Orlando City could climb two points closer to the playoff line if Major League Soccer enforces a FIFA rule about player eligibility. Michael Barrios was on the initial FC Dallas lineup prior to Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Orlando City but was replaced by Tesho Akindele before the game started.
Last minute change: Barrios is out and Akindele is starting in his place for FC Dallas. #ORLvFCD— The Mane Land (@TheManeLand) September 30, 2017
I’ll let Paul Tenorio — who broke the news via Twitter this afternoon — explain the rest.
Have some major MLS news that could impact the playoff race. It's a doozy. This is going to be a few tweets, guys. (Where's my 280?!) (1/5)— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) October 2, 2017
On Saturday, FC Dallas swapped Tesho Akindele into starting XI for Michael Barrios. Barrios then subbed into the game in the 84th min (3/5) pic.twitter.com/nqHrU4QOoK— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) October 2, 2017
I am told the league is aware of the violation and looking into it. No update yet as to what will occur. Plenty at stake, obviously. (5/5)— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) October 2, 2017
Barrios did indeed appear on the original team lineup sheet that was passed out in the press box on Saturday at Orlando City Stadium. When the change was made, a new team sheet was passed out and the staff member took away my original one — which, I’m assuming, was nothing nefarious and he was merely trying to take away the one that was wrong and trying to be helpful. Barrios later subbed into the match in the 84th minute for Maxi Urruti.
If the league upholds the rule Tenorio cites, it would push Orlando City two points closer to the playoff line, on 41 points — two points below New York Red Bulls. New York still has a game in hand and has two of its last three matches at home. The Lions would be even on wins with both Montreal and New England, but two points ahead of both. Orlando would need to make up at least two points on the Red Bulls to earn a playoff berth and more likely three, due to goal differential.
Personally, I find it unlikely Orlando City will end up getting any benefit out of the Dallas mistake and if the forfeit is awarded, well, I wouldn’t make any slide tackles if I were wearing purple in the last two matches. If you think the league will jeopardize a New York area team’s postseason chances, well, I’ve got these magic beans I’d like to sell you.