With Orlando City riding a four-match win streak as it makes a final push for the 2015 playoffs, it could be argued that this bye week has come at an inconvenient time for the Lions. When you're hot, you're hot, and the time off, in theory, could take the club off the burner long enough to cool down a bit.
Orlando City manager Adrian Heath doesn't agree with that perspective, however. He believes that this bye has come at a good time for his team to get healthy and, hopefully, let Montreal do some of the Lions' work for them in the form of dropped points while his players kick their feet up.
"I actually think the break has come at the right time for us," Heath said after training on Tuesday. "It gives us an opportunity to get one or two of the niggling injuries [healed], probably get some people a little bit more rest than we would've had we had a game this weekend."
The Lions can feel good about themselves during this time off after taking care of business for four consecutive weeks to claw back within a point of Montreal in the standings. The added intensity of a playoff push will certainly do nothing to freshen up legs after 32 league games, and the week off will hopefully give Rafael Ramos enough time to recover from his recent injury in time for the New York City FC showdown on Oct. 16, for which OCSC will already be shorthanded without Kaká and Brek Shea due to yellow card suspensions.
While Heath doesn't mind his players enjoying themselves in their leisure time this weekend, the gaffer is still stressing that his team needs to control what it can control, which this week means getting the proper rest ahead of a crucial match.
"The most important thing is that when they have the couple of days off that they do what we want them to do, which is rest," Heath said. "I don't mind them going to the beach and having a couple of days there, but when we get back [to training] we've got to be fully focused on what will be the biggest game of the year for us."
Meanwhile, as the Lions recline for a weekend of pints (of water) and NFL RedZone, their primary competition for the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference, Montreal Impact, is in the midst of playing two matches in a span of four days, the first of which was against the top team in the East – a favorable 2-1 NYRB win – and the other that is set to be played at altitude tonight at Colorado.
Having already received a hand from Red Bulls, Heath and the lads will root for a Rapids result tonight before returning to the training field Monday ahead of NYC. Heath's confident prediction that Montreal would drop points – "I'm convinced that Montreal won't win their next two games" – is looking good so far, but the Lions will still be in a must-win situation on Friday even if they do get more potential help from other clubs, making this opportunity to rest all the more important.