So how do we judge this season for Orlando City?
Preseason, most people thought this could be the year a trophy came to the City Beautiful. In the end, this team never got all that close to winning any of the three trophies on the table. Two first-round exits from knockout competitions and a sixth place finish in the conference.
Could you call this season a disappointment? Sure, I think that’s a fair enough way to look at it. Orlando wanted to finally win a trophy, and it didn’t even come close to reaching that goal.
But in the grand scheme of this club, 2021 was a success.
The first five seasons of Orlando City soccer were a disaster. The club flirted with the playoffs in year one and then careened off a cliff under Jason Kreis. Oscar Pareja came aboard in year six and finally made this a club that can win. Making the playoffs for the second season in a row is still an accomplishment.
It takes time to instill a winning culture in sports. Even in MLS, a league where thing change comically fast, it can take a few years to fully turn around a sinking ship. By making the playoffs two seasons running, the standard has been set. And with the financial resources of the new ownership group, Luiz Muzzi and his staff can elevate this team from good to elite.
In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be breaking down each player’s season by position, and looking ahead to the offseason (plenty of rumors to keep your eye on).