Orlando City actually did it

Sep 7, 2022; Orlando, Florida, US;   Orlando City celebrate after beating Sacramento Republic in the
Sep 7, 2022; Orlando, Florida, US; Orlando City celebrate after beating Sacramento Republic in the / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

It still hasn't really hit me.

Orlando City defeated Sacramento Republic 3-0 in the US Open Cup final to win its first trophy of the MLS era. This is a moment I've dreamed about since I became a City fan in 2014. It's a real "what do I do with my hands" type of moment.

You always want your team to succeed and win at the highest level, but to actually see it happen? There are no words.

Seeing Exploria Stadium fully packed to capacity for the first time in years was special. Seeing Mauricio Pereyra lift the trophy as a still packed stadium erupted with cheers was special. Seeing an honest to god Orlando City US Open Cup champions t-shirt was special.

Modern "ring culture" in sports has almost devalued how rare and special a championship really is. There are 28, soon to be 29, team in Major League Soccer. Every year, there are three trophies up for grabs. Even though Seattle and Toronto seem to have made dynasties en vogue in the last decade, actually winning a trophy is extremely hard to do.

To see Orlando City finally get over that hump and actually hoist a piece of silverware, put the club in the history books and secure a place in the Champions League is truly unbelievable.

Maybe it's harder to fully believe because of how bad this team was for so long. It's easy to forget in a post-Cincinnati world just how horrific some of those middling Orlando City teams really were. We aren't far removed from the days of Jason Kreis and Josue Colman.

The Orlando City glow up under Luiz Muzzi and Oscar Pareja is a sight to behold, and all of the ground work and institutional improvement is now fully vindicated with a real, genuine trophy to show for it.

I can't yet process what this moment means for Orlando, for the club and city, or what it means to me. What I can process is that this is an incredible time to be an Orlando City fan.