The Wilf era or Orlando City soccer has been a roaring success through one season. The new ownership group is smashing club transfer fees and brining in a caliber and price tag of player Orlando City fans could only dream of.
Designated Player Facundo Torres is the most expensive player in club history, and Orlando has since brought in two more DP attackers and three U22 additions. This investment is also manifesting into early returns on the pitch.
Last season was the most succesful campaign in Orlando City's history. The club won its first major trophy with the US Open Cup and earned its first ever appearance in the Concacaf Champions League. At the same time, Orlando continued its playoff streak under head coach Oscar Pareja.
Even with an at times disappointing regular season and first-round playoff exit, the results on the pitch were some of the best Orlando City fans have seen to date.
With this new money, however, has also come new expectations.
Simply making the playoffs is no longer seen as a success in the eyes of many. Some Orlando fans even wanted to see a head coaching change this offseason. While that level of ridicule was undeserved, it showcases the raised stakes of this new era.
In a sport defined by haves and have nots, Orlando has quickly risen to the haves of Major League Soccer. While the Lions might not have spent $16 million on a transfer fee like Atlanta United or $14 million per season on one player like Toronto FC, the club absolutely has the resources to compete like an elite team in the league.
On paper, the team as currently constructed should be a genuine contender for MLS Cup. Torres and new DP Martín Ojeda both have Best XI potential. The spine is strong with a veteran goalkeeper, reliable center back group and strong midfield. Most of the team's core now has multiple years of MLS experience under its belt.
If ever there was a time for Orlando City to elevate itself near the top of the MLS hierarchy, it's now. This season will be a defining moment in the club's history, and the new expectations will demand a new level of success.