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A closer look at the MLS Playoff Picture

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The 2021 MLS regular season is heading toward its conclusion with a majority of the league’s 27 clubs having five matches left on their respective schedules.

While the New England Revolution move closer to this year’s edition of the Supporters’ Shield, several playoff spots and seeds remain up for grabs with only four weeks in the regular season schedule. Bruce Arena’s side has already clinched the top spot in the Eastern Conference, sitting 18 points ahead of second-place Nashville SC.

Seven points separate second place through seventh in the East as the Philadelphia Union, Orlando City, and Atlanta United are among the handful of clubs sitting above the red line. NYCFC and the New York Red Bulls are tied on 40 points apiece following Sunday’s Hudson River Derby in Harrison, New Jersey while the Columbus Crew and Inter Miami aren’t mathematically out of the race yet.

The Seattle Sounders sit five points clear of second-place Sporting KC in the Western Conference, despite suffering a 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo over the weekend. Brian Schmetzer’s side will be favored to get the job done for the top spot in the West, but both SKC and the Colorado Rapids will have something to say about that. Five points separate fourth-place Portland and seventh-place Minnesota United, meaning plenty of changes could come in the seeding. The Vancouver Whitecaps and LAFC headline the teams outside of the top-seven who remain alive in the race for the postseason.

Wednesday’s 12-match schedule should go a long way toward clearing up the playoff picture, with the Houston Dynamo the next in line to be officially eliminated from contention if they don’t beat the LA Galaxy. New York City FC’s visit to Atlanta United will also have some major playoff implications, as well as Vancouver’s Cascadia clash with the Portland Timbers.

Here is a look at where things stand in the playoff races in the East and West:


Eastern Conference

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

1. New England Revolution – 66 points

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 @ DC United, 10/24 @ Orlando City, 10/27 vs. Colorado, 11/7 vs. Inter Miami

2. Nashville SC – 48 points

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 vs. Columbus, 10/23 @Philadelphia, 10/27 @ FC Cincinnati, 10/31 @Orlando City, 11/7 vs. New York Red Bulls

3. Philadelphia Union – 46 points

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 @ Minnesota United, 10/23 vs. Nashville SC, 10/27 @ Toronto FC, 10/31 vs. FC Cincinnati, 11/7 @ NYCFC

4. Orlando City – 45 points

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 vs. CF Montreal, 10/24 vs. New England, 10/27 @ Columbus, 10/31 vs. Nashville SC, 11/7 @ CF Montreal

5. Atlanta United – 42 points

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 vs. NYCFC, 10/27 vs. Inter Miami, 10/30 vs. Toronto FC, 11/3 @ New York Red Bulls, 11/7 @ FC Cincinnati

6. D.C. United – 41 points

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 vs. New England, 10/23 @ NYCFC, 10/27 vs. New York Red Bulls, 10/30 vs. Columbus, 11/7 @ Toronto FC

7. CF Montreal – 41 points

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 @ Orlando City, 10/23 @ Toronto FC, 10/30 @ New York Red Bulls, 11/3 vs. Houston Dynamo, 11/7 vs. Orlando City

PLAYOFF LINE


8. NYCFC – 40 points

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 @ Atlanta United, 10/23 vs. DC United, 10/27 vs. Chicago, 10/30 @ Inter Miami, 11/7 vs. Philadelphia

9. New York Red Bulls – 40 points

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/23 @ Columbus, 10/27 @ DC United, 10/30 vs. CF Montreal, 11/3 vs. Atlanta United, 11/7 @ Nashville SC

10. Columbus Crew – 37 points

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 @ Nashville SC, 10/23 vs. New York Red Bulls, 10/27 vs. Orlando City, 10/30 @ D.C. United, 11/7 vs. Chicago Fire

11. Inter Miami – 32 points

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 vs. Toronto FC, 10/23 vs. FC Cincinnati, 10/27 @ Atlanta United, 10/30 vs. NYCFC, 11/7 @ New England Revolution

Eliminated from Playoff Contention

Chicago Fire, Toronto FC, FC Cincinnati


Western Conference

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

1. Seattle Sounders (57 points)

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 @ Colorado, 10/23 vs. Sporting KC, 10/26 @ LAFC, 11/1 vs. LA Galaxy, 11/7 @ Vancouver.

2. Sporting KC (52 points)

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/23 @ Seattle, 10/27 vs. LA Galaxy, 10/31 @ Minnesota, 11/3 @ Austin FC, 11/7 vs. Real Salt Lake

3. Colorado Rapids (51 points)

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 vs. Seattle, 10/23 vs. Portland, 10/27 @ New England, 10/31 @ Houston, 11/7 vs. LAFC

4. Portland Timbers (46 points)

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 vs. Vancouver, 10/23 @ Colorado, 10/27 vs. San Jose, 11/3 @ Real Salt Lake, 11/7 vs. Austin FC

5. Real Salt Lake (42 points)

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/23 @ Chicago, 10/27 @ FC Dallas, 10/30 vs. San Jose, 11/3 vs. Portland, 11/7 @ Sporting KC

6. LA Galaxy (42 points)

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 @ Houston, 10/23 vs. FC Dallas, 10/27 @ Sporting KC, 11/1 @ Seattle, 11/7 vs. Minnesota

7. Minnesota United (41 points)

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 vs. Philadelphia, 10/23 vs. LAFC, 10/27 @ Vancouver, 10/31 vs. Sporting KC, 11/7 @ LA Galaxy

PLAYOFF LINE


8. Vancouver Whitecaps (40 points)

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 @ Vancouver, 10/23 @ San Jose, 10/27 vs. Minnesota, 11/2 @ LAFC, 11/7 vs. Seattle

9. LAFC (37 points)

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 @ FC Dallas, 10/23 @ Minnesota, 10/26 vs. Seattle, 11/2 vs. Vancouver, 11/7 @ Colorado

10. San Jose Earthquakes 33 points

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 vs. Austin FC, 10/23 vs. Vancouver, 10/27 @ Portland, 10/30 @ Real Salt Lake, 11/7 vs. FC Dallas

11. Houston Dynamo 30 points

  • Remaining Schedule: 10/20 vs. LA Galaxy, 10/24 @ Austin FC, 10/31 vs. Colorado Rapids, 11/3 @ CF Montreal

Eliminated from Playoff Contention

FC Dallas, Austin FC


 

 

 

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