Two weeks ago, we all celebrated the dramatic two-goal comeback in the last 95 seconds of stoppage time against Real Salt Lake. Sure, we were disappointed with some aspects of the team’s play in the first 90 minutes, but we were able to rationalize it. After all, Kaká was out with a thigh injury, Antonio Nocerino hadn’t been in town long enough to fully mesh with his purple-clad teammates, Cyle Larin’s first goal should have counted, and PRO is gonna PRO.
Then there was the second draw against Chicago. This time Larin’s early goal was good, and after the red card on Michael Harrington, most of us felt it should have been enough for the win. Suddenly, the excitement from the first week was tarnished. Two games, two points. The Internet responded in a completely unexpected fashion…rampant overreaction! We at The Mane Land are here to help. So, put out the dumpster fire, put down the torches and pitchforks, and step back from the ledge. Here are a few reasons why things aren’t so bad.
Kaká and Nocerino
According to Head Coach Adrian Heath, Kaká will most likely not be available for the match against New York City FC. However, we have a week off after that, meaning the captain should be back for the next home game against the Portland Timbers. Antonio Nocerino told fans he’d only need two games to be fully fit. The first of those games came Friday when he made his debut with the Lions. He’ll make the trip to New York for Friday’s match, and then will have the off week just to make sure he’s fully fit for the next home game. That means we should have both Kaká and Nocerino for the game against Portland.
Comparing to Last Season
In the inaugural game last season, it took a stoppage time goal from Kaká to draw with New York City FC. Appropriate that it would take two goals in stoppage time in the first game of season two. Last season, Orlando City’s first two home games were a draw and a loss (with an away win in between). Depending on the results this Friday, Orlando City could end up starting off better this season. Last season, Orlando City didn’t get its first home win until halfway through May. As mentioned above, Kaká and Nocerino may both be available and fully fit for the next two home games. That gives Orlando City an excellent chance to get a home win before May. Additionally, the team was two wins, two draws, and four losses in its first eight games last season. Despite the issues we addressed here and here, it’s very possible that Orlando City starts out better this year over last year.
It Could be Worse
Two games, two points…ugh. Hold on, because at least you’re not a supporter of a pair of “two games, one point” teams like D.C. United and the Chicago Fire (yes, I know we’re not happy about their one point). Or, even worse, you could be a fan of the Vancouver Whitecaps, Seattle Sounders, New York Red Bulls, or Columbus Crew. All four of those have two games and no points.
Hopefully, you now feel better about the first two games. There are things that need to be addressed going forward, but it's a long season, and Orlando City will get better as the season progresses.