You may have noticed there was no wrap-up post from the Wednesday night match with Toronto, and the truth is that the result was so lackluster that I didn't feel like it was worth the time devoting an entire column to it. Joe Bendik had four more saves to earn the clean sheet in the draw, and now he's tied for the league lead with 109 saves on the season. Other than that, the defense managed to hold Toronto scoreless, albeit they were without their most potent scorers, who were still out recovering from injuries.
But now we turn our focus toward the next match. With three matches and a total of nine points available in the season, I think it's safe to say that Orlando City will not be making the post season this year. But the lads need a strong finish if they want to make the cut and be one of the 11 that Jason Kreis will protect in the expansion draft in December.
Players to Watch
Orlando City has a chance to do something special on Sunday, and that is to make a clean sweep of Montreal for the season. Though the Impact are having a better year overall, Orlando City has won both previous matches this season. Orlando City beat Montreal 2 - 1 in Orlando on May 21, and then in Montreal Orlando City prevailed 4 - 1 on September 7, back a few short weeks ago when the lads were playing like they actually cared about getting to the playoffs. In fact, going back to last October Orlando City has won three matches in a row against Montreal, and hold an all-time 3 - 1 - 1 series lead between the teams. There are only two home matches left on the year, so Orlando City could go a long way toward helping fans feel good about the money we all just paid to renew season tickets by actually going out and winning for a change.
But Montreal will not just give the match to us. For one thing, they are sitting in fifth position on the table without a playoff spot secured, so they need points to be sure they can stay in contention for the postseason. For another, they have a pair of dynamic players in Ignacio Piatti (15 goals, 6 assists) and Didier Drogba (10 goals, 6 assists). Additionally, Dominic Oduro is co-leader for the team in assists with Piatti and Drogba.
Other than the unusual defensive stand in the midweek match, there really isn't anyone who is playing with particularly good form for Orlando City other than Joe Bendik. The goal scoring threats have gone largely quiet for the last month, and the defense looks energetic but undisciplined, which has led to several lopsided defeats in recent weeks. The good thing is that we have nobody on the MLS injury report, but Brek Shea was shown a yellow card in Toronto and will be suspended for the match this weekend. But with a healthy side, it's hopeful that Jason Kreis can throw some hungry players into the match and they will find a way to create some goals while keeping Montreal from getting too many clean shots at Joe Bendik's goal.
I am looking forward to matchday for the Fantober events that Orlando City have planned for the morning. From 10 - noon those of us that have had season tickets since 2015 or before will have the chance to enjoy some prematch time in the stadium for some activities. But when it comes to the actual match, I'm not sure I can bring myself to be terribly optimistic. City's last four matches have been three losses and a draw, while Montreal is coming off a win in their most recent match. Unfortunately tomorrow's match feels like it's heading for a loss, and I think that will officially put a fork in Orlando City's season.
What about you? Do you still hold out any hope for the post-season? Do you think Orlando City can secure the season sweep against Montreal? Let me know in the comments below!