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.
As of September 11, Philadelphia and New York City have both clinched spots in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Atlanta United are also one win away from a playoff berth. DC United, New York Red Bulls, and most recently Toronto FC appear lined up for the postseason as well, with all three sitting between 91% and 94% odds to reach the playoffs, per FiveThirtyEight. DC United came off the bubble in last week’s update, and Toronto join them this week after smashing Cincinnati 5-1 over the weekend.
There appear to be four teams in play for the final spot: New England, Montreal, Orlando, Toronto, and Chicago.
New England Revolution (10-10-9, 39 pts in 29 games)
LAST WEEK: L 2-1 at New York City FC
THIS WEEK: at Orlando City SC – Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL – Saturday, 7:30p
The Revs had a chance to all but lock in the final spot in the East after going ahead 1-0 at Yankee Stadium within two minutes, but an early red card and a 96th minute VAR-induced penalty consigned them to heartbreaking defeat against the Pigeons. It was just the second defeat in 17 games for New England since firing Brad Friedel on May 9. Both of those defeats have come in the past six weeks, though, as the Revs have limped to a 1-2-3 run since the beginning of August. They come to Orlando this week and will either secure their position or blow the door wide open for the seventh slot.
Montreal Impact (11-15-4, 37 pts in 30 games)
LAST WEEK: OFF
THIS WEEK: vs. FC Cincinnati – Stade Saputo, Montreal, Quebec, Can. – Saturday, 7:30p
The Impact face a must-win scenario this week, taking on an FC Cincinnati side that have largely been three free points for everyone they’ve faced this year. Montreal likely need at least three wins in their final four to overtake New England, and the Impact face a cross country trip to Los Angeles to take on the Galaxy next weekend, with home tilts against Atlanta and RBNY to follow. It’s doable, but only if they grab the three on offer against Cincinnati this weekend. Montreal also have cup competition to think about, as they will face Toronto in a two-legged Canadian Championship final over the next two weeks.
Orlando City (9-13-8, 35 pts in 30 games)
LAST WEEK: D 2-2 vs. Los Angeles FC
THIS WEEK: vs. New England Revolution – Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL – Saturday, 7:30p
It all comes down to this for Orlando City, who will fight for their playoff lives against New England at Exploria Stadium on Saturday. A win would put the Lions just one point behind the Revs with a very manageable run-in of Houston, Cincinnati, and Chicago, the last of which is a home game. Anything else would make the gap with New England very difficult to overcome. Orlando will get a boost from their returning internationals—Tesho Akindele, Will Johnson, Kamal Miller, Sebas Mendez, and Carlos Ascues will all return from the FIFA break.
Chicago Fire (8-12-10, 34 pts in 30 games)
LAST WEEK: OFF
THIS WEEK: vs. FC Dallas – SeatGeek Stadium, Bridgeview, IL – Saturday, 3:30p
The Fire are nearing elimination from the race after barely salvaging a point in Columbus two weeks ago. Chicago have been one of the most baffling teams in the league, ranking second in all of MLS in expected goals but dead last in big chance conversion rate, per Opta. The Fire likely have to win out or come close in order to make the postseason.
StandingsLast Updated: 9/11/19 at 1:35pm
|x - NYC||53||1.89||28||15||5||8||53||35||18|
|x - PHI||51||1.76||29||15||8||6||54||42||12|
|e - CIN||18||0.62||29||5||21||3||29||72||-43|
|x - LAFC||63||2.17||29||19||4||6||76||32||44|
|e - VAN||27||0.9||30||6||15||9||30||53||-23|