After falling at home last week at the hands of the Vancouver Whitecaps, Columbus Crew SC looks to bounce back as it heads down south to the Sunshine State for a meeting with Orlando City SC.
Three Things to Know: Orlando City SC
The Black & Gold currently sit just eight points back of the red line and the final spot in the playoffs with eight games to play — all against the Eastern Conference. With this type of opportunity presenting itself, midfielder Ethan Finlay says Crew SC is aware of the significance of Saturday’s clash with the Lions.
“We are trying to put our best squad out there come Saturday, and its going to have to be one of our best performances of the year,” Finlay said. “They are a direct competitor, they are right in front of us obviously in a playoff spot — and if we want to have any hope over the next couple months here, its really a must-win game and its not an easy place to play.
“We’re familiar with it from last year, they kind of gave us a little bit of a beating there, but we need to play like it could be our last game.”
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Orlando City SC presently holds the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by one point, and has gone unbeaten in its last five matches against this side of the League.
But as Jason Kreis’ club grips firmly to this final position in the table and sees November soccer on the horizon, Black & Gold midfielder Mohammed Saied says there is much more at stake for the Lions.
“They’ll be playing for results, they are going to look at the game against us as maybe to draw or to win as opposed to losing it,” Saied says. “We still have a chance, we are not out, it’s just more difficult now, but we are playing against the guys that are directly above us and that’s a good thing”
“So if we try to or if we win all the games, we just got to rely on other teams to get results to against them and that will give us a playoff position; but we just got to take one game at a time, and can’t look forward to much.”
The push for the postseason will truly begin this week in Major League Soccer, as a full slate of Eastern Conference clashes are on tap for the weekend — including four inter-conference matchups. And with a third straight playoff berth still on the line for Columbus, Finlay emphasizes that Crew SC must be strong down the stretch of the season, starting Saturday in Orlando.
“I think that the mindset we have to have is this is the only game that we can control and they’re all games that really matter for us,” Finlay says. “I think we’re upset about losing points last week, there’s no hiding that, but now we put ourselves in a little deeper of a situation where we have to go get it and Orlando is the first test.
"And if we can pass the first test we can move on to test number two; But first and foremost, it has to be three points.”
Kickoff from Camping World Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m. Tune in by watching The CW Columbus, Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and BCSN2, as well as audio streams available on CD102.5 FM, La Mega 103.1 FM and ColumbusCrewSC.com