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Three Reasons to Be Thankful to Orlando City

It is the season for giving thanks, so what were we thankful for this year?

SOCCER: SEP 17 MLS - Toronto FC at Orlando City Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Gobble, gobble, Mane Landers! Hopefully this finds you putting the finishing touches on all of your Thanksgiving day preparations. Whether you’re planning on kicking back and indulging on a truckload of classic Thanksgiving dishes, spending time with family and friends, or relaxing on the couch with good football and World Cup action, it’s a great time of year. As the calendar steamrolls towards Turkey Day, let’s take a look back to reminisce and see just what we had to be thankful for as Orlando City fans this past season.

Club Records Smashed

They say records are meant to be broken and that is exactly what fans of the Lions saw happen on the field during this past year. On the offensive side of the field, fans of the club witnessed their Uruguayan Young Designated Player Facundo Torres surpassing the club record for for total goal contributions (across all competitions) in a season previously held by former Orlando City captain Nani (23 total goal contributions) with 25, and the current captain, Mauricio Pereyra, extending his career club record in assists this season on his way to emerging as the first Lion in club history to log back-to-back seasons with double-digit assists. On the defensive side of things, Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese set the club career shutout record all the way back on March 19 against the L.A. Galaxy and continued to build on it, finishing the season at 21 clean sheets across all competitions in his career and a new single-season MLS club record, with nine in 2022 (10 in all competitions).

MLS Playoff Streak Continues

With their win at home on Decision Day against the Columbus Crew, the Lions found themselves in familiar territory at the end of the season once again. While a year ago, the Lions were faced with a first-round playoff in Nashville, this year’s squad made the trip across our northern border to face CF Montreal. While the end result, a 2-0 loss to a well-coached and disciplined club was not what fans necessarily wanted, this was the Lions’ third playoff appearance in as many years. Consistency and excellence are the goals of any strong organization and consistently finding themselves in the playoffs will only continue to breed a culture where postseason berths become the norm, allowing the team to eventually host playoff matches again and ultimately, perhaps, finish as MLS Cup champs.

Silverware in the Building

For the first time in it’s MLS existence, Orlando City brought home a piece of hardware for the City Beautiful and for its fans. Orlando City won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after six single-elimination matches — all played within the confines of Exploria Stadium. The magic of the cup was alive and well for City fans to see. For those in attendance, they were able to bear witness to a variety of different ways to “survive and advance,” from stoppage-time equalizers which led to penalty kick drama, to full-blown routs, and yes we are looking at you, New York Red Bulls! At the end of the tournament, in front of a sold-out and rocking Exploria Stadium, it was the Lions who were triumphant on the field and were able to celebrate with their teammates and families before ascending to the podium to raise the cup!

With the off-season now in full swing and the World Cup about to kick off, giving soccer fans around the globe new memories to be thankful for, The Mane Land staff wants to know what is the Orlando City memory or moment that you’re the most thankful for from this past season?