After an impressive string of four wins, Orlando City has come within touching distance of the 2015 MLS Playoffs. The Lions have caught fire, but is it too late?
Only one point separates Orlando from Montreal, who is currently sitting in sixth place, but the Impact have two games on Orlando and a +2 goal difference to the Lion’s -10. In order to jump Montreal and grab that sixth spot Orlando will not only have to win the remainder of their two games but hope that Montreal drops at least one game, possibly two, as the MLS season comes to a close.
Let’s see how plausible Orlando’s playoff dreams are.
Orlando City vs. New York City FC – Orlando Citrus Bowl
The Lions face-off against the other expansion team for their last home game, a fitting send-off considering Orlando’s first game of the season was played in New York. This is a tricky game, NYCFC is currently one spot below Orlando and four points behind so there’s a slight chance they can still crawl their way into a playoff spot with a combination of Montreal/Orlando losses.
Despite an impressive Cyle Larin hat trick, Orlando fell 5-3 in their last meeting with New York and drew the first time they played.
If Orlando can continue on the hot-streak they seem to have caught, there is no reason not to come away with a win from this game on Friday night.
Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Union – PPL Park
Orlando has everything to gain while Philadelphia has nothing to lose, which is not always great. This game will not be easy for Orlando, who drew 0-0 with the Union in their only previous match.
Philadelphia currently sits in ninth place in the East, and have no motivation to win this game except to end another team’s playoff hopes. While that sounds vindictive and mean, that’s sports for ya kids.
Looking at Montreal:
Montreal made a run at the CONCACAF Champions League, which is why they have so many games on Orlando. Three of their final four games are on the road, which will be good for Orlando, but Didier Drogba is adjusting to MLS more and more with each passing game and will continue to score goals for the Impact.
Montreal Impact vs. New York Red Bulls – Red Bull Arena
The next game for Montreal is away at the Red Bulls, who currently sit first in the East and are tied with LA Galaxy for most points overall. The Red Bulls are not going to let this slip by, after a fantastic season in the shadow of NYCFC they will be looking to earn the Supporter’s Shield before making a run in the playoffs.
Montreal Impact vs. Colorado Rapids – Dick’s Sporting Good’s Park
Montreal should come away from this with an easy win, Colorado’s defense is not great and the Rapids sit in last place in the West. If the Impact get tripped up in Colorado it will be surprising, Orlando’s best hope is that Colorado is able to keep Montreal from scoring a bunch of goals.
Montreal Impact vs. New England Revolution – Gillette Stadium
This is an interesting game, these two team’s first meeting ended in a scoreless draw with Montreal taking the win from their second game and now that the Revolution have booked their ticket to the playoffs, this might be a win for Montreal.
Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC – Stade Saputo
This Canadian rivalry finishes their seasons in Montreal, a great possibility for a loss if you’re looking at this game from the perspective as an Orlando fan. Toronto have been getting better and better as the second half of the season progresses and will want to build momentum going into the playoffs. However, there is a chance Toronto rests Sebastian Giovinco ahead of the playoffs.
If there is anything I know as a sports fan it is that anything is possible, Orlando is not out but in order to obtain that sixth spot they will need to win out and score. They not only need to score but they cannot allow goals because if the two teams are tied for sixth place the team going to the playoffs will be decided by a number of factors including goal differentials.