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View from the End Line: July Predictions

Looking forward to the mass chaos that is July.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Columbus Crew SC Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

July is going to be brutal, no matter how you look it. Between U.S. Open Cup play and MLS regular-season matches, the Lions have their plates full. June proved to be fairly easy to peer into the crystal ball and attempt to divine the future, being that there were only three matches (five if you count the Cup matches).

July is a whole separate beast, and the further you look into it, the more complex it becomes. Without further ado, let’s just dive right in and do our best to guess what July holds for the Lions

July 3 vs.Philadelphia Union and July 6 at Philadelphia Union

I just want to point out that the timing of this and the next match make absolutely no effing sense. I would certainly hope that someone within the MLS scheduling group could justify scheduling to play a conference rival in a home-and-away series over four days. Chances are, it will be blamed on the computer algorithm. Regardless, the Lions will begin July matching up against current Eastern Conference-leading Union.

Recent Head to Head: in 2018, the clubs matched up twice in league play, with a draw in Orlando and the Lions winning in Philly. The Union also won at home in a U.S. Open Cup match.

Prediction: As much as I want to say the Lions do well on the road, the crystal ball is convincing me to be much more pragmatic. I see this head-to-head as each home club capitalizing, so the Lions lose in Philly, but gain three points at home. I see both matches being very close, almost to the point of seeing the resurrection of the Cardiac Cats.

July 10 vs. New York City FC (U.S. Open Cup)

Orlando should be looking to go out strong against the Pigeons and make it farther than ever before in this competition. NYCFC, which currently sits sixth in the East, will be a very challenging Cup opponent. The Pigeons still only have one loss this season in MLS play.

Recent Head to Head: The last two meetings have ended in draws, and the the three prior to that all saw three points going to the team from up north.

Prediction: In a tough match, OCSC 2:1 over the boys in blue.

July 13 vs. Columbus Crew

Next to Atlanta United, possibly the one team that I want to see the boys beat more than any other. There is a bit of history between these two clubs, and none of it is forgotten very easily. Look for a very scrappy match, and possibly a good bit of squad rotation.

Recent Head to Head: Again, although not nearly as insane as the Philly scheduling, the Lions will have just played the Crew at the end of June (last night’s 2-0 win by the Lions). The clubs split the points last season, with each home team victorious, and 2017 saw the Crew win two and the clubs draw one.

Prediction: 3-2 OCSC.

July 18 at Portland Timbers

Portland is such an MLS town, and a food town, and a coffee town, and a beer town. The short time frame between matches will get highlighted by having to travel to PTX, one of the furthest trips for the club, and not having many direct and easy options. Portland has struggled a bit this season, sitting last in the West, but current run of form shows the Timbers trying hard to make a turnaround.

Recent Head to Head: The home team has been the most successful in this match-up, but Orlando was able to walk away with three points while visiting PDX in 2015.

Prediction: 2-1 OCSC.

July 21 vs. New York Red Bulls

This will be the second meeting between these clubs this season, with the first seeing OCSC walk out of Red Bull Arena with three points. The Red Bulls, fourth in the East at the time of this writing, had a rough start to the season, but have certainly turned their fortunes around. The Lions will need to capitalize on being at home and push for three against last season’s Supporters’ Shield champions to keep any playoff hopes alive.

Recent Head to Head: The first match between them went to Orlando, but the last five MLS regular-season matches went to the home club.

Prediction: 3-2 OCSC in rather dramatic fashion.

July 27 at New England Revolution

This will be the first meeting of these clubs in regular season play, but not in 2019. The Lions had to beat the Revs to advance in the U.S. Open Cup tournament in mid-June. The Revs are still trying to settle into a new coach, Bruce Arena, and right the ship that was slowly sinking. Both clubs have had some issues to overcome, and I would imagine that both would be settled by the time this match rolls around. It will be critical to collect points for both squads at this point.

Recent Head to Head: I already mentioned the USOC match, but the previous meetings have been nothing short of goal fests. rarely does this match-up see a shutout, so expect some goals to be scored.

Prediction: 3-1 OCSC.

I have traveled too much, not slept enough, and probably have not given the crystal ball the attention it deserves. I have been trying really hard this season to be realistic and not overly optimistic, but this brutal stretch has me thinking good things will happen. What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.