New York City FC aim to clinch a playoff berth on Sunday afternoon when they host Orlando City SC at Harrison, N.J.
NYCFC (14-11-7, 49 points), who entered the weekend in fourth place in the Eastern Conference table, can punch their ticket to the postseason with a win or a draw against Orlando City (13-12-6, 45 points).
NYCFC are coming off a 2-0 win against the New York Red Bulls on Sept. 17, a triumph that snapped a five-match winless stretch (0-4-1) that included a 2-1 loss to Orlando City on Aug. 28. New York City could get a boost to the lineup as Anton Tinnerholm, Alfredo Morales and Heber returned to training during the international break.
"Having the full team back gives us an opportunity to get back on track with where we were," NYCFC interim coach Nick Cushing said. "It's the first time we've had the opportunity to work the way I've wanted to work."
Heber is tied with midfielder Gabriel Pereira for the active team lead in goals with seven. The goals have been hard to come by of late for Heber, who has just one goal in his past 10 matches.
The Lions, meanwhile, head into the weekend in sixth place, tied in points with Inter Miami. Orlando City SC are three points above the playoff line with three games to play to close out the campaign.
They'll need a victory against NYCFC and a Columbus loss to the New York Red Bulls to punch their ticket to the playoffs for the third straight year.
Orlando City SC posted a 4-0 win against Toronto FC on Sept. 17, with designated player Ercan Kara notching his team-leading 10th goal of the season. In reaching the mark, the club has had a double-digit goal-scorer in each of its eight MLS seasons -- the only side in league history to do so.
Despite the milestone, Kara wants more.
"I think it's OK. It's a season where I scored the least amount of goals," he said. "I never scored 10 goals, I always scored more. But this happens, it's a different country for me. It's a different life for me, it's not easy, but I adapted well with my family and my wife and I'm happy here."
--Field Level Media