ORLANDO, Fla. – At this point of the season, if Orlando City wants to see their Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoff hopes come to fruition, they’re going to need to be perfect and get some luck, too.
Following Saturday’s 3-3 draw against the New England Revolution at Exploria Stadium, Orlando coach James O’Connor praised his side’s second-half performance, a comeback effort from a 3-1 deficit at the half, but admitted they now need good fortune heading into their final three games of the season.
“I think we need to stay focused on ourselves,” said O’Connor. “We need to make sure we stay process-orientated. We can’t affect what’s going to happen during games, we need to be lucky. We have to hope we get a little bit of luck, but equally we need to make sure we do our jobs.”
“So, first and foremost, we need to make sure we look after our games and then what will be, will be, after that. We need good teams to do us a favor,” he added.
The Lions, already entering the game in must-win territory, are now four points away from the playoff line in the Eastern Conference table with just three games remaining in their regular season. On top of that, all of the teams above the playoff line have at least a game in hand on Orlando.
Nani, who finished with a goal and an assist on Saturday, admitted failing to pick up three points, despite the comeback, may prove to be a backbreaker for their season.
"We wanted to win, we wanted three points, we knew this was the most important game for us. That was our final," he told reporters.
But with games left to play and the side not yet eliminated from postseason contention, the Portuguese winger noted hope cannot fully be gone for the team.
“We must continue to enjoy and play football, play every game the way we’ve been every weekend,” said Nani. “We’ve been working very hard to get the result. We must believe until the last game and we must do our job and try to win our games until the last games and see what happens because there’s a lot of games, a lot of things can happen.”
One item that could break in their favor is a relatively favorable schedule. Orlando travel next week to take on the Houston Dynamo, who are on the cusp of playoff elimination themselves, before taking on FC Cincinnati, already eliminated, on Sept. 29. The Lions host the Chicago Fire, another playoff-pushing team, on Decision Day presented by AT&T to wrap up the regular season.
When O’Connor was asked if this is the right time to see his big-name players turn up, especially Dom Dwyer, who scored for the first time since July 7, the Orlando boss responded by saying he’s looking at his entire squad in the final games.
“It’s not just big players, I think we need all the players to show up,” he said.