Yet another team could lap Orlando City for an MLS Cup
Since Orlando City joined Major League Soccer in 2015, there have been seven MLS Cup champions. The Seattle Sounders won a pair of cups, the Portland Timbers and Toronto FC each added one and MLS originals the Columbus Crew won in the COVID-altered 2020 trophy.
Those four clubs are all older than Orlando City by a good margin, especially in the case of Columbus. Each franchise took several years to become real MLS Cup contenders and build into the elite of MLS.
The other two champions aren't quite the case.
In 2018, Atlanta United won MLS Cup in just its second year in MLS. For Orlando City, it's a bitter pill to swallow to see your new rival ascend to the mountaintop before even making the playoffs. To make matters worse, even as Orlando improved into a playoff squad, the Lions had to watch as expansion sister club New York City FC hoisted the cup last season.
Getting lapped in the chase for a title is an interesting and weird feeling for a fanbase. Seeing two rivals beat you to the biggest punch, especially in the case of Atlanta, is a deflating feeling for a franchise.
This year, Los Angeles FC is in position to be the third club to lap Orlando City en route to MLS Cup, with a chance to win it all in the club's fourth MLS season.
Now, though, the sting doesn't really hit as hard. In 2018, Orlando looked helpless and aimless, while local-ish rivals Atlanta looked to be the new kings. LAFC is a far away land, and Orlando City finally has a trophy to call its own.
It's fascinating to look at how the league and Orlando have evolved over the last half-decade. Things are so much more settled than ever before and the future looks bright. As another team is set to lap Orlando City to MLS Cup, it's only up from here in Orlando