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View from the End Line: June Predictions

What does the schedule hold for the Lions?

MLS: LA Galaxy at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

June is almost upon us, and the temperatures are definitely rising. In the past many seasons, this is about the time that summer sets in, which means the Lions go through the next two to three months with little to no luck at all. This year’s squad certainly seems poised to break that trend. As a fan looking in from the outside, the boys look right on the edge of greatness, you can see it on the pitch. The issue currently is getting the damn ball in the net. Will June be the month that rights the ship, or will the trend continue? Let’s peer deep into the crystal ball and have a look.

June 1 at Montreal Impact

It has been two and half months since Orlando faced off against its Eastern Conference foes from the Great White North. Since that ill-fated 3-1 match, Montreal has remained above the red line, sitting fourth in the East at the time of this writing, but with most teams below the Impact holding games in hand. With players like Ignacio Piatti (who loves to score against the Lions), Maximilliano Urruti, Orji Okwonkwo, and Samuel Piette, the Lions defense will need to be ready. The positive leading up to this match for Orlando City is that the Lions will be on eight days rest, versus Montreal, which will be on short rest after a midweek match at home against Real Salt Lake. Montreal’s recent form has not been good, and this could open the door for the Lions.

Recent Head-to-Head: The Lions are still trying to find the correct footing from which to stand in battling the Impact. The last two seasons have not been kind, with Montreal staying undefeated in its matches with Orlando.

Prediction: With eight days to plan and practice, I think someone finally wakes up and starts scoring. 2-2 Draw.

June 26 at D.C. United

Another Eastern Conference foe, and another season home-and-away series will come to a finale. Just two weeks after the first Montreal match, D.C. United came to town and defeated the Lions, 2-1. The Lions’ set piece defense was lacking, allowing Wayne Rooney two dangerous free kicks that ended up as goals. D.C. currently leads the East on 25 points. Each club will have 25 days to prepare, taking full advantage of the international break. It will also be a big test for a City roster that might be missing some key names for some time due to international duty.

D.C. will certainly still have at least one big name on the pitch, and the Lions must find a way to defend set pieces or I am afraid D.C. will strike again.

Recent Head-to-Head: The last four matches between these clubs have seen United win the last two and the previous two were draws (one in U.S. Open Cup) since Orlando last won in the series back on Sept. 9, 2017. These matches are also rarely shutouts (at least since the end of 2016).

Prediction: 3-2 D.C. United in a close match that goes back and forth.

June 29 at Columbus Crew

Three days after the D.C. match, with the club likely staying up north, the Lions have their third away match in a row when they visit Columbus Crew. This will be the first meeting this season, and one without Justin Meram, who was traded to Atlanta United. There are still plenty of players to watch, as Gyasi Zardes, David Accam, Robinho, and Federico Higuain will be looking to help right the ship. The Crew are having a tough season as well, currently one point ahead of the Lions in the standings with Orlando owning a game in hand. The Crew also have a worse goal differential. It will be interesting to see who is available for both clubs and how those players get divided up between the matches as both squads have short weeks, even though Orlando drew the short straw as Columbus’ matches are both at home.

Recent Head-to-Head: The past two seasons have seen five total meetings between these clubs in the regular season. Columbus holds the edge 3-1-1 in those matches. Last season saw the teams split the two matches played, with the home team winning each time.

Prediction: 2-2 Draw in Columbus.

Only three matches, and a pocket full of frequent flier miles for the club this June. The international break should be a good time to recover from massive minutes for some of the players, but then the short week comes, and the club will likely still be missing some key players and really testing the depth of the bench. The issue even bleeds into July as the last two matches in June are the first two of a four-in-14 stretch.

The Lions pull two points in June by my predictive prowess. What are your thoughts?