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CF Montreal, Orlando City meet with playoffs on line

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Win and you’re in. That’s what’s at stake for CF Montreal when they play host to Orlando City SC in a regular-season finale on Sunday afternoon.

CF Montreal (12-11-10, 46 points) are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, just below the playoff line. A victory would move the club one point ahead of sixth-place Orlando City (12-9-12, 48 points) and guarantee a finish no worse than the seventh and final playoff spot, held by the New York Red Bulls heading into Decision Day.

“We need to be prepared to start the game like we did against Houston,” CF Montreal assistant coach Laurent Ciman said. “It’s a playoff game without actually being one.”

CF Montreal, who defeated Houston 2-0 on Wednesday, did qualify for the expanded MLS Cup playoffs in 2020, however the trip was short-lived as the club was knocked out in the play-in round. Montreal hasn’t had a true trip to the postseason since 2016, when the club made it all the way to the Eastern Conference final.

While a win or a draw would clinch a spot for Orlando City, the club could still make it in with a defeat provided Nashville SC bests the New York Red Bulls.

Orlando City head into the match having had all week to stew on a controversial ending to their last contest, a 1-1 draw against Nashville on Sunday. The club appeared to score a go-ahead goal late in second-half stoppage time but it was negated after review due to a foul by Daryl Dike.

“The boys have been talking all day, all week about this one game,” Orlando City coach Oscar Pareja said. “The past is the past and then the preparation has been focused on just doing the right things and the things that the game demands from us.”

Orlando City are 0-1-3 in their past four games, with one of those draws coming against Montreal on Oct. 20. Montreal won the other previous meeting between the two sides, a 4-2 decision on Sept. 15.

–Field Level Media

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