Okay what’s it going to take? For three home games in a row, Orlando City has been the better team based on most statistical measures of play. They’ve won possession by 3.6%, 23.6%, and 1.4% respectively. They’ve outshot opponents by 15. They have been more accurate in passing. They’ve put on a clinic of ball control. They’ve controlled the pace of each game and done just about everything required to win the match except put the ball into the back of the net. Cue the X-Files theme because obviously we have something else going on here.
A team with 3 definite All Stars and probably more doesn’t just lose or tie in front of the home crowd like this without something suspicious going on. Are we talking about refs? While at times, they appear to be agents of evil, we are not speaking of them. No, we are talking about something far more sinister. We’re talking about something only whispered about in hushed tones in the dark corners of pubs everywhere, we’re talking about the Bermuda Grass Rectangle.
Some people refer to this area as the goal box, but we’re going to come out and state the painful truth. Strange things happen for Orlando City players when they cross over into the mystical and mysterious confines of this particular piece of real estate. Normally sure-footed assassins are rocketing shots that are deflected by fingernails into the cross bar. Perfectly placed crosses go unrequited across the penalty area. Is there some invisible Balrog roaming between the posts that appears only at the very last second to befuddle shots by former world players of the year?
What are we going to do to stop it? How are we going to change our mojo? Are there any soccer or good Orlando-centric sports vibes that we can incorporate into the field? Here are 10 possible solutions, the veracity of which we cannot possibly vouch for, but two stoppage time free kick game winning goals in a row? Come on, now!
- Enlist Kingston and the perennially lucky Orlando Magic’s Stuff to perform a goal dance at the beginning of each game.
- Fly Maradona in to touch each of the goals with the Hand of God.
- Bury a lock of Brek Shea’s hair at the corners of each goal box to open the flood gates.
- Incorporate pieces of the 1980s Orlando Lions kits into the twine of the goal nets to make them seem more inviting.
- Change the Man The Wall banner to Shoot The Ball for some much needed psychological encouragement.
- Paint the goals in Brazilian green and have Orlando City players wear German kits. (Not sure if Kaká or Pedro Ribeiro will sign on to this one though.)
- Bring in Luis Suarez to gnaw on the goal posts and terrify malevolent spirits.
- Commission corporate sponsor Disney to let Tinker Bell sprinkle pixie dust in both goal boxes.
- Have Orlando Magic Senior Vice President Pat Williams bury the winning lottery balls from the 1992 and 1993 drafts at the penalty spot in either goal box.
- Anoint the game ball with Florida Orange juice at the beginning of each match so that it will play better in the Citrus Bowl.
Any or maybe all of these ideas should lead to more success for our beloved Lions. At the very least they will make us feel better about a relentlessly depressing streak of bad luck.