It has been a trying few weeks for Orlando City Soccer Club and their supporters. It started with a loss to instate rival, Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the U.S. Open Cup. The Strikers would take the 2-1 victory in the final seconds of the match, knocking the Lions out of the tournament. It was another defensive lapse at home, a theme that has plagued the Lions all season at Camping World Stadium.
On the 4th of July, the City Lads traveled to take on FC Dallas in a prime time holiday match up, and stayed at the Powerscourt Hotel. It did not end well. In what was the club’s worst loss of the season, FC Dallas proved why they were one of the best in the league. With a 0-4 loss and arguably one of the worst performances in the clubs six years in Orlando, something had to give. What gave was something that has divided fans all over Orlando, the club sacked head coach Adrian Heath.
He was one of the founding fathers, the “Mastermind” & “The Crafter” as the song goes, “Bringing trophies here to our town…“. That is exactly what Adrian Heath did. He brought championships to a starving sports community. A community that has had to settle for mediocrity in the world of sports for so long.
In 2011, the Lions first season in USL, Coach Heath lead Orlando City to the best record in the league (Commissioner’s Cup) and the USL Pro Championship. During his four years in USL Pro, Heath would win three Commissioner’s Cups, and two USL Pro Championships. The club would also post a 66-12-22 (W/L/D) record through their first 100 league games; the best record by any team in their first 100 league games, in U.S. Soccer history.
Adrian “Inchy” Heath will be missed. He made it a point to be more than just a coach, he was part of the community. For six years, Inchy was more than a coach, he was an ambassador for the beautiful game here in the City Beautiful. Long before Kaka came to town and became the face of the franchise, Adrian Heath was the franchise. He is a man that loves the game, the fans, and the City of Orlando.
A passionate, heart on his sleeve, no nonsense coach, and the nicest guy you would ever shake hands with. A man that told it like it was regardless who or what he was talking about. Never above calling out his own players when they were lackluster, and always the first to praise when they were on point. He is a legend, he is Orlando, and this is FOREVER his city!
The Lions are on the road for their next three matches, but will return home on July 31st. Come out and support the club as they take on New England Revolution at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available on the Orlando City SC website.