Most of you are probably too young to remember the saying about how a bad penny keeps showing up over and over again. But that could be applicable today when the Columbus Crew comes to town for what will mercifully be the last home loss of the Orlando City season.
The bad penny in question this time is none other than Justin Meram, the bewildered and befuddled chap who followed several years of successful play in Columbus with a half-season of pathetic and impotent play for Orlando City before being traded back to the Crew about the same time as the coaching change happened this year.
When Meram came to Orlando as part of the Crew in seasons past, he was an opponent that fans despised but respected for his goal-scoring prowess. If he suits up in the 18 for the Crew today, he will simply be despised. Meram recently offered an interview to MLS.com in which he acknowledged something I’ve been saying all season—that the Orlando City roster is filled with talented players but there is no cohesion, and that makes it really difficult for them to succeed as a team. And the Meram debacle isn’t even the most intense emotional drama that has played out regarding the Columbus Crew this season.
As I documented during the off-season last year, there has been a systematic effort by the current Columbus Crew ownership group to move the team to Austin, Texas. On October 12 of this year, the MLS released a statement which seems to lay out a roadmap for keeping the Crew in Columbus. The deal hinges on a new ownership group being found for the club and a allowing the current owners to retain their equity stake in the league transferred to a franchise in Texas. As of now, there does not appear to be a “done deal” that will guarantee a new ownership group for Columbus, but the announcement from earlier this month at least makes it seem less likely the team will be leaving Ohio during the coming off-season.
In any case, today’s game marks the last time that fans have to put up with another pathetic home loss from the dysfunctional 2018 Orlando City roster. There does not seem to be much reason for home fans to get excited about this one. However, there is a way that the Orlando City faithful could get a little smug satisfaction from today’s game: everyone should shout, “Boiler Up!” whenever Orlando City players gain possession of the ball or take a shot. It won’t make a difference in the result of the game—Orlando City will still lose today—but it will still be fun to do.