Our City is a weekly column dedicated to the fans and supporters' perspectives of Orlando City. Any feedback, comments, or questions? Find Kevin Mercer on Twitter @KevinIsHistory
A nice early season run, a little bit of luck, and a very forgiving red line to make the playoffs have all combined to mean your Orlando City Lions are still in the playoff hunt, if only barely.
As it stands right now, Orlando City has accrued 35 points this season, leaving the club in seventh place. The Lions trail the Montreal Impact by one point for the sixth and final playoff spot. On the positive side of things, they lead New York City FC by one point and the Philadelphia Union by two. The playoff picture is complicated by Montreal's early season participation in the CONCACAF Champions League, which means the Impact still have three games in hand right now.
This puts Montreal in charge of their own destiny going into the final stretch. However, one of Montreal's games is against Orlando City in the Citrus Bowl, in what has to be seen as a must-win for both clubs. Orlando also hosts NYCFC, in another must-win game. Wins in both of these games could see Orlando take the advantage away from Montreal and find their way into the playoffs in the most dramatic of fashions.
While Orlando's playoff ambitions might be mathematically slim, having a club still in the fight at the end of the season is the sweetest of icing on an inaugural year that has been a celebration of soccer in the City Beautiful. In a season of twists, turns, highs and lows, the constant has been the support the club has seen in the stands on game day. With a party-like atmosphere from the tailgate scene that surrounds the Citrus Bowl until hours after the final whistle, Orlando has painted the town purple on game days.
To have a team competing to the very end is the best reward for a faithful fan base that has weathered some rough patches this season. In an inaugural year, the most you can ask for is a team that stays in the fight, right? The players can reward the support they've had all year by fighting through these last rounds and daring us to dream a little.
Maybe our Lions could make the playoffs, however unglamorous the path? Once you are in, then who knows? Players coming back into the lineup, guys finding new rich veins of form up against MLS parity -- it does make you dream a bit, doesn't it? A team that's shown it can pull off an upset or two, a team that still hasn't shown us its best yet, playing in a league playoff when just about anything is possible? Yeah, it makes you think, just maybe.
As a supporter, that's all we want -- to sing, cheer, clap, and shout with a little bit of hope in our hearts. Maybe, after the year we've had, we could dare to dream that the story isn't over quite yet.