Ten More Fixtures: Orlando’s Playoff Prospects

It’s coming up on that time of year again, where gifts, boots, and miracles are abound but we’re not talking about your annual Christmas or Winter hype, Timmy. We’re talking about MLS Playoff hype. Unlike Christmas, this is a time where elbows fly and curse words are nigh. Respect for the single entity dies and the Chicago Fire tries. Which brings us to Orlando City, another team vying for a Playoff spot but unsure of their very fate.

Orlando City currently sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference on 28 points. Thankfully for the Lions, they are equal on points with Montreal, in the final Playoff spot. This of course means the side have a very good chance at making the Playoffs. However, does that mean they will actually make the Playoffs? It could happen but we’ll walk you through why making the 2015 MLS Playoffs could be harder than it seems for the Orlando City Lions.

One thing is probably for certain. The top three teams in the east will likely make the Playoffs. Columbus sit in third place, six points ahead of Orlando City in the table. Though, Orlando will have to face six sides currently in Playoff positions in the East, with the remainder of their schedule, while Columbus will face seven. Meanwhile, Montreal has thirteen fixtures left and a certain Didier Drogba entering the fold. Given those games in hand and the strong core containing potential Defender of the Year, Laurent Ciman, Montreal’s odds of making the Playoffs are just about as solid as the top three teams. So, at this point, four of the six Playoff positions seem relatively secure.

Drumroll; your other two Playoff spots most likely consist of Toronto FC and the New England Revolution. Unfortunately for Orlando, Toronto also have games in hand, with twelve fixtures remaining. They also just so happen to have Sebastian Giovinco, who is your 2015 MLS MVP. We meant to insert the word “potential” in there, like with Ciman, but Giovinco wont let us. Sources (not really) tell us he’s telepathic, along with being really, really good at soccer. We all know Toronto arent a one-trick pony though as well. They’re certainly no pony either. Whether it be Altidore, Cheyrou, Bradley, Perquis, newly welcomed Kantari and Gomez, or the underrated likes of Jonathan Osorio and Collen Warner, Toronto have a lot of guys to depend on and would be another surprise if they werent to succeed at making the playoffs.

As for New England, they’re a very familiar MLS side, keeping a core that’s grown together and flourished together. They dont have the big names but they have just about as much capability and quality through the likes of Lee Nguyen, Chris Tierney, and multiple others. Not to mention, the side has managed to stay in the Playoff picture despite Jermaine Jones being sidelined via injury for approximately two months. Now Jones is back, playing fourteen minutes off the bench against Toronto. Remember earlier when we discussed the amount of teams currently in the Playoff picture that Columbus and Orlando had left to play? Well, New England have just four. This means, of course, in simpler terms, that the Revolution have the easiest schedule of all of the Eastern conference teams vying for a Playoff spot. Let’s not forget about the rising threat that is New York City either who sit just one point under Orlando City.

So, with all of this being said, it doesnt look good for Orlando, right? We wont agree with that or dismiss it but one thing is for certain. Orlando have to have a final ten games which eclipses the season theyve had thus far. Given the fact that the side’s in seventh place, it’s been a good inaugural year for Orlando City. To expect a first-year team to make the Playoffs is probably a bit too optimistic. Despite this, the team will surge on and try to transcend it’s hurdles in the final ten games. It’s important to recognize that Orlando City Soccer Club is a club with real ambition and drive. If the club doesnt succeed in making the Playoffs this season, they will eventually, and we’d all be shocked if they took half the time Toronto’s taken to do it. Kevin Molino will be back and they’ll have another transfer window to get a potential Ganso. In other words, you shouldnt be too upset if Orlando dont make the Playoffs this season. The club is here to, successfully stay, for a long time.

(image property of Austin Farrow)