Orlando City Remain Focused on Big Picture, Playoff Goal
By Lucas Casás Orlando City Soccer // July 31, 2015
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – It wasn’t all that long ago that Orlando City had picked up 14 points in seven games and shot up the Eastern Conference table.
Their recent run of play has made that seem like a distant memory, but the Lions remain focused on their season-long goal.
They were just inches from tying Sunday’s game and earning a point. For the second time in two games against NYCFC, Kaká lined up for a stoppage time free kick just yards from the box to tie the game. But this time, instead of bouncing a shot off the wall and into the net, he rang it off the post.
Not 20 seconds later, NYCFC was celebrating another goal and another win.
“It’s strange. [NYCFC’s] glass is half full because they’ve suddenly got 24 points. But we’ve got 24 points and because we’ve lost four on the bounce [in all competitions] it looks as though it’s worse than it actually is,” said manager Adrian Heath.
Despite their current streak, the Lions are locked in a three-way tie for the final playoff spot in the East and are just four points back of fifth-place New England with two games in hand. With 13 games left to play, there are still plenty of chances to pick up points.
A win against rival Columbus Crew on Saturday would go a long way, and what better place to get back to their winning ways than the Orlando Citrus Bowl.
“My message this week to our supporters is we need you now more than ever this weekend,” said Heath.
The last time Orlando City played Columbus at home in league play, 31,430 fans packed the stands to see Pedro Ribeiro’s thrilling 89th minute equalizer. But this time, it’s three points they’re after.
And like all conference games, Saturday’s tilt is a de facto six-point contest. Of their 13 remaining games, 11 of them are against conference rivals.
11 chances to climb the table. 11 chances to halt their conference foes.
“Obviously this isn’t the run of form you want in the summer, but it’s still summer,” said goalkeeper Tally Hall after Sunday’s game.
“There’s still opportunities for us to rally and finish the season the way we always planned to.”
“We’re in there with 13 games to go to make the playoffs,” said Heath, “and that’s what we aim to do.”