The Eastern conference is very competitive. Eight of the ten teams are fighting for playoff spots. The Union are sitting comfortably in the top four. Some good results on a tough road trip could propel them to the top two, and a first round bye! The Eastern Conference playoff race is in full swing. Here’s where the eight playoff contending teams stand!
New England Revolution: 8th place. 33 points. Five games left.
The Revolution are on the outside looking in with five games left to play. They are only one point away from the sixth and final playoff spot, but their remaining games will be difficult. Coming off of a US Open Cup final defeat to Dallas, the Revolution play two straight away matches. The first is a trip to Montreal. This trip comes four days after they traveled to Dallas for the Open Cup. The second trip is to struggling Columbus. That match will be tough, as the undertones of Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain still linger over the two clubs.
The Revolution then go home, away and home to end the year. A home game against Sporting Kansas City will prove to be a task. Kansas City is in fifth in the west, and need to do well to hold their place. New England’s last away match is at Chicago who have only lost three times at home this year! They then finish the year versus Montreal, this game could be make or break for both teams. NewEngland’s outlook looks bleak.
New England are still in playoff contention, but they have to play teams that are better than them. They don’t have any more consecutive home games, which is daunting. However, if they could get good results like they did last weekend against NYCFC, then they could wind up above the red line!
Orlando City SC: 7th place. 34 points. Six games left.
Orlando has six games left, and they’re all against Eastern Conference teams. Orlando are tied with DC United, who holds the sixth and final spot, on points, but need a win against Columbus to move ahead. After this week it, they will only play teams above the red line.
OCSC plays at DC, at Toronto, vs Montreal, at Philly, and vs DC in their last five games. Orlando has been inconsistant in 2016. At one point they look good, and other times they look like scrubs. The Lions have gotten good results against Toronto, Montreal, and Philly this year. They will need to look better than good versus their two matches with DC United.
Orlando plays DC United twice in their remaining six games, including the final game of the season for both teams. These games will be hard hitting games that feel like playoff games before the playoff starts. It most likely that, whoever gets the better out of those two games, will get the sixth and final playoff spot in the East.
DC United: 6th place. 34 points. Five games left.
DC United retooled their team in July. Bringing in Lloyd Sam, Patrick Nyarko and Patrick Mullins have made DC’s attack a very good one. They have five games left and they’re all Eastern Confernece match ups.
Tough match ups against versus Columbus, at Toronto, and versus NYCFC will test the newly high powered DC United offense. If they can get good results at home then they will be in a good position to focus on Orlando City!
DC plays Orlando twice, and since DC has the tie breaker over Orlando right now, a tie or win in both games would be enough to give DC the playoff spot. If they want to move up in the standings they’ll need to win those games, but they have the upper hand in the head to head match ups with Orlando.
Montreal Impact: 5th place. 38 points. Six games left.
In their last six games, Montreal alternates home/away matches every week. Five of their last six games are against Eastern Confernece playoff teams. Montreal will have to deal with a lot of travel, but are four points ahead of both Orlando and DC United.
The Impact’s tie in Philadelphia last weekend, showed that Montreal is a team that can take hits and keep going. They tied the game late, and stole a point in Philly to stay in fifth place. Montreal has a decent schedule going forward.
They will play only two more teams in a higher position then them (New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC) the rest of the season. The rest of the games should be manageable for this team. They are a great team that no one can sleep on. They should have no problems maintain a playoff spot.
Philadelphia Union: 4th place. 41 points. Five games left.
The Union have been the surprise team in the East this season. They overcame the early season projections of them, and now are a shoe-in’s to maintain a playoff spot. Their last five games are difficult to say the least.
Their schedule is the hardest in MLS in the last five games. Three straight away games, and then two home games against stiff competition. at Portland, at Toronto, at New York Red Bulls, versus Orlando and versus New York Red Bulls. This line of games looks difficult, but the Union should be able to get some decent results from them.
The Union’s most telling games will be against New York Red Bulls, who they play twice in the last three weeks. If they can get good results agaisnt them, then they will not just be in the playoffs, but will be high up in the standings.
NYCFC: 3rd place. 44 points. Five games left.
NYCFC finally produced with all of their designated players playing significant roles. They are four points out of first place with five games to play, and have quite the easy schedule going forward.
The only team that is in a playoff picture that NYCFC plays is Dallas this weekend, their remaining four games feature four teams who will not make the 2016 playoffs. Versus Chicago, at Houston, at DC and versus Columbus are their last four games. They are all games that NYCFC should be able to manage with all of their star power.
NYCFC has a great chance to take the East. They have the easiest schedule, and are only two points out of first place. It looks like all that money Manchester City gave is paying off!
New York Red Bulls: 2nd place. 44 points. Five games left.
NYRB is in a similar boat to NYCFC. They are two points out of first place, and could make a serious run at the top of the East. The only difference between the two New York’s is that Red Bulls have a harder schedule.
Red Bulls play four out of their remaining fie league games agaisnt Eastern Conference playoff teams, and also have Concacaf Champions League games as well. Red Bulls play the Union two times in the last three weeks, and if they want the top spot thy will have to do hat they haven’t been able to do this year; beat the Union.
If NYRB wants to be at the top of the East they will have to beat the East. They have the talent to do it, but will they, or will they fall apart and fall to the middle of the pack?
Toronto FC: 1st place. 46 points. Six games left.
With more games left then some of the other playoff teams, Toronto should be in the drivers seat to hold the top of the East. They have five of their last six games as home games, and one loan away game in Montreal.
TFC do play five Eastern Confernece playoff teams to end the season, but they have already taken points from all five of those teams. Their star play Giovinco, whose been injured is set to return in the coming weeks; he’ll be primed for the home stretch to control the East.
Their hardest game could very well be this weekend against New York Red Bulls, The Red Bulls have beaten TFC 3-0 this season, and without Giovinco TFC may struggle to find goals agaisnt the good NYRB defense. Only time will tell, but TFC will definitely be in the playoffs this season.
The East is tight, but there baring any very unpredictable results, the six playoff teams will look like this:
Toronto, New York Red Bulls, NYCFC, Philadelphia, Montreal and DC United/Orlando/New England.
However, MLS is crazy and anything can happen. Columbus and Chicago are still technically alive in the playoff race, but baring some miraculous results, they’ll be watching the playoffs. Now it seems like there will just be movement between the top six to eight teams. Only time will tell who moves where! Come back to Philly Sports Network palter in the week to see where the teams stand after this round of games!
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