Greetings Mane Landers, by the time you read this piece I may just be in the hospital welcoming my son into the world. Yes, it's a good day and with that enthusiasm in my sails, I feel like talking about Orlando City's chances the rest of the season. No, I won't use the P word per my editor's request, but I think you know what I'm talking about... ::wink wink, nudge nudge::
It's been a rough season to date and we'd be silly to ignore as much. All that's been discussed, though, and it's time to move forward. There are games to play and if the team wants to keep playing past Oct. 23 then it's time to turn it on.
So, I've taken some time to look over the remaining schedule and see how Orlando City's chances look at reaching "that thing we're not going to name." I've broken the games down into three columns: Winnable, Result Based, and Tough. Let's keep the good times rolling and start with...
Every. Home. Game. Seriously, every time this team laces them up for a game at the Campground, there's magic in the air. Whether it is just being home, the supporters giving it their all for an entire 90-plus minutes, whatever it is, OC loves playing at home just as much as we, the fans, love watching them.
To date, most games in the Lions' undefeated home streak have been ties, but honestly, has there been a game in Orlando where it hasn't felt like the home team should've won? Whether it is New England, NYCFC, DC United, whoever, when the game is here, it is winnable.
As for road games that are very winnable, I'll start with this weekend's game at Columbus. I also like Aug. 14 at Chicago, Sept. 24 at D.C. United, and, going for it, a late season match-up at Philadelphia on Oct. 16.
In this scenario, if Orlando City can get a draw, I would say that is a good outcome. There are some tough roadies ahead, so these are the games where points matter. The important ones are the games against fellow Eastern Conference foes, where swiping a point means something a tad bit more.
The two games north of the border against Montreal (on Sept. 7) and against Toronto FC (on Sept. 28) are very important to come away with draws. Losses to teams ahead of Orlando currently in the playoffs, even on the road, would be tough. Speaking of...
For these games, I'm specifically looking at two difficult games against Western Conference foes. The Aug. 20 game at Colorado and the Sept. 11 game at LA Galaxy -- especially the LA game, coming four days after a tough road match-up against Montreal (see above) -- you'd like to draw at the very least, but it'll be tough.
As for the Colorado game, the team has a quick turnaround after it with an important home game against Toronto FC. In situations like this, the coaching staff may need to prioritize the Toronto game over the Colorado game, especially depending on the standings at the time.
Every game is important and every chance to cash in three points needs to be taken. That Vancouver game on Saturday night may be the jump-start this team needs to finish the season strong. The outlook for "the thing not to be named" isn't going to be easy, but it is doable.