando City won two MLS matches in a row for the first time since May 6, 2018. That is 800 days since posting back-to-back wins in MLS. Yes, Orlando City won back-to-back games in the U.S. Open Cup in 2019 (three straight in all competitions, in fact), but it’s still absolutely astounding that it had been that long since achieving two consecutive league victories.
Given all of that, Orlando City supporters are justifiably excited with the Lions’ performance in the MLS is Back Tournament. However, while scrolling through social media, I came across people asking if this was the greatest moment in Orlando City history? I won’t keep you in suspense, as I would say no, not yet. It really depends on how that question is framed, doesn’t it? Let’s look at some of the potential answers based on context.
All of Orlando City History?
Many non-Orlando City people (and some Lions supporters) are not familiar with Orlando City’s time in the USL. From 2011 to 2014, Orlando City finished first place during the regular season each year except 2013, and won the championship in 2011 and 2013. The 2013 club also reached the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. That is a ridiculous level of success which led to Orlando City making the move to MLS. I’m happy the club won these first two matches in the MLS is Back Tournament, but I don’t think it quite equals what the USL sides were able to accomplish.
How about the MLS Era?
There are individual matches that have had as great an impact on the club as the first two matches of this tournament. Without having to think very hard, there were the following:
- Kaká’s equalizer to earn a point against NYCFC in the very first MLS match.
- Grinding out the draw against the Chicago Fire with only nine men.
- Two goals in stoppage time against Real Salt Lake in the 2016 home opener.
- The six-game winning streak at the beginning of the 2018 season.
Of course, then there’s the Running of the Wall. Though it was an Open Cup match, it will still go down as one of the greatest moments of Orlando City history. Even typing this, I get goosebumps remembering that match. So no, the tournament wins haven’t quite risen to that level.
But Could it Be?
These first two matches have been an outstanding start for Orlando CIty. While the coaches and players might have been confident, I think the supporters have been happily surprised. It’s not that Orlando City’s supporters don’t love the club, but it has been a rough go so far in MLS. That brings me to the idea that these matches have the potential to be a part of the best moment in Orlando City history. It really depends on what happens next.
Regardless of what happens against the Philadelphia Union on Monday, the Lions are through to the knockout round. If this club can pull off the unlikely and win the MLS is Back Tournament, then these two matches will be a part of the greatest moment in Orlando City history. I’m not saying it will happen, but on The Mane Land PawedCast, Miguel Gallardo said to watch out if this club gets out of the group stages, and I’m not going to argue with him.
Let me know how important these matches are in Orlando City history in the comments below.