Wawa

Draft Day: Orlando City edition

It's the morning of the NFL draft and I'm hyped up on Wawa coffee. As I'm riding the Sunrail to work, I thought what better way to kill the time than mocking up a draft board for Orlando City. 

 

1st round: Cyle Larin, ST, Connecticut

This was a tough decision and our committee stayed up through the night going over tape and numbers. We wanted to go defense in the 1st round as defense wins championships but Cyle Larin was simply too good of a prospect to pass up on. Good football IQ, knows how to score and can score for fun at times, always in the right place at the right time. Some might question this kids work ethic but at the end of the day, we drafted him to score goals. 

2nd round: Joe Bendik, GK,  Clemson

We were lucky that Joe Bendik fell to us honestly as we had him high on our draft board. Bendik will be the center piece of our defense and we hope to build around him in the upcoming rounds. Good hands and really bosses his area of the field, his 40 time was not impressive at the Combine which may have turned away some teams but we like him anyways. 

3rd round:Jonathan Spector, CB, St. Viator HS 

As attacking options started flying off the board, we almost went with an attacking threat here to compliment Larin but we decided to stick with building a line in front of Bendik. Many younger CB's were taken at this point in the draft but we weren't turned away by Spector's age. A great footballing IQ, Spector reads the game well and is not afraid of a tough challenge. Maybe not the fastest guy in the draft at his position but paired with a quicker CB will allow him to flourish. 

4th round: Will Johnson, CDM/RB, Canada

An absolute steal in the 4th round. Will Johnson fell this late in the draft due to an average combine but was projected to go late 1st to early 2nd round in some mock drafts. Johnson has a high motor and is a do it all for you kind of player and typically those players combines are never that impressive. Capable of playing all over the field, Johnson is a great locker room presence and is a necessity for any team with championship ambitions. 

5th round: Carlos Rivas, Winger, Colombia

We decided to shift gears and work on the offensive side of the ball. Viewed as having one of the highest ceilings in this draft, Rivas was available in the 5th round due to some questions about his consistency and off field issues at a Junior Colombian Burger establishment back in 2015. Rivas has the upside however that could make him an absolute gem in 5th round. 

6th round: Cristian Higuita, CDM, Colombia

After getting a winger in the 5th, the obvious choice was to get another attacking threat but we really liked the value of Higuita in the 6th round. A very scrappy player with a lot of upside, Higuita was only available this late in the draft due to his tendency of being card friendly. He is a gifted midfielder and with the right coaching can be one of the better defensive mid's in the MLS.

7th round: Matias Perez Garcia, Attacking Mid, Argentina

I tell you what, I really like this guy. Not blessed with all the measurements you look for in a professional athlete but this guy knows how to play the game. Getting MPG in the last round of the draft was a blessing and we think he can be an important part of our side.

 

This concludes the 2017 Orlando City draft, we'll see you again next year!

Vamos Orlando!  

 

 

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 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: Fall Edition

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It's that time of year again, where we take it easy with the online banter and dig into the ILF mailbag addressing questions and concerns.  After a two-month nap, let's get into it. 

 

On match days there are many tailgate activities, but none that seem as enjoyable as flip cup.  I've played here and there but have streaky performances and I'm not too confident in just walking up to a game, can you offer any advice? - Abby M., Eustis, FL

This is a fantastic question, Abby.  Flip cup is one of the easiest games to pick up and play, and we here in the ILF have put together a visual aid for the simple three step process met with great success by one of our members.  Practice!

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What's up ILF, I'm majorly stressing out over here.  I've been with my girlfriend for some time and I think now is that time for that next step and lock it down before she comes to her senses and runs away with our children.  What's a great way to make this proposal memorable for her? - Javier O., Orlando, FL 

Brilliant!  Well to make it really memorable I suggest playing the long game.  Make her wait long enough that she just gets tired of waiting and quietly assumes it's not happening for a while until all of a sudden you spring it up on her in front of The Simpsons ride at Universal, right beside the DeLorean.  Congratulations in advance, kids.  Much love from the Firm, we raise a Duff to you.

That's the power of love. 

That's the power of love. 

 

What's up brothers and sisters.  As I sit in this cold, dark place over a bowl of french onion soup I can't help but feel overcome with a mixture of love from all over and remnants of a several year long hangover.  It feels as though the winds of change are about to blow, how do I interpret all of this? - Stevie C., the terraces of Alanyaspor

It sounds like you're dealing with very complex feelings within yourself, young man.  The important thing to do is look within yourself.  We hope that this hit song from Swedish band Roxette is sufficient to aid you in your journey.

 

 

On September 17th Orlando City takes on Columbus Crew and if we win the match, that victory is legit.  Does the Iron Lion Firm have a calculation for the odds of OCSC making the playoffs?  Inquiring minds need to know, fam. - Jeremy M., The Beacham 

You know, they say all teams are created equal, but you look at Orlando City and you look at Columbus Crew, and you can see that statement is not true.  See, normally if you go eleven-on-eleven with another team, you got a 50-50 chance of winning, but Orlando City are genetic freaks, and they're not normal, so you got a 25% chance at best at beating them.  And then you add D.C. United to the mix? Your chances of winning drastically go down.

See the three-way, in the eastern conference, you got a 33 1/3 chance of winning.  But Orlando City got a 66 2/3 chance of winning, cause D.C. United KNOWS they can't beat them, and they're not even gonna try.  So, Montreal Impact, you take your 33 1/3 chance, minus our 25 percent chance, and you got an 8 1/3 chance of making the MLS Playoffs.  But then you take our 75 percent chance at winning, if we was to go one-on-one, and to add 66 2/3 chan...percents, we got a 141 2/3 chance of making the MLS Playoffs.

 

That concludes this installment of the ILF Mailbag, please send any questions you have to ironlionfirm@gmail.com to potentially be answered in future editions of the mailbag. 

Breaking News: Popular meme maker accused of importing memes from China

While the news is still developing and we are gathering more information by the minute, these accusations are very real.  At 2:36 AM on Thursday morning a source who asked to remain anonymous approached the ILF Blog with some disturbing information. This popular meme maker was seen parked behind a newly built Wawa south of downtown Orlando. The eye witness stated that numerous memes were exchanged for several Wawa hoagies. As the other vehicle drove off, our source stated that they had a "Yao Ming for President" bumper sticker, narrowing it down to a person from China and/or Houston. The witness went on to say "One of the memes was worth at least 100 likes." We have since reached out to this popular meme maker who refused our interview but simply would say "Respek my f****** name." We can only hope these accusations come to be false in the end as this meme maker has made a monopoly of the meme business since putting several other meme makers out of business.