Things didn’t exactly go Orlando’s way on Wednesday night, with City falling 3-2 in Columbus despite a late surge and several other contenders winning their games, including Atlanta United, New York City FC and D.C. United. But thanks to the points they’ve banked throughout the season, the Lions are still well in control of their own destiny to reach the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. In fact they can do so this weekend under the following scenarios:

Orlando City wins vs. Nashville SC AND

D.C. United loses or draws vs. Columbus Crew AND

New York Red Bulls vs. CF Montréal does not end in a draw


Orlando City wins vs. Nashville SC AND

D.C. United loses or draws vs. Columbus Crew AND

New York Red Bulls draws with CF Montréal AND

Atlanta United loses vs. Toronto FC

And here are the standings going into Orlando City’s final regular-season home game:

2. Nashville SC - 52 pts, 12 wins, +22 GD

3. Philadelphia Union - 50 pts, 13 wins, +11 GD

4. New York City FC - 47 pts, 13 wins, +18 GD


5. Orlando City - 47 pts, 12 wins, 0 GD

6. Atlanta United - 46 pts, 12 wins, +7 GD (game in hand)

7. D.C. United - 44 pts, 13 wins, +2 GD


8. New York Red Bulls - 43 pts, 12 wins, +5 GD (game in hand)

9. CF Montréal - 43 pts, 11 wins, +3 GD (game in hand)

10. Columbus Crew - 41 pts, 11 wins, -3 GD

As you can see, teams are starting to nip at Orlando’s heels, but the Club remains in strong position for a playoff berth. While beating Nashville is by far the best thing City could do to bolster its hopes, here are some other games worth keeping an eye on:

Inter Miami CF (38 pts, 11th) vs. New York City FC (47 pts, 4th)

Saturday 10/30, 1:30 p.m.

Miami is, in the most technical sense possible, mathematically alive for a playoff berth, but its scenario requires (in addition to winning out) something like eight different games all going its way and Miami making up 18 goals on D.C. United in a week. So, probably not happening. 

But Orlando fans once again find themselves in the position of rooting for our friends in Fort Lauderdale. After not getting the job done midweek against Atlanta United, the Herons have another chance against NYCFC, who snuck past Chicago Fire FC 1-0 and moved ahead of Orlando City and into the top four on a tiebreaker. It was yet another win at Yankee Stadium for the Pigeons, but they’re a meager 3-8-5 on the road this year.

New York Red Bulls (43 pts, 8th) vs. CF Montréal (43 pts, 9th)

Saturday 10/30, 4 p.m.

This is a big one, but not in the sense that Orlando badly needs one team to win. Rather, the result here will shape the picture going forward. You’d probably slightly prefer Montréal in a vacuum, considering Orlando gets to play them next weekend and will have direct control over passing them in the table no matter what, but the desired result here mostly depends on what Orlando City does.

If the Lions win against Nashville, this game probably needs to have a winner for Orlando to wrap up a playoff spot on Sunday considering Atlanta has a favorable matchup at home to Toronto. But if the Lions lose or draw, then a draw is the preferred outcome to this one. Of course, this game happens 24 hours before Orlando vs. Nashville, so we won’t know until later what we wanted. Such is life.

Atlanta United (46 pts, 6th) vs. Toronto FC (27 pts, 13th)

Saturday 10/30, 6 p.m.

Speaking of Atlanta, the Five Stripes continued their recent run on Wednesday, coming from behind and knocking off Miami to move within a point of Orlando in the table. The schedule is kind to Atlanta the rest of the way, with bottom-dwellers Toronto and FC Cincinnati sandwiching a midweek contest with the Red Bulls next Wednesday.

D.C. United (44 pts, 7th) vs. Columbus Crew (41 pts, 10th)

Saturday 10/30, 7:30 p.m.

This game is probably the most important one to watch for Orlando City fans with regards to their playoff hopes. The Lions cannot win any tiebreaker scenario with D.C. United, but they can put themselves past the Black and Red permanently if they end the weekend four points or more ahead of them. For that to happen, the Crew need to at least take a point here. We just saw Lucas Zelarayán carry Columbus to a victory over Orlando City on Wednesday night and the Crew will need him to continue coming up big to keep their championship defense alive. A draw or a Columbus win both work just fine here.

Philadelphia Union (50 pts, 3rd) vs. FC Cincinnati (20 pts, 14th)

Sunday 10/31, 7:30 p.m.

Philadelphia can clinch a playoff berth with a victory or a draw in this one, and the matchup is agreeable to say the least – Cincinnati has clinched a third straight last-place finish in the league table and has equaled 2005 Real Salt Lake’s post-shootout era record with 10 straight losses. There are also several scenarios where the Union can clinch a home game with a win, and they’ll want the advantage Subaru Park provides, as they hold a 19-3-3 record there over the past two seasons.

In the Hunt Rooting Guide for Week 33

MIAvNYC: Miami win

RBNYvMTL: Either winner if ORL wins, draw if ORL loses or draws

ATLvTOR: Toronto win

DCvCLB: draw or Columbus win

PHIvCIN: Cincinnati win