The fate of the Columbus Crew’s postseason dreams comes down to Sunday afternoon in Orlando, as the Black & Gold can either clinch their spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs or miss the postseason altogether.
Massive moments come from high-stakes matchups, and the pressure couldn’t be any higher for a regular season game.
Three Things to Know
1 – While there’s plenty of suspense approaching MLS Decision Day, the Crew’s scenario is quite simple. All the Columbus needs is a single point on Sunday afternoon. Because the Crew maintains the coveted seventh seed in the Eastern Conference and Orlando sits eighth, the only way for City to leapfrog Columbus would be if the visitors are unable to secure three points at Exploria Stadium. That means all the Black & Gold need is a positive result to earn the opportunity to potentially win a second MLS Cup in three seasons.
4 – Of course, Orlando is certainly aware this is a must-win game for the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup winners to advance to the MLS postseason. The team’s recent form favors the Crew, though, as Orlando has lost four of its last five games. The lone win was Sept. 17, a 4-0 win against Toronto FC. That was also the last time City played at home, and the club has beaten the Crew on four-straight occasions when they meet at Exploria Stadium.
5-8 – There’s no point dwelling on what a Crew loss would mean because the season would end and the team would finish eighth. But if Columbus wins or draws, we won’t know the club’s exact MLS Cup Playoff seeding until after the full-time whistle. Theoretically, the Black & Gold can finish as high as fifth if both Inter Miami CF and FC Cincinnati lose on Sunday. Once the final standings are cemented, the first round of the postseason will pair the following seeds: No. 2 vs. No. 7, No. 3 vs. No. 6, No. 4 vs. No. 5 (and No. 1 has a bye). If the standings remain the same as they are now, the Crew would play at CF Montréal in the first round.
When They Last Met
The Columbus Crew lost, 2-0, to Orlando on April 16 at Lower.com Field.
Who: Columbus Crew at Orlando City SC
When: Sunday, Oct. 9 at 2:30 p.m.
Where: Exploria Stadium
How to Watch: FS1, FOX Deportes
How to Listen: 1460 ESPN Columbus, ColumbusCrew.com (Spanish)
Current Standings: Columbus Crew – Seventh in Eastern Conference; Orlando City SC – Eighth in Eastern Conference
COURTESY COLUMBUS CREW COMMUNICATIONS