Orlando City look to keep the momentum going into the playoffs when they visit Toronto FC on MLS Decision Day on Saturday.
The Lions (17-7-9, 60 points) already have secured second place in the Eastern Conference, as well as the most points and wins of their nine MLS seasons.
Orlando City coach Oscar Pareja may opt to rest some starters Saturday to keep everyone fresh for the MLS Cup playoffs. However, after a two-week international break, Pareja could give his regulars playing time so as to not disrupt the team’s recent form.
The Lions are on a three-match winning streak and are 8-1-2 in their past 10 league matches.
“At practice, we’ve been demanding more and more of each other as the day goes on,” forward Duncan McGuire said after the Lions’ latest match, a 3-2 win over the New England Revolution on Oct. 7.
“We’ve seen what we can do in games, and we can score a lot of goals,” he said. “We made that the standard, and we’ve been holding each other to high standards every week. I think that’s what’s been carrying us through in making us successful.”
New Toronto FC coach John Herdman will make his official debut on the sideline as the team concludes a disastrous season. Toronto (4-19-10, 22 points) is assured of the worst record in MLS, and a loss Saturday would establish a club record for fewest points in a season.
Toronto is on a six-match losing streak and is 1-14-0 in the past 15 MLS matches.
Saturday will mark the end of Michael Bradley’s outstanding career. The veteran midfielder and longtime Toronto captain announced this week that he is retiring after 19 professional seasons, including the past decade with Toronto FC.
“For the last 10 years I have spilled my blood, sweat and tears trying to help this club be the best it could be,” Bradley said. “There were some incredible days — moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life — and some bad ones, too. But I never stopped giving everything I had. … This city and this club will always be home.”