This match is another exercise in futility, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it end as a scoreless draw. I’m pretty positive it will end scoreless for the visitors, since the players have been planning their off-season vacations for the last month. Coach James O’Connor has been clear that he expects players to compete for their jobs next season, but at least half the roster seems to care not a bit what the coach or their teammates think and have just quit trying.
To add to the misery for Orlando City fans, many of the players that actually do seem to care are either suspended, injured, or out for International Duty.
Suspended: F - Dom Dwyer, M - Yoshi Yotun
International duty: M - Yoshi Yotun, M - Mohamed El-Munir, D - Amro Tarek
OUT: GK - Mason Stajduhar (Localized Ewing Sarcoma), M - Pierre Da Silva (knee injury), D - Jonathan Spector (back)
DAY-TO-DAY: F - Stefano Pinho (quad)
As I sit here reflecting on four seasons of diminishing returns from this team as a fan, I can’t help but think back to the big signs in the Citrus Bowl during 2015 that proudly proclaimed “Defy Expectations.” I have to say that has been successfully achieved. Expectations for a team are that as time goes along they will improve their performance. Thus “Expectations” for a team that came within a point or two of the playoffs in their first season would be to make the playoffs in successive years.
Instead, Orlando City has continually finished worse and worse every year they have been in MLS, until this year they are all but guaranteed to finish dead last on the table. I call that pathetic performance a clear defiance of expectations. But at this point I’m beyond caring for the rest of this season. I doubt I’ll use my season tickets for the last two home matches—I have some friends coming down from Ohio for the match against Columbus in a few weeks and I will go tailgate with them, but I’m not sure I will even attend the game since there’s no reason to hope our team will even try to play competitively.
One Entertaining Game on Tap
For today, I’m just happy that one of my teams has a chance to keep a winning streak alive when UCF plays Memphis in college football. I am hopeful the team will make it 19 wins in a row, but Memphis has been pretty good this year and I’m not 100% confident the Knights will win. The last time the two teams met, they combined to score 117 points in a thrilling 62-55 overtime win for UCF in the AAC Conference Championship Game, so it could be a very entertaining and high-scoring game.