ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando City’s hopes for the postseason pivot around a game on the opposite coast tonight — New England’s match against the Portland Timbers.
Although the Lions’ loss in Houston over the weekend dipped the team’s likelihood of making the playoffs, the team still remains in the chase for the postseason. FiveThirtyEight.com lists Orlando City’s probability of making the playoffs at 5% — the lowest in the league. A win for New England could drop that number to zero.
Forward Tesho Akindele said that although the team won’t watch the match together tonight, all of his teammates will be keeping a close eye on the results.
“It’s such a big moment for our team,” Akindele said. “It’s too bad that we’re in a position where we have to rely on other results, but we’re gonna hope for the best. No matter what happens, we have to take care of business in the last few games we have.”
Here are the three possible outcomes for the Lions based on the results of tonight’s match:
If New England wins: This is the worst case scenario for Orlando City. If New England wins, the Revs will have 44 points, stretching the point differential to eight. That number would be insurmountable for Orlando City to make up, officially ending the Lions’ postseason hopes.
If New England draws: Although it drops the team’s odds even lower, a draw leaves Orlando City with a chance to still scrape in. The Revs would have 42 points, making the differential six points. To make the playoffs, the Lions would need to win both of their final games and count on the Revs to lose at home against New York City FC and on the road in Atlanta.
If that scenario occurred — without Chicago or Montreal picking up enough wins to leapfrog over New England — the Lions and the Revs would be tied in points. Orlando City would win the tiebreaker, which is based on total wins. In this scenario, Orlando City would finish with 11 wins, while New England would finish with 10, giving the advantage to the Lions. However, this would require Orlando City to win consecutive games, a feat it has not accomplished all season.
If New England loses: This leaves Orlando City with its best odds, but still no margin for error. The Lions would still need to win out and hope for New England to lose its final two matches of the season. That result will still rely on both Chicago and Montreal to remain in their current positions. If either team made a move up in the rankings, it would come down to the wins tally to determine a tied position.
With 11 wins on the season, Montreal would edge Orlando City in a tie for the No. 7 slot. However, Chicago has only nine wins this season, meaning that the Lions would win a tie against the Fire.