Playoff Picture | The Race Tightens
It's that time of year, the time where your eyes can't help but turn to the scoreboard every weekend. As Orlando City head into the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race, we'll keep you posted on how the fight for the postseason is shaping up and which games to watch every week.
Anything can happen in Major League Soccer, but right now, five of the seven spots in the East seem likely to belong to the Philadelphia Union, Atlanta United, New York City FC, DC United, and the New York Red Bulls, all of whom are at least four points above the red line. DC and RBNY are the closest to falling into the chasing pack at 39 and 38 points respectively, and they will be added to this column if they do fall into the danger area.
There appear to be five teams in play for the final two spots: New England, Montreal, Orlando, Toronto, and Chicago.
New England Revolution (9-9-8, 35 pts in 26 games)
LAST WEEK: D 1-1 at New York Red Bulls
THIS WEEK: vs. Chicago Fire - Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA - Saturday, 7:30p
The Revs went down early in New Jersey on a Marc Rzatkowski goal, but battled back to equalize through new signing Gustavo Bou in the 65th minute to head back to Boston with a road point. New England are a point ahead of the red line with a game in hand and have an opportunity to add to their tally with a home game against a suddenly resurgent Chicago side. The Revs have just one loss in their last 14 MLS games since firing Brad Friedel on May 9.
Montreal Impact (10-13-4, 34 pts in 27 games)
LAST WEEK: D 3-3 vs. FC Dallas
THIS WEEK: at Toronto FC - BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario, Can. - Saturday, 7:30p
Montreal endured an epic collapse on Saturday night, blowing a 3-0 halftime lead (and a 3-1 lead in the 85th minute) to draw 3-3 against FC Dallas. Had the Impact held on, they would have gone into sixth place. As it stands, they remain above the red line on the wins tiebreaker, but they have just one win in their last eight in the league and face yet more injury uncertainty with franchise cornerstone Ignacio Piatti. Montreal have a huge Canadian derby against Toronto this weekend, with the Canadian Championship final against the Reds looming next month as well.
Orlando City (9-11-7, 34 pts in 27 games)
LAST WEEK: D 1-1 at Minnesota United
THIS WEEK: vs. Atlanta United - Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL - Friday, 8p
The Lions lost what would have been a massive three points after Abu Danladi's heartbreaking equalizer in the 92nd minute on Saturday night, but they acquitted themselves well and still came home with a valuable away point against the second-place team in the West. Orlando now face Atlanta United in a nationally-televised Friday night Rivalry Week contest, with a chance to snap a five-game skid against the Five Stripes and guarantee themselves ground gained against at least two of their rivals for the last two playoff spots. Orlando have every reason to be confident- the Lions are unbeaten in four in the league, their longest such stretch of the season.
Toronto FC (9-10-7, 34 pts in 26 games)
LAST WEEK: D 2-2 at Columbus Crew
THIS WEEK: vs. Montreal Impact - BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario, Can. - Saturday, 7:30p
Toronto avoided what would have been a disastrous loss in central Ohio on Saturday night with a Jozy Altidore 90th minute goal, but a point against the East's 11th place side keeps the Reds below the red line for the moment. Toronto still have a game in hand and tons of talent on their roster, but the fixture list is very congested going forward. A huge game with Montreal at home looms on Saturday- it's one of just three remaining home games for Toronto this season. The Reds will want all three against the reeling Impact.
Chicago Fire (8-11-9, 33 pts in 28 games)
LAST WEEK: W 2-0 vs. Philadelphia Union
THIS WEEK: at New England - Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA - Saturday, 7:30p
Chicago had the best weekend of any team in the East, defeating Philadelphia 2-0 at home while the four sides in front of them all drew. Nemanja Nikolic has finally rediscovered his form for the Fire, scoring five goals in his past four games, including a brace on Saturday. Chicago have games remaining against New England, Toronto, and Orlando, beginning with a trip to Foxborough to take on the Revs this weekend. A draw would not be a world-ender, but a win could change the trajectory of their season.
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Major League Soccer Stories from August 19, 2019
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- FC Cincinnati Weekly Update: August 19, 2019 - FC Cincinnati
- Playoff Picture | City in the Mix - Orlando City SC
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- Atlanta United Beats Portland, Moves to Top of Eastern Conference - Atlanta United FC
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