Tally Hall

The Armando Carneiro move and our official reaction

The Iron Lion Firm and The Ruckus are both supporter clubs that have been around from literally day one of existence of this club.  We both love this team and support OCSC through the good and bad.  As supporters however, we believe in accountability and as the most enthusiastic of supporters we will speak up when we see something go down that does not make sense or that we perceive to be damaging to the club.  We are not however blind to the complex realities of Major League Soccer and the difficult decisions that must be made as a pro sports franchise. 

When Orlando City let go of Tally Hall for contract reasons we were not happy.  Tally was a valued member of our club and an active member of our community.  Most of us however understood the salary cap realities facing the club and the hesitation associated with bringing back a keeper who had very real long term health concerns.  Tally Hall will be missed but any savvy supporter understands the logic behind this decision just like we understood why the club at one point let go footballers we considered to be the true pillars of this club like Miguel Gallardo, Rob Valentino and Jamie Watson.  Professional sports is a business in which the players who are our heroes on the pitch can come and go as quickly as the tide.   

What even the most savvy ILF officer or member could not understand was the decisions being made by our head soccer executive Armando Carneiro.  From the beginning we were perplexed as to why Carneiro was even hired by OCSC.  Armando had good pedigree in Europe as one of the old continents top talent creators leading Benfica for six years and developing countless top players in Portugal.  While he had a polished resume in Europe, we could not understand why Carneiro was essentially pushing Paul McDonough out of his role as GM to make room for a man that did not know how to speak English nor have a basic understanding of how Major League Soccer works.  

You see, developing players and spotting talent in the United States is MUCH different than Europe.  In Portugal, mega clubs like Benfica have millions of dollars in resources to bring in children and develop talent in their academies where preteen kids are fully immersed in the soccer academy at an early age.  Benfica has the ability to scout kids from across Portugal, Europe, Africa and if they have the talent, they are scouted into the Benfica Youth Academy at no cost to their families.  The model for developing players is much different in the United States where the pay for play model is still the norm.  The top 'academy' players for clubs like Orlando City are mostly sourced directly from the pay for play system where only kids whose parents can afford four figure yearly registration fees can participate.  That is one of the biggest challenges in the United States today and not just for Orlando City.  Not only should kids whose parents can afford to pay top dollar for proper training be exposed to top notch coaching and training.  Carneiro was not exposed to this reality just like Carneiro likely knew nothing about the complex salary cap realities of Major League Soccer.  

In Europe, clubs like Benfica are free to spend as much as they can afford with respect to player wages and transfer fees.  There are no salary cap considerations or complex rules like we have here in the U.S.  Major League Soccer might have one of the most complicated league structures on the planet.  Things like designated players, college drafts, homegrown players, generation Adidas, salary cap, etc are items Carneiro had never had to deal with.  Not only that, but he knew nothing about the American Footballer.  I would wager heavy amounts of money that I have seen typical American footballer like Justin Mapp play soccer 100x more than Armando Carneiro ever did.  As much as you may or may not have liked Paul McDonough, in him we had a man who knew U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer.  We replaced him for an individual with a blank slate and no experience in how the sport is structured here.  

To say we were skeptical of Armando was an understatement.  That skepticism was further made evident when Paul McDonough officially left the club and with the with the mind blowing decisions to let go of long time assistant Coach Ian Fuller along with moving goalkeeper Coach Marcos Machado out of the first team.  It seemed as though the groundwork was being laid to eventually push out Adrian Heath as Head Coach.  Not only that but there appears to have been lots of dissatisfaction at the OCSC front office with layoffs and resignations occurring across the board in a variety of jobs.  The ILF was confused as to what was going on with our club.  We voiced our protest for these decisions through our social media platforms, this blog and through a protest we held along with The Ruckus demanding answers as to why such questionable decisions were being made.  

We are not arrogant enough to think we had any influence as to being the reason why Armando Carneiro resigned.  We don't know if he is just a quitter or if the complex realities on the ground of soccer here in the U.S. finally hit him.  We also wonder if there is the possibility that Flavio Da Silva realized that the hire of Armando was a mistake and that the decisions made were not for the greater good of our club?  I don't know the answer and this is still largely a mystery as even the top journalist in this city like Mike Bianchi can't get a straight answer as to what exactly happened.  

So now Phil Rawlins is tasked with the responsibility of being the interim General Manager.  It goes without saying, the ILF has a deep amount of respect and trust for Phil.  Phil Rawlins represents this club as much as anyone and was essentially our General Manager in the USL years of this franchise.  After being mostly a spokesman and community representative for Orlando City for the last year, we question if this will be a long term role for Phil or just an interim move.  

Mistakes happen.  Nobody is perfect.  Despite our countless successes as a young club, OCSC is also susceptible to making errors and we understand that.  While the hiring and firing of Armando Carneiro is still shrouded in mystery, it is safe to say that his hiring was a mistake which has now been corrected.  Respect to Flavio for recognizing our club was headed in the wrong direction.  We firmly believe that while Flavio is mostly a hands off owner, he stepped into this situation in understanding we were headed in the wrong direction as a club.  Much credit to him for that.  

So for now we are tired of this front office drama and hope it is over with.  We are looking forward to the full release of the 2016 schedule and the preseason.  OCSC has the framework to be a solid club on the pitch.  Cheers and go City.   

That's A Nice Ass Suit

  May 17, 2015 was a special day in the minds of the Orlando City faithful.  After a run of inconsistency between the sticks by opening-day goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, the Citrus Bowl erupted as it was announced that Tally Hall would finally be taking his place in goal.  That match was everything in terms of a dream debut for the two-time MLS All Star as it was an absolute drubbing of defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy with a scoreline of 4-0.  It was an instant classic, but this wasn't the first time that many of the supporters got to interact with Hall.

From the initial open practice and throughout the beginning of the season, Tally was a mainstay in the supporter's section while recovering from offseason knee surgery incurred as a result of an ACL tear suffered towards the end of the 2014 season.  Hall was all smiles on match days, gladly taking photos with any fans within reach.  The 6'4" man would often take center stage during prematch warmups greeting fans from the capo stands, often resulting in repeated chants referencing the "nice ass suit" he happened to sport on that day.  Following the Galaxy win, Hall's outfit on match days was accented with the purple and gold Lion badge over his chest, as his performances in goal powered the Lions to within five points of a potential playoff berth.  Performances that were recognized by accolades such as multiple MLS Save of the Week nominations as well as being named to FIFA 15's Ultimate Team of the Week.

As has been widely reported, Tally Hall's contract option was not picked up by Orlando City Soccer Club likely as a result of a second ACL injury in as many seasons.  Shortly thereafter Hall took to social media to express sadness at what had transpired, as the club's vision for him to be the goalkeeper for their MLS present and immediate future came to an abrupt end.  However, spectacular saves are not all that Tally Hall was known for.  A young female who frequents select downtown Orlando area dives has shared with our ILF News Team some experiences that she had observed firsthand while amongst the masses in Section 121.  The Houston native had followed Hall's career through his time with the Dynamo and stated her excitement at Orlando City's acquisition of him prior to the 2015 season.  Through the smiles and the waves however, the young woman speculates that Hall may have been uneasy.

Through the progression of the season it was not uncommon to hear crass and profane statements yelled towards our goalkeeper in warmups or even following matches themselves.  So graphic were some of the apparent statements, that most major sports outlets ignored them altogether for fear of losing valuable advertisers.  We here at the Iron Lion Firm pride ourselves on being the voice of the voiceless, and take honor in informing our loyal readers of developments, or in this case, injustices that occur.  I have personally heard throughout the season dozens of fans stating that they would engage in lustful acts with our stoic keeper, and the young informant stated it was not uncommon to hear women blurt out statements such as "I'm pregnant with Tally's baby" multiple times on match day.  Her adoration too extended to this playful heckling, but upon seeing Hall post a picture of a crocheted Orlando City onesie for his baby, she felt the need to be more respectful of his family and bring attention to the damage the collective's alcohol induced words may cause.

It's likely that the Hall departure can be attributed to growing insecurity with the rabid Central Florida male and female admirers, and the potential stressors that come along with those individuals tracking a public figure's every move.  Not to mention at this moment Hall needs to be focused on recovery and subsequent rehab without worrying about empty claims from a Backbooth charlatan.  The club may have orchestrated the "walking papers" exit as a way to save the Tally from receiving any backlash from the fans, as the supporters would not take kindly to a player wanting to leave.  In this instance, it's absolutely unlikely Hall wanted to depart as the Citrus Bowl revered in his glory as his successes were our successes, and his current injury setback is a struggle for this fan base as well.

The ILF Chief Mythbuster, who accompanied me to meet with the young informant, took these claims from the legions of female fans and after tedious research drew a conclusion that may have not required any number crunching whatsoever.  Tally Hall was NOT the father of any of the unborn children, because even if he was the most eligible of bachelors and hooked up with any of the female claimants, he'd save that too.  Hopefully these scientific results put the Hall family, and Orlando City brass, at ease as we'd welcome him back on his road to recovery.  To many of us, "The Wall" moniker pays homage to Tally as much as the purple-clad population.

Always bring protection.

Always bring protection.

Pour one for my homie...

Today we bid farewell to former Orlando City goalkeeper Tally Hall.  OCSC has chosen not to renew the contract for our 2015 starting keeper.  Untimely injuries have been the story of Hall's career.  

Best of luck Tally.  In your one year in Orlando, you made quite an impression on the Iron Lion Firm and on our city.  We hope you enjoyed your time in the 407 and assure you that you will feel nothing but love whenever you come back. 

Pour one for my homie.  See you around Tally.