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The MLS Cup playoff race picture in the East

Just two games left for the Bleu-blanc-noir in this 2018 MLS regular season. And the question remains: will the Impact qualify for the MLS Cup playoffs? Everything is possible for the Montreal squad, only one point behind D.C. United, sixth in the table. The Impact will have to go all in during these last two fixtures, while hoping the Washingtonians drop a few points.

Toronto FC, already eliminated, will have a strong word to say in the race, as it faces D.C. United and the Bleu-blanc-noir in the span of a few days. Therefore, the Reds’ visit to Stade Saputo on Sunday, October 21 at 3pm (TICKETS – TVA Sports, TSN, 98,5fm, TSN Radio 690) should have a special taste to it. Until then, here is the playoff race picture in the East. 

1. Atlanta United (x)
Remaining games: 2 (1 home, 1 away)
Points: 66

Costly victory for Atlanta United against the New England Revolution; though it remains a point in front of the Red Bulls in the race for the Supporters’ Shield, the Five Stripes lost Miguel Almiron for a few weeks. Bad timing, now that the season is coming to an end and playoffs are on the horizon. With the visit of a rejuvenated Chicago Fire and a trip to the Queen City afterwards, will Tata Martino’s men be able to put their hands on the MLS regular season title?

2. New York Red Bulls (x)
Remaining games: 2 (1 home, 1 away)
Points: 65

The Red Bulls are keeping up with the rhythm imposed by Atlanta. The 3-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes was never in question considering New York’s dominant performance, who scored twice from set-pieces in the North of California, but who also conceded the visitors’ lone goal from a set-piece as well. Games against Philadelphia away from home and Orlando in New Jersey should be formalities; they’ll have to hope Atlanta falters to finish at the top of general standings.

3. New York City FC (x)
Remaining games: 2 (1 home, 1 away)
Points: 53

Things are a little more complicated for the Citizens as of late, and that tendency continued Saturday in Minnesota. We could have thought that New York City FC put this troubling period behind it with a 2-0 win in a midweek matchup against the Chicago Fire, but another loss, this time to the Loons, means that David Villa and his teammates have only won two of their last 11 games. The loss also means that its rivals, the New York Red Bulls, are ensured a spot in the Conference semi-finals. Domènec Torrent’s players will need to quickly find their bearings before the knockout game, which will however take place in their Yankee Stadium fortress.

4. Philadelphia Union (x)
Remaining games: 2 (1 home, 1 away)
Points: 50

With the Crew’s loss and its 5-1 win over Minnesota United FC, Philadelphia takes over fourth in the East, synonymous to a home knockout game, and put an X next to its name, now assured to participate in the end of season tournament. It’s probably better this way for the Union, who will face the two teams from the Big Apple to close out the regular season.

5. Columbus Crew SC
Remaining games: 2 (1 home, 1 away)
Points: 48

Nothing certain yet for the Columbus Crew SC. The loss to Montreal was costly, allowing the Union to leapfrog the Ohio club into fourth in the standings, putting it in a position to host the knockout game. But Gregg Berhalter’s men have two winnable games left against Orlando City SC and Minnesota United FC. The Impact can also still catch up to the Black and Gold in an ideal scenario.

6. D.C. United
Remaining games: 3 (2 home, 1 away)
Points: 44

A last-minute win against FC Dallas, this weekend, allowed the Black-and-Red to pass the Impact in the standings. With a game in hand on Montreal, Ben Olsen’s squad is in good position, having won five of its last seven games.

7. Impact de Montréal
Remaining games: 2 (1 home, 1 away)
Points: 43

The moment we feared is here. D.C. United took advantage of the opportunity at hand and overtook the Impact. The Washington representatives remain only one point ahead of the Bleu-blanc-noir, but face Toronto FC on Wednesday night. Will our rival give us a hand, a few days before the last Canadian Classique in 2018?

8. New England Revolution (e)
Remaining games: 2 (1 home, 1 away)
Points: 38

The Revs, despite a 2-0 win at home against Orlando, are now mathematically out of the race. And to think they were in the top four this spring… New England will still have its word to say though, as they host the Bleu-blanc-noir on Decision Day.

9. Toronto FC (e)
Remaining games: 3 (1 home, 2 away)
Points: 33

It’s officially over for TFC this year. Injuries, the wear and tear of a long playoff run last year and in Concacaf Champions League this year, and a crumbling defense will have, when it’s all said and done, gotten the better of Toronto, who failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2014. There’s still an opportunity for the Reds to have their say in who qualifies for the MLS Cup playoffs in the East, with games against D.C. United and the Montreal Impact next week, followed by a matchup against Atlanta to close out 2018.

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