Philadelphia Union

Union clinch home playoff match ahead of Decision Day

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The Philadelphia Union took care of business this past weekend beating FC Cincinnati 2-0. The win helped Philly move back to second place in the east. While Philadelphia prepared for their MLS decision day match at NYCFC, results fell in their favor. A 0-0 draw between New York Red Bulls and Atlanta United Wednesday night was the final nail in the coffin that secured a first-round home playoff game for Philly. Now that the lowest the Union can finish is fourth; fans can get ready for playoff soccer in Chester, PA!

Mandatory Credit: PHILADELPHIA UNION, ANDREW ZWARYCH

Union is top-four team in the East!

Back in mid-September, the Union was on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. They were just battered by Club America in the CCL semifinals, but their hopes weren’t tarnished. Captain Ale Bedoya spoke to the media after the match stating that if Philly played the way they did in leg-two of the CCL Semifinal that they could make a run to the MLS playoffs. They did just that winning six, drawing three, and losing just once since that CCL semifinal. Now the Union will host a round one playoff match. Here’s a look at that playoff schedule.

MLS Playoff Schedule

Round One

  • Saturday, Nov. 20 @ noon EST
  • Saturday, Nov. 20 @ 3 p.m. EST
  • Sunday, Nov. 21 @ 3 p.m. EST
  • Sunday, Nov. 21 @ 5:30 p.m. EST
  • Tuesday, Nov. 23 Time TBD
  • Tuesday, Nov. 23 Time TBD

Conference Semifinals

  • Thursday, Nov. 25 @ 4:30 p.m. EST
  • Sunday, Nov. 28 @ 3 p.m. EST
  • Sunday, Nov. 28 @ 5:30 p.m. EST
  • Tuesday Nov. 30 Time TBD

Conference Finals

  • Saturday, Dec. 4 Time TBD
  • Sunday, Dec. 5 @ 3 p.m. EST

MLS Cup Final

  • Saturday, Dec. 11 @ 3 p.m. EST

While the Union has secured a top-four finish, they still have everything to play for in their final match of the regular season. There’s plenty of movement still to come in the eastern conference on the final matchday. It will make for a memorable and hectic decision day 2021.

Movement throughout the top-four still to come

There is still going to be a lot of movement in the eastern conference standings as the final matchday plays out. Philly and Nashville have now joined New England as three of the top-four. One more spot is up for grabs heading into decision day. There are five teams vying for that final spot in the top-four. Here’s a look at the updated list of teams two through seven.

  • Current 2-seed: Philadelphia Union (53 points)
  • Current 3-seed: Nashville SC (53 points)
  • Current 4-seed: NYCFC (50 points)
  • Current 5-seed: Atlanta United FC (48 points)
  • Current 6-seed: Orlando City SC (48 points)
  • Current 7-seed: New York Red Bulls (47 points)

The team’s four through seven are only separated by three points. The difference in place is hosting a playoff game or missing out on the playoffs completely. There will definitely be shakeups to watch for on decision day. Here’s a look at the key matchups that will determine the playoff field on the final day of the regular season:

  • NYCFC (current 4-seed) vs Philadelphia Union (current 2-seed)
  • Nashville SC (current 3-seed) vs New York Red Bulls (current 7-seed)
  • CF Montreal (current 7-seed) vs Orlando City SC (current 6-seed)
  • Columbus Crew SC (current 10-seed) vs Chicago Fire FC (eliminated from playoffs)
  • FC Cincinatti (eliminated from playoffs) vs Atlanta United FC (current 5-seed)
  • Toronto FC (eliminated from playoffs) vs DC United (current 9-seed)

Make sure you don’t miss all that action. Have those game notifications turned on! All matches will be simultaneously played at 3:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, November 7. We all know you’re going to be watching that Union-NYCFC match, but do you know the scenarios that could see the Union finish in second, third, or fourth?

Union seeding scenarios heading into decision day

The Union is not out of the thick of it. Their regular-season finale still provides an opportunity to secure more of a home-field advantage in the playoffs. Philly takes on NYCFC in a match that will determine whether the Union finishes in second, third, or fourth place in the eastern conference. There are loads of scenarios that could determine their place, but there are four main ones that are of note!

Scenario one

If the Union wins against NYCFC, they hold the two-seed outright. That is the most straightforward scenario, and it’s the one with the biggest reward. Having the two seed means having the opportunity to play home matches in the first round and conference semifinals of the playoffs. If Philly can win those and the historic 2021 supporters shield winners New England Revolution fail in the conference semis, then the eastern conference final would be held at Subaru Park.

Scenario two

Should the Union draw NYCFC and Nashville SC draws New York Red Bulls, then Philly finishes the two-seed. This allows for the same reward as the first and might be more of a realistic outcome. The Union has never won a match at Yankee Stadium, and Nashville has 17 draws on the season, one away from tying the most in MLS history. Draws are good on decision day for the Union.

Scenario three

If the Union loses and Nashville SC loses, then Philadelphia will be the three-seed. This would be because NYCFC would leapfrog both Philly and Nashville based on tie-breakers. This would still be a hell of an achievement for Philly but could be seen as a let-down given what’s at stake on decision day.

Scenario four

Should the Union lose and Nashville SC draws or wins, the boys in blue will finish fourth. This is the worst-case scenario as it would lessen the opportunity for home-field advantage should the Union advance past round one of the 2021 playoffs. Luckily it still allows Philly to host a first-round playoff game, but this should be avoided if this team wants to make a deep playoff run.

Regardless of what happens, the Union will play their round one playoff match at Subaru Park! Whether it’s November 20, 21, or 23, and no matter who Philly hosts, the Soob should be packed full of Union fans hoping to watch their team start a run toward MLS Cup! We’ll have to wait for the completion of decision day to know where the Union place and who they face in the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs!

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Doop on Union fans!

Mandatory Credit: PHILADELPHIA UNION, ANDREW ZWARYCH

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Philadelphia Union Editor of Soccer Content

A passion for the beautiful game drives me.

Twitter: @Tim_Lovenguth

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