For this week's retrospetive, which is a day late because the end of the semester is a lot, we're taking it way back to the first MLS game I've ever attended.
In August of 2015, the Columbus Crew traveled to the Citrus Bowl to face expansion newcomers Orlando City. This is one of the wackiest and craziest games of a wacky and crazy expansion season for the Lions.
The final score was a 5-2 win for Orlando, and the game was as wild as the final score indicates. Federeico "Pipa" Higuain scored first for Columbus to take an early lead, but the Lions' relentless offense took over the game.
Rookie forward Cyle Larin opened the scoring for the hosts, and the Canadian scored a second goal later in the match. Orlando also got goals in the game from Darwin Ceren, Aurelien Colin and Christian Higuita. To add to the chaos, Colin also scored an own goal, giving him the rare two-team brace.
This game embodied 2015 Orlando City. It was a wonky goal glut, with the stars putting on a show. Larin had a brace and, Kaka was making plays all night. Not only was the offense flying, the defense was ocassionaly shambolic (see Colin OG), another defining element of the early Orlando days.
As I mentioned earlier, this is the first MLS game I ever attended. I went to a game at the Wide World of Sports in Orlando's last USL season, but this was my first time seeing the Lions on the big stage. The atmosphere was incredible, even in the massive Citrus Bowl. The supporters were insane and the experience was unforgetablle.
I do want to add that everything about the experience has become infinitley better since the move to Exploria Stadium. The atmosphere is way more intimate. Even though the crowds in the bowl were huge, the massive stadium felt a bit cavernous and far away. The close quarters of Exploria are incredible by comparison.