With two games left for both Orlando City B and the Wilmington Hammerheads, the fight for the eighth and final USL Eastern Conference playoff spot has devolved to who can lose the least.
Bringing home any amount of points is the goal tonight for OCB in a game that is yet another opportunity to clinch that elusive postseason berth as the young Lions (8-12-8, 32 points) take on third-place FC Cincinnati (14-6-8, 50 points) in the penultimate game of the regular season at 7 p.m. at Nippert Stadium.
OCB has remarkably maintained the eighth position for several weeks now despite having not won since Aug. 6, a seven-game span that has seen the young Lions avoid losing just once. Three other teams — Wilmington, Bethlehem, and Harrisburg — are in contention for that spot, and all three are currently in the midst of slumps of varying degrees. Should OCB tie Cincinnati tonight, the young Lions would guarantee themselves at least a tie or the final spot, depending on the results of the other teams. Should OCB win tonight, it would eliminate Harrisburg and Bethlehem from contention.
Tonight’s opponents are nearing the end of what has been a very successful and much celebrated inaugural campaign. Cincinnati leads the league in attendance and has drawn huge crowds to the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium that have outdrawn several MLS teams, including the in-state Columbus Crew. On the field, John Harkes’ team is still in contention for the second seed in the Eastern Conference, which is no small feat for a brand new team.
Last Week’s Lineups:
OCB: Ridgers; Turner, Nitti, McFadden, Hayden; A. Garcia, A. Ribeiro, D. Garcia, Da Silva; Barry, Cox
Cincinnati: Hildebrandt; Luke, Lee, Delbridge, Polak; Wiedeman, Walker, Nicholson, Mohamed; Townsend, Okoli
- Don’t Lose: Let’s face it, if OCB should prove successful in finding the postseason the young Lions’ finish to 2016 will be the definition of backing one’s way into success. Despite all the struggles this team has seen over the last month and a half, a tie will be a significant step towards extending this inaugural season.
- HARvWIL: Two of the three teams currently in contention for OCB’s position will play each other tonight at 7 p.m. as Harrisburg hosts Wilmington. A Harrisburg win at home in this game would be immensely helpful, especially if the Lions can pull the upset on the road in the Queen City. Be sure to keep an eye on the score of this one, as the result of this game is nearly as important as OCB’s match with Cincy.