Tesho Akindele scored in the 21st minute, and Orlando City remained unbeaten over its last three games by holding on for a 1-0 victory on Wednesday against visiting Sporting Kansas City.
Orlando City (9-11-6) has also earned at least one point in six of its past eight MLS games. The Lions' 33 points are tied for seventh most in the Eastern Conference, even with the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC.
The MLS playoff field was expanded to seven teams from each conference, up from six teams last season.
The defeat was yet another blow for Sporting KC (7-11-7, 28 points), which is toward the bottom of the Western Conference standings. The team lost its second consecutive game, has dropped four of its last five contests and is in danger of ending its run of eight consecutive playoff appearances.
The lone goal of the game came on a blistering right-footed shot from Akindele. Carlos Ascues rolled a centering feed near the penalty spot, and Akindele arrived from the left side to rip a shot past Sporting K.C. goalkeeper Tim Melia for his team-leading ninth goal of the season.
Orlando City forward Dom Dwyer took three shots in 74 minutes, but he still has not scored a goal in two career games against SKC, his team from 2012-17. Lions goalkeeper Brian Rowe made three saves in his seventh shutout of the season, two off his career best set with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2016.
Orlando City lost defender Kyle Smith in the 12th minute after his collision with Melia left him with a deep laceration above his right eye.
Sporting K.C. now has nine games remaining to collect the points it needs to become playoff-eligible. The team's next three games all are at home with contests against San Jose, Minnesota United FC and Houston. Only two of SKC's final six games are at home.
Orlando City has eight matches remaining, four at home, with the final three games against Houston, FC Cincinnati and Chicago, which are currently not in playoff position.