WHAT TO WATCH: #ORLvCLB

The Black & Gold travel to the Sunshine State to face Orlando City SC for one of their final meetings in the 2017 regular season this Sunday with a special 5 p.m. ET kickoff.

 

Here are some storylines to keep an eye on:

Purple Pain

Orlando City SC was officially eliminated from playoff contention after the Lions split the points with FC Dallas, and the New York Red Bulls secured the last spot above the redline. Although their chances at a postseason were slim, hope was revived after they delivered a 6-1 beating to the New England Revolution on September 27. They will enter Sunday’s match with nothing to lose.

Columbus returns to the postseason for the third time in four seasons under Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter.

With two regular-season contests remaining, Crew SC is assured of finishing no lower than sixth place in the Eastern Conference by virtue of its win against D.C. United at MAPFRE Stadium on September 30. The win against D.C. United was the Black & Gold’s 12th regular-season home victory of 2017, setting a new club record for most regular-season wins at home.

Final postseason seeding will be determined in the coming weeks as the Black & Gold (15-12-5, 50 points) conclude the regular season along with all other MLS clubs.

Lion King

Kaka has proven himself to be one of MLS’s elite, having scored 24 goals and 22 assists in 74 MLS regular season appearances, including six goals and five assists in 22 regular season games this year. 

After being sidelined by injury for a large chunk of the 2017 regular season, the Orlando City midfielder found the back of the net for the first time in nearly two months in the Lions’ 6-1 win over the New England Revolution last week. His blast to the top corner earned him AT&T MLS Goal of the Week for Week 30. However, he barely won the award over Crew SC’s Justin Meram, who trailed by just one percentage point.

Take a Seed

After clinching a playoff berth following their 2-0 victory against D.C. United in Week 30, this match will be all about seeding. Crew SC is in a battle with Atlanta United and Chicago Fire to see who will secure their spot to host the first round of playoffs. With 50 points, the Black & Gold are currently in fifth place in the East and in their best form of the season. Crew SC are now unbeaten in their last eight games. If they are able to pass Chicago, who sit in fourth place with 53 points, the Black & Gold will host the Knockout Round matchup in sweet home Columbus.

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