Orlando City SC and Columbus Crew SC are hoping to lock up a top-four spot in the Eastern Conference and the home game in the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs that comes with it Wednesday night at Exploria Stadium.
Playoff Seeding Scenario
Orlando City SC (10-3-8, 38 pts.) has won back-to-back games, including a 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact at Red Bull Arena Sunday. They are level with Columbus at 1.81 points per game, but are in fourth on the most wins tiebreaker.
The Crew (11-5-5, 38 pts.) put the Philadelphia Union's Supporters' Shield celebration on hold following a 2-1 win at MAPFRE Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Each team has two matches remaining, including Wednesday's match. A win for Columbus would, at minimum, secure a third-place seeding for the Crew, as Orlando could finish the season tied on points and points per game average, but Orlando would still remain behind on the most wins tiebreaker.
Orlando City SC
Daryl Dike's sixth goal of the season, and third in as many games, held up as the lone goal as the Lions defeated struggling Montreal 1-0 at Red Bull Arena Sunday night. The victory moved Orlando a step closer to locking down a critical home playoff game and head into penultimate game of the season having lost just once in their last 15 games.
“As always, proud of the players. Tonight it was a game that was probably missing some precision in the boxes offensively, but in the bright moment Mauro [Pereyra] came and put that beautiful ball to Daryl [Dike] and then we found the goal," Oscar Pareja said after the match.
"The other thing that I like is we learned how to win these types of games tonight. We were obviously closer to score more goals in the second half, but they had one chance as well where Pedro [Gallese] kept us in the game. Overall, I like it. The discipline was there. I think we were great today and we had today the personality to get the three points that we needed.”
Columbus Crew SC
Room made sure the result held up, denying Kacper Przybylko and Jack Elliott with a pair of spectacular saves late. It was an important result for a Columbus side that entered the marquee matchup with one win in their last seven games.
"Playing a team that was at the top of the table who wanted to come in here and be able to celebrate [winning] a Supporters’ Shield, we didn’t want to let that happen," Caleb Porter said after the match. "The guys were not going to let that happen here on our home field. It’s great to get back to looking like us."
Columbus is still looking for its first regular-season road win, but if Sunday's victory is an inclination, the Crew is returning to form at the right time. Midfielders Lucas Zelarayan and Darlington Nagbe featured in the Starting XI together for the first time since Sept. 2 as Columbus turned out its second victory of the year against Philadelphia.
Comparing the two sides, both Columbus and Orlando stand relatively level in each major statistical category, though Columbus's co-League-high nine clean sheets extends far beyond Orlando's four.
In goals scored, Orlando leads 36 to 33, while Columbus's 182 chances created stands ahead of Orlando's 174.
Notably, Orlando's 20.57-percent shot conversion rate is second-best in MLS, while the Crew remains only a few spots back in sixth with a rate of 18.13 percent.
Wednesday's match is the only regular-season meeting between the two sides, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports Ohio.