Orlando can be a playoff team. They can be one of MLS’ glamour franchises. The infrastructure, support, and talent are there. Don’t let Orlando City get on a roll, because with the nature of how they play, once they start winning, they’ll be tough to stop.
3. DC United Isn’t Built For The Playoffs
DC took their worst result of the season on Sunday night, a 1-0 stoppage time loss to the hopeless Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. The problem was more that the result wasn’t too surprising – DC rarely plays anyone off the field, and you can’t grind out every result.
This doesn’t bode well for the postseason when talent and skill rules. Last year, United were seeded No. 1 in the East, and lost handily in the first round to a fairly average New York Red Bulls team that simply possessed better attacking players and didn’t have to work so hard for their goals.
Fabian Espindola is DC’s elite attacking player, and that says a lot – he was deemed expendable by that Red Bulls team that knocked DC out last year. When Espindola’s not on the field – and he hasn’t been on the field much this season – DC struggles.
When they’re on, United plays hard, leans on their defense, and wins sloppy. That will get you a playoff spot. It won’t get you anywhere in the postseason.
4. Real Salt Lake Thrashed
More surprising than Orlando’s demolition of LA this weekend was Montreal shellacking Real Salt Lake 4-1 in front of a Stade Saputo crowd that would make a full middle school auditorium blush.
Salt Lake’s record isn’t great, but it continues to be their total lack of gumption on the field that is more alarming. Jeff Cassar has scraped the 4-3-3 – predictable – but hasn’t quite returned to the diamond, instead opting for more of a 4-1-3-2 with plenty of pressure on Kyle Beckerman to protect a defense that is missing the steady presence of Nat Borchers and Chris Wingert.
RSL don’t pass the eye test. They’re slow to develop their attacks, and no longer grind teams down with pressure through possession. When Javier Morales returns things will get better, but it might take a summer signing – Yura Movsisyan anyone? – to make a playoff push.
Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen isn’t well liked, and it’s completely unknown how he’ll react to losing for the first time. Cassar’s job doesn’t appear to be jeopardy, but it’s a slippery slope for RSL right now.