Orlando City’s playoff dreams got much more difficult this weekend


Orlando City took care of its business with a win over New York City FC. But Montreal Impact’s win made the path to the postseason much more difficult.

Orlando City celebrated Friday night. The Lions won their fifth straight game — this one without stars Kaka and Brek Shea. They celebrated their final home game of their inaugural season in front of the second largest home crowd of the season, setting the average attendance record for an expansion MLS club.

They did everything they needed to do in the 2-1 win to keep themselves alive.

Ultimately though, Orlando City needed help. And the team did not get it Saturday when Montreal defeated New England 1-0. That clinched a playoff berth for the Impact and leaves only one avenue for Orlando City to make the playoffs and complete their inaugural season on a high.

The Lions sit with 44 points and trail the sixth-seeded Revolution by three points. That means Orlando City will need a win over Philadelphia to stay alive. The good news is the Union are ninth place in the East at 34 points. The Revolution will have to lose to New York City FC (eighth place with 37 points).

These are both games these teams should win. Orlando City previously tied Philadelphia earlier in the season. New England has defeated New York once and lost once.

Win and in is not a simple solution for Orlando City. That does not solve the problem though. An Orlando City win and New England loss only ties the two teams.

The first tiebreaker is total number of wins. An Orlando City win would tie the team with New England at 13 wins on the season.

The next tiebreaker is goal differential. Here the Lions will face some trouble.

Orlando City currently has a -9 goal differential while New England has a -1 goal differential. That means Orlando City has to make up an eight-goal differential in the next game. A 4-0 win over Philadelphia for Orlando City and a 4-0 loss to N.Y.C.F.C. for New England would lead to the next tiebreaker.

The odds of that happening seem very very slim.

The next tiebreaker is goals for. Here, Orlando City has a one-goal lead over New England (46 goals for Orlando City to New England’s 45). Essentially, if Orlando City makes up the goal differential, it would make the Playoffs. It is possible, I suppose, for Orlando City to win 1-0 and for New England to lose 9-2. The odds of that happening are even slimmer than making up the goal differential.

The path for Orlando City to make the Playoffs is a very long one at this point. The odds of it happening are extremely slim.

The task got that much more difficult when reports came out stating starting goalkeeper Tally Hall would undergo surgery on his left knee and will miss the season finale. With Earl Edwards Jr. already out for the season with an injury, the Lions will be relying on their third string goalkeeper to, in essence, pitch a clean sheet.

Both Orlando City and New England will play at 5 p.m. Neither team will know what it has to do in comparison to its opponent. The formula is simple for the Revolution though. Win and they are in. Do not lose too badly and they are in.

Orlando City just has to win and put the pressure on to get in.