Kaka

Orlando City 4 - LA Galaxy 0: Where Are They Now?

Almost two years ago the LA Galaxy rolled into town as the 2014 MLS champions. I remembered this day well surprisingly as I had started drinking early in the day for the EPL matches and a few of my mates had birthday's that weekend. We had lost 3 out of last 4 matches going into the Galaxy match and hadn't won a home match that season so many of us expected the worst. What would end up happening however was something we'd all remember for a long long time.

So almost two years later, where are they now?

Tally Hall:
A fan favorite during the 2015 Orlando City season, Tally went from saving our butts throughout the course of the season to kicking butts all around Orlando as part of the Orlando Police Department. When he's not fighting crime, he can be seen hanging outside Valhalla Bakery with a Churro doughnut in hand.

Rafael Ramos:

Still an Orlando City player, Ramos has yet to fulfill his potential at right back. Injuries and red cards have derailed the once promising player from Benfica. Though still only 22, Ramos needs to prove he can stay healthy and worry less about taking selfies at Sea World.

Seb Hines:

Easily one of the most scrutinized players Orlando City has had in the last few years. A prime target for memes and trolls on Twitter with Kermit the Frog as their avatar, Seb Hines has since been replaced by the likes of Spector, Aja and Redding. I have to admit, I actually forgot he was still an Orlando City player.

Sean St. Ledger:

Sorry I got to do it, LOL. Sean St. Ledger's stay in Orlando was short lived and I honestly have no idea what he's doing nowadays nor do I really care to Google it. After starting against the Galaxy, St. Ledger lasted roughly two more months with Orlando City before not making the flight back from New York after a 5-3 defeat against NYCFC. 

Luke Boden:

Oh Luke, why? A fan favorite for many years going back to the USL days. Bodz was released after the 2016 Orlando City season as he struggled to keep up with the pace of the MLS. He unfortunately went on to sign for some shitty club, has changed barbers and now has a crappy hairdo. 

Cristian Higuita:

The Colombian midfielder is still around and a vital part of Jason Kreis's squad. Do I expect him to be here for another two years? Probably not. Higuita has a fairly high ceiling and if he can work on his temper and avoiding cards, we could see him part ways with Orlando City in the not so distant future.

Darwin Ceren:

After the match was already locked up, Ceren decided to add on to the goal tally with the 4th and final goal of the stomping. Since then Ceren was traded for Matias Perez Garcia who has been an absolute beast since coming to Orlando and getting regular minutes. One of the better transactions in Orlando City history I'd say. 

Eric Avila:

Avila scored 1 of the 4 goals on this day and since then his career has went down the drain and by that I mean he plays for Tampa nowadays. 

Kaka:

Currently recovering from an injury suffered on the first match of the 2017 season, Kaka has had numerous stints on the injury list since that day in 2015. Kaka however did provide one of the more memorable moments in Orlando City MLS history when he scored a 56th minute penalty kick and ran to the bench to collect a Kevin Molino jersey who was injured two weeks prior. It was nice sign of respect for a player he'd only befriended a few months prior.

Brek Shea:

Brek never lived up to the hype during his days in Orlando. Besides schooling a NYCFC player on opening day in 2015 and a rocket goal in 2016 against Portland, Brek didn't do a whole lot. Before the 2017 season, Shea was traded to Vancouver in exchange for Giles Barnes who in his short time in Orlando has become a fan favorite for his hustle and heart. Something Brek Shea never seemed to have. 

Cyle Larin:

Dat Guy produced the 2nd goal of the match and would later go on to break the MLS Rookie Goal Record. While frustrating at times when he seems disinterested, no one can debate that he has an eye for goal. So far in 2017 he has scored 3 goals in 4 matches and has been a very important part of the attack for Orlando City. Though it's not a given that Larin is here in the long run, we can only hope he keeps banging in the goals. 

 

VAMOS ORLANDO!

 

Orlando City v. Philadelphia: Match Recap

THREE FUCKING POINTS BABY!

I'm loaded up on Cafe Bustelo and still pumped up from last night so this write up is going to be fun. What a match from the Lions last night, Philly was always going to be a tough one with our track record with that club but damn Orlando has a different swagger these days.

Man Crush Monday - Giles Barnes: I think we've got ourselves a hell of a player on our hands. On a day that Brek Shea was shown red in Vancouver, Giles Barnes was god damn brilliant in Orlando. Big GB showed off his pace, strength, hustle and just overall ability to boss a match. Larin for obvious reasons will get the headlines for his brace but it was Barnes who really impressed the crowd. Barnes in two matches has shown more passion than Brek ever showed in his two seasons in Orlando and that's all we ever ask for. I need to also address the clear elephant in the room, his hair. This dudes hair is 10/10 for real.

Dat Guy Larin: 3 goals in 2 matches? Dat Guy is off and running in 2017. The combination of Larin and Rivas up top has done wonders for Larin's goal tally and it will inevitably pay off for Rivas too. Cyle has gotten heat in the past for being "too lazy" and rightfully so, he's a big #9 that's just his game. Now with Carlos "Usain Bolt Jr." Rivas in the mix with his pace and dribble, Larin can afford to lay off a little which will do wonders for his stamina in the late stages of matches. Keep doing your thing, homie.

MPG a real G: Nothing I mean nothing beats seeing your 5'5 midfielder going face to face with an opposing player twice his size. Orlando City should've made the trade for MPG sooner than they did because the man is simply brilliant. 

Defense? We talking about defense: I surely will jinx it by saying this but the defense has been a joy to watch the first two matches of this campaign. A 2-1 lead surely would've been squandered this time last year but it's clear that Kreis is happy with his D nowadays.... uh wut. Spector and Aja are a joy to watch, clearing anything that comes their way in the air and Toia/Johnson doing wonders on the wings. With a top keeper in Joe Bendik, this team needed a quality back line to support him and we just might have found it. 

What's Next: The downside of a new season is that there's almost always an international break right around the corner. Orlando City are off for the next two weeks and will be back in action on April 1st against Columbus Crew. In the mean time, Orlando City B kickoff their 2017 campaign away at MLS hopefuls Tampa Bay Rowdies, hahahahahahaha sorry I laughed while typing that.

Have a great day & Vamos Orlando!

 

Orlando City v. Philadelphia Union Match Preview

Your boy is back and I'm here with a match day preview for you ladies and gents! It's been awhile I'll admit, I spent the majority of the off season catching up on sleep, eating an unhealthy amount of mozzarella sticks and looking at old pictures of Lewis Neal. Anyways, the season on paper has gotten off to a perfect start. 3 points against NYCFC, a letter from Third Rail asking for an apology, smoke in the stadium, what else could you ask for? Last weekends postponement of the match against New England was a huge let down especially for those that traveled but nevertheless we'll start the 2017 season off with two home matches in a row. With that all said, I bring you my match preview for this upcoming Saturday's match between Orlando City and the Philadelphia "We really play in Chester" Union.

Injuries:

Remember when I said the season started perfect on paper? Well that's cause we're now without Kaka for 6 weeks, Carlos Rivas for an undetermined amount of time and Seb Hines for 6 weeks. Yes, Kaka will be 35 in April and his legs are basically shot at this point but the threat of Kaka on the pitch is better than not having him at all. We're probably looking at the end of April before we see our captain playing again. The Rivas injury news is a bummer because word has been going around that this could be his breakout season where he puts it all together. I never wish injury on any player or opponent so I'll simply wish Hines a speedy recovery and hope he can at least be a reliable rotational player when he returns.

Background:

I hate to say it but Orlando City has had it's struggles against the Union in the past. In their last 5 meetings, Orlando has compiled a 1-2-2 record including a loss late in the 2015 season ending OCSC's playoff chances and a late free kick by Philly last May to rob OCSC of all 3 points.

Bendik/Blake Faceoff:

It's a match up between the best goalkeeper in MLS and some guy named Andre Blake. Now that it looks like Joe might have a solid line in front of him, his numbers will show how much of a class MLS goalkeeper he really is. This time last year I gave Bendik a lot crap for silly mistakes but as the season progressed he not only owned up to his mistakes but corrected them and now will be a Lion for the foreseeable future with his new three year contract. Saturday could be a low scoring affair with two of the best goalkeepers in MLS.

Prediction:

A Saturday evening match in Orlando City's new stadium? That place is going to be next level LIT. I'm excited to see if the likes of Spector, Toia and Will Johnson can put in brilliant shifts like they did against NYCFC and if Barnes can take on the roll of filling Kaka's boots while he's out. I fully expect a close match but with Orlando City being well rested after last weekends postponement, I can see the Lions taking this one 2-1.

Vamos Orlando! 

 

 

ILF Mailbag

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Each day here at theironlionfirm.com offices we receive numerous comments and questions into our mailbox. So we figured we'd answer some of those questions in a new series we're calling "ILF Mailbag". Onto the questions!

Please stop with the fake posts. They are not funny. I ran my car into a light pole when I read the Neymar news only to later find out it wasn't true. Please be respectful and only report true things.

- Eric, Madrid

Eric, thanks for reading the blog! First off, you probably shouldn't be on your phone while driving. Doesn't seem very safe. That may be more your fault than it is ours.  

Second of all, we fully believe in the information we receive from our sources. Neymar was in serious talks to join Orlando City but negotiations fell through. It happens sometimes. But that won't stop us from reporting on the news as we get it. As the great Michael Scott once said, quoting the legendary Wayne Gretzky "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take".  

Who do you think has the best hair on the club? 

 - Bryan, Orlando 

With the recent departure of Estrella this one is tough to call. There are many worthy candidates. You have the flowing blond locks of Brek Shea. Or the clean, close look Kevin Molino has been spotted sporting recently. But for our money you can't beat the wonderful hairstyle of the Mastermind and Crafter himself, head coach Adrian Heath. No matter how heated Inchy gets at the referees his hair always seems to stay in place. Kudos to his hairstylist!

What do you guys think of the signing of Antonio Nocerino?  

 - Piper, Windemere, Florida 

While you can find out what we think Nocerino's signing will mean for central Florida here, we'll break down what it could mean for the club itself. Nocerino brings a world of experience with him and should link up with his former AC Milan teammate Kaka very nicely. We just hope his arrival won't stunt the growth of our young midfielders like Carlos Rivas and Cristian Higuita. 

I want to play for your club. I am great midfielder and score many goals. Please tell me how to sign up to play for your club.  

 - Yassine, Algeria 

Yassine, thank you for your interest in our club. We regret to inform you that we are all filled up at midfield after our recent signing of the man they call Derek "Long Legs" Sheiman. We will have tryouts for next year's squad in late December off the south coast of France. Hope to see you there.  

I love the passion and pride you guys have for Orlando City. You guys always kill it in the terraces. And this blog is absolutely hilarious and informative. Keep up the great work! How do I become a member of your illustrious club? 

 - Rob,  Chicago

Thank you so much for your kind words. We appreciate it and hope to continue to make you proud. Memberships are available online or at select tailgates this season. Please keep your eyes on our Twitter or Facebook pages as to when that will be. 

That wraps up the inaugural edition of the ILF mailbag. If you have any questions you want answered in the next edition of the mailbag email us at ironlionfirm@gmail.com or by using the contact button of this website. See you in the terraces!