Orlando City is officially into the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs for the second straight year. After taking down CF Montréal 2-0 on Decision Day, the Lions ended up with the East’s sixth seed and will travel to Nashville SC for their opening round game on Tuesday, November 23.
But what else happened around the league, and how does the bracket stack up for Orlando? Let’s dive in:
FC Cincinnati 1 - Atlanta United 2: Cincy led this game 1-0 at the break and looked poised to snap their league record losing streak, but Atlanta came back for two in the second half, with Josef Martínez scoring a particularly pretty goal for the winner. Had Atlanta not won, Orlando would have been the five seed, set for a rematch of last year’s historic playoff match with NYCFC, this time at Yankee Stadium. Instead, it’s the Five Stripes who will make the trip to the Bronx and the Pigeons’ notoriously tricky home field.
NYCFC 1 - Philadelphia 1: Speaking of NYCFC, the Pigeons rallied from an early red card and a 1-0 halftime deficit to draw the Union and earn a first round home game. Taty Castellanos locked up the Golden Boot with his 19th goal of the season, edging out D.C. United’s Ola Kamara thanks to an assists tiebreaker. Had NYCFC lost, Orlando would have been headed to Atlanta for the first round. Philadelphia, meanwhile, did enough to earn the two seed and will face the New York Red Bulls in round one. They’d face Orlando City in the second round if both teams win their openers.
Nashville 1 - New York Red Bulls 1: The Red Bulls got in with a plucky away draw at Nissan Stadium. Fabio scored for New York in the opening minute of the game, and that was enough to earn a result and edge the Red Bulls into the field over D.C., who would have qualified for the postseason had New York lost. If the Red Bulls top Philly and Orlando beats Nashville, the two sides would face each other at Exploria Stadium in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Other East results: D.C. knocked off Toronto FC 3-1, but it wasn’t enough to get into the playoff field. The Black and Red would have qualified if not for Daryl Dike’s 97th-minute winner at Exploria Stadium on October 2…Columbus Crew beat Chicago Fire FC, but due to their tiebreaker situation they were essentially eliminated before the day began. The defending champs are now the third MLS Cup winners to miss the postseason in the last six years…With the Supporters’ Shield and the all-time points record secure, New England Revolution took its foot off the gas and lost 1-0 to Inter Miami. The Revs will go 23 days without a game before their playoff opener on November 30.
In the West: Damir Kreilach scored a dramatic 95th-minute winner in Kansas City to send Real Salt Lake to the playoffs at the expense of the LA Galaxy, who drew 3-3 at home to Minnesota United. RSL got away with a handball in the box minutes before their goal, and had the call been made and Sporting Kansas City converted the penalty, the Galaxy would have been in their spot…Colorado Rapids shocked the world and took the top seed and the first round bye, beating LAFC 5-2 while SKC lost and Seattle Sounders drew at Vancouver Whitecaps. The Rapids will play their first game on Thanksgiving Day.