The Turning Point: It’s Now or Never for Orlando City in 2016



There is a point where the players on a team must come together and decide on who they want to be, what they want to represent, and how they will get to the place that represents success. This artificial point is inching closer and closer for Orlando in the 2016 season.

So far, we have seen injuries, new players come in and not perform to standards, missed opportunities, and, above all else, the dreaded mid-season coaching change. Perhaps this year the peaks and troughs are more exacerbated than 2015, or perhaps it is just a feeling that there are more dark days ahead.

Yet, as we know or at least have been told, through all dark tunnels there is inevitably light at the end. Could this point in the season be the corner, the part where the Lions could hit a stride and push themselves back into the playoff picture? It needs to be. With Jason Kreis coming in and a healthy Kaká, we can see quite a few changes on the pitch. Kreis has already spoken about how Brek Shea could move back into the attack. And with Kevin Molino and Shea healthy and running the wings while Kaká operates in the middle of the pitch — and Cyle Larin plays his role up top — this film could earn an Oscar.

The bad part is the time is now. There does not seem to be a lot of time left for Orlando to start changing the conversation from one of unsteady play and disappointment to positive outcomes and wins. Yes, at home this season Orlando is undefeated but just that wording alone fails to tell the full story of how Orlando has regularly failed to capitalize on possession and other teams' mistakes while making too many of their own. With seven draws at home this season in 10 matches, and only seven more home matches left, Orlando must start earning three points in these matches. They must start winning.

Can that be done in the sort of fashion that OCSC needs to push the playoff run? History shows it can. In the latter part of 2015, the Lions found themselves earning three points five times out of the final six matches. This got them into the playoff conversation in the last few weeks, even though it didn't pay off in the end.

That was an exciting time. The games were tight and the fans were interested. So, the best thing for a team in transition, a team that just lost the gaffer, is to win. Change the conversation from what has been happening in the front office to one that is concentrated on what is occurring on the field.

That is where (hopefully) Kreis can step in. With his experience in MLS, both as a player and as a coach, Orlando already has something that it did not necessarily have before — someone coaching the team who knows this league, as MLS can be a beast to understand.

So, with 14 matches remaining and half of those at home, the time is now for Orlando to pivot and define what type of team it wants to be, both in the near future and five years from now. But it's also a time to determine what type of product the Lions want to remembered for in the 2016 season.

Here is hoping that they do not want the window to close on this season and start looking forward to the next one.

What do you think will happen tonight? An Orlando win, another draw, or an upset at home? Leave your comments below.


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