Hope still alive for Orlando City playoff run


Danny Morales / Valencia Voice

Cyle Larin leads Orlando City with 11 goals in his rookie season in the MLS.

With the season winding down to its last few match days, Orlando City is still fighting for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Montreal Impact have two games in hand and are currently sitting in the sought after sixth spot in the Eastern Conference table. There is a lot of Orlando’s hopes hanging not only on their own performance, which they have control over, but also on other teams vying for the same spot not getting results during the final weeks of the season.

Throughout all of this the Orlando fans have come out to support their team. From day one of the season with their historic opening game against NYCFC to maintaining a 30,000 attendance average through the season no matter the results.

The expansion team ranks among the top four in the league for attendance even though the team is still currently sitting below the red line marking teams that will be fighting it out for the coveted MLS Cup. There is something to be said about a new team bringing in scores of new fans consistently with their attractive game day atmosphere and entertaining brand of soccer.

Most importantly for the team is to break into the postseason to bring the fans some hope of making an impression about the capabilities of new teams to come and compete right away. With their thumping of the L.A. Galaxy earlier in the season the team made a statement of intent not only to the current MLS champions but also the league as a whole.

By fighting and picking up points away from home against the likes of the Chicago Fire and others they have a fighting chance to make the wishes of the coaches, players, front office and fan’s dreams come true.

The dream to hoist the MLS Cup triumphantly against all odds. It should be noted that Orlando was able to gain three points from Chicago with a sturdy 1-0 win. Also that on the television broadcast the chanting traveling Orlando fans could be heard above the Chicago home crowd.

The biggest hurdle to fight is something that Orlando has absolutely no control over. The games in hand that Montreal has due to their participation in the CONCACAF Champion’s League allows them to have more chances to keep their heads above water. Their schedule though is not very friendly to them since they will have to play many of their games in a very tight pace.

Some of the Impact’s upcoming matches will only allow for two days rest between games which will benefit Orlando, who don’t have the same time constraints of difficult a schedule. Four of their upcoming matches are against teams in the top five of the Eastern Conference. They currently sit a comfortable four points ahead of Orlando with two games in hand.

Even with Montreal having a tough going until the end of the season Orlando still has to do well in their upcoming matches to make their advantage count. With key players returning from injury these advantages can very well be taken by the team. Even with the positives of these advantages some Orlando fans remain skeptical of progressing to the knock-outs.

A fan asked about the chances of the team moving on has said “Orlando remains outside needed standing and with our injuries they will remain so.”

Others have stated that “there are multiple things that need to go right for that to happen and I’m not very hopeful.”

Even so, Orlando has an outside chance but a chance all the same. In the coming weeks fans will see how the chips fall.

Orlando returns to the Citrus Bowl on Saturday, Oct. 3 to play the Montreal Impact. This game is shaping up to be an important matchup for both teams but first Orlando City will have to travel to New Jersey where they will take on the New York Red Bulls on Friday night.