It was make a break time for Orlando City's chances in the eMLS Cup on Friday, and Lions gamer Abraham Valbuena came through.
In the talented Eastern Conference, it was a battle for the top 8 slots, and after finishing 8th after day 1, there was some work to do.
Abe starting off the morning strong, taking 6 points in his two double headers against Philadelphia and Columbus. He then swept the two game series against Chicago to put himself just one point away form securing a playoff position with four matches to play.
A later draw would secure Orlando City's spot in Saturday playoffs, but the fight was still on for the 7th seed in the conference. At the end of the day, Orlando City and the New York Red Bulls found themselves tied for 7th place, with the Red Bulls taking the spot due to their advantage in head-to-head play.
Abe Valbuena will take on Chris Holly in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs in PAX Arena on Saturday. The playoffs kickoff at 1pm ET and can be streamed LIVE on Twitch here.
We asked Abe 5 questions about the big day.
Q: You picked up four wins today. What key adjustments did you make from yesterday?
Abe: Biggest adjustment was slowing down the gameplay. I rushed it a little too much yesterday which cost me. After I slowed things down, I got my rhythm back.
Q: You had one best defenses in the league after the first two days. What do you focus on to keep balls out of the back of the net?
Abe: Staying focused. Switching to the right players at the right time to cut passing lanes and block shots. And never make a tackle unless you know you’re going to gain possession back.
Q: You scored a goal from mid-field today (Video above). Was that better than Zlatan's goal last week?
Abe: Zlatan’s goal was incredible. But there’s only room for one lion in the highlights. I think mine took the cake.
Q: Looking forward to facing Chris of NYCFC tomorrow in the playoffs. What will be key in this matchup for you?
Abe: Gotta cut down on mistakes. Chris is a punisher.
Q: There has been a lot of support for you via social media. Has that helped you this week?
Abe: The support has certainly helped me and motivated me to do better. After the first day, I was really hard on myself. but after seeing the fans encourage me, I felt better about myself and knew I still had a chance if I performed well. This is why I’m proud to be a part of Orlando City SC. We have the best fans in the world!