There have been major shakeups in the 2022 race for the Supporters’ Shield. The Philadelphia Union are now the favorites to win, and control their own destiny to do so! The teams fighting for that Shield and the eastern conference have all played 31 games, and the Union is the favorite to win both with only three matches to play!
Union two points up in Shield Race; Seven points up in East!
This Philadelphia Union team is truly quite remarkable! They have broken records almost every week since the start of July, and now are in the pole position to take the top spot in all of MLS. If they can do so, they’ll lift a second Supporters’ Shield in three years, and also have home-field advantage throughout the MLS Cup Playoffs.
This Philly team is on the verge of doing something it hasn’t ever done before in a full 34-game season. Their defense is elite, and their attack flourishing. If they can take care of their business no one in the east and no one else in the entire league can match them!
Philly’s magic number to win East is 3!
The Union is seven points ahead of Montreal with three weeks to play. After this weekend, should Philly get three more points, it means that no other team in the eastern conference can match their point total. They’d win the east with two games to spare. Could we see this after this coming Saturday night? Let’s take a look at the teams still in contention in the east.
The Union has a massive lead in the east and can play the spoiler in their match this weekend! They travel to Atlanta United to face a team that is still pushing for the playoffs. A win for Atlanta could propel them to a playoff spot, and a loss would all but doom their 2022 season. With the form of both teams, it’s hard to say that Atlanta will be alive come next week, but this is MLS, so you never know!
Montreal played a frustrating 2-2 draw last weekend against the Columbus Crew and won their game in hand on Wednesday 3-2 in Chicago. This Montreal team is a good-to-great MLS side, if Philly wasn’t running away in the standings they could likely challenge for the east. A win this weekend will make it so the Red Bulls would have to win out to match their point total for second place in the east.
Red Bulls get to play in their favorite match of the year, the Hudson River Darby this Saturday, after another win last weekend. The red side of New York has been a decent team in 2022, but they have yet to show the kind of play needed to make a playoff run. Could we see that type of play shoe up this weekend at NYCFC?
NYCFC just won Campeones Cup over Liga MX reigning champions Atlas on Wednesday night. It’s their first win since Aug. 21; could it be the spark that helps them get right for the playoffs? They’ll hope so as the Blue side of New York is fighting to keep a top-four spot. If they want that they’ll have to get a win against Red Bull on Saturday.
The East could be determined by the end of the weekend! With two weeks left following this week, could we also see the end to the Shield race and a coronation of the best team in MLS?
Union is two points up on LAFC in race for Supporters’ Shield
The Union didn’t play this midweek but became the favorites to win the Supporters’ Shield. Philadelphia is two points clear of LAFC, and now no team has a game in hand on them. Could we be seeing the beginning of the end of the race for the 2022 Supporters Shield right before our very eyes?
Philadelphia has jumped LAFC, and now controls their own destiny to lift the Shield! It’s been an amazing run for Philly winning 11 of their last 14 matches. They’ve amassed 34 points from a possible 42 in that stretch as well. From August until now, Philly has been consistent, while the other teams around them in the east and in the Shield race have dipped in form. They just need to focus one game at a time, and they could be lifting the Shield on the final day of the season!
LAFC has struggled hard over the last two months. The integration of their new star players has caused more problems than solutions, and their hold on the Shield was dropped after a loss to FC Dallas and a draw against Montreal. Now they need to win their remaining three matches and hope that Philly drop points to teams in the basement of the east. We’ll see if that happens for them, but they will need to beat hungry playoff-readying sides from the west if they want to reclaim the Shield.
Austin and Montreal are still in the race for the Shield, but only slightly. A win for Philly would knock both teams out of contention for the top spot in MLS. Montreal can overtake Philly and LAFC only if Philly loses all of their remaining three games, and Austin can only tie the Union if that happens. Both sides are going to be strong playoff teams in 2022, but their time competing for the Shield seems to be running out.
The Supporters’ Shield is Philly’s to lose now, and with three matches remaining for the teams fighting for that and the east, things could be determined even before the final day of the season!
The third-to-last week of the 2022 season is this weekend
This weekend marks the third-to-last week of the MLS season. It also is one that is before an international break where all of these teams will get the week off starting on Sept. 19. Here’s a look at the important matchups in week 32!
- NYCFC vs Red Bulls | Saturday, Sept. 17 | 1 pm ET
- Atlanta vs Union | Saturday, Sept. 17 | 3:30 pm ET
- New England vs Montreal | Saturday, Sept. 17 | 7:30 pm ET
- Austin vs Nashville | Saturday, Sept. 17 | 9 pm ET
- LAFC vs Houston | Sunday, Sept. 18 | 10:30 pm ET
After the dust settles on this week’s matches, we could see a Union team that is crown champions of the east, and one that could be one win away from winning the Supporters’ Shield.
A Union win coupled with an LAFC draw or loss would make this scenario possible.
Get ready for yet another action-packed weekend in MLS!
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Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire