Upcoming Orlando City Games Crucial For Playoff Berth, Sitting In Seventh Place
By Ryan Martinez, Orlando City SC // August 7, 2015
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – With the season winding down and the playoff race tightening up tensions can be high.
Take a glance at the Eastern Conference table and you’ll see Orlando City SC is in 7th place in the Eastern Conference.
But when you take an in-depth look you’ll find that even though the Club is one place below a coveted playoff spot, their chances of reaching postseason play are quite favorable. Here’s why.
For starters, Orlando City SC has a schedule that sets up perfectly for a playoff push in the Eastern Conference. With 9 of their 11 remaining games against inner conference foes, massive six point swings are to be had down the stretch.
This allows the Lions the opportunity to make major leaps up the table.
Next, let’s take a look at the race for the top two spots in the East. Remember, these will exempt you from the ever-dangerous knockout round.
Only six points MLS League Table As of 8/5/15separate the Lions and the second place New York Red Bulls, which leaves Orlando City SC in striking distance of a top playoff berth. Orlando City SC will have four games against teams that sit above them in the Eastern Conference standings, thus creating several opportunities to severely shake things up in the standings.
The biggest wildcard in the current MLS standings are games in hand. Games played by Eastern Conference teams swing wildly. From as low as 20 (Montreal Impact) and as high as 24 (D.C. United and New England Revolution).
Orlando City sits right in the middle of the pack with 23 alongside the Columbus Crew and the Philadelphia Union. While future games can’t be predicted, it gives the Lions some flexibility as they chase teams like New England, who have played one more match, but only lead Orlando by four points.
Using this logic you might look at the Montreal Impact as favorites to obtain a playoff spot.
With just 20 games played due to an early season CONCACAF Champions League finals run, they seem to have a lot of moving power in the standings. Because of the nature of scheduling, though, Montreal will play a packed schedule to close out a busy year.
A lot of games in a short time frame is often grueling, and many times will find teams dropping points because of injuries, lack of rest and short preparation time for games.
If they didn’t have things tough enough, nine of the 17 games they will play to finish the season will be against teams that currently sit higher than them on points in Major League Soccer (MLS).
Compared to the daunting challenge the Montreal Impact face, the Lions will only have one mid-week game left this season – a friendly against Louisville City FC on August 25th.
Sitting in 7th may be a little worrisome at first glance for fans, but with the way the schedule plays out for Orlando City SC and other Eastern Conference contenders—Orlando should be right in the thick of things come seasons end.