The playoff race

Impact to take on Nashville in crucial Eastern Conference matchup

As this unusual regular season gets set to come to an end, the Impact finds itself in the thick of the playoff race. With three games left to play and with 23 points, Thierry Henry’s men are in ninth at the moment, two points behind their next opponent, Nashville SC, who also holds a game in hand, and two points in front of the team holding the final playoff spot, Inter Miami.

Lots can change until the season finally comes to a close on Decision Day, but the Montreal side can at least rejoice in the fact that it currently finds itself above the dotted line and in control of its own destiny.

Here is a portrait of the teams fighting for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

5. New York City FC
Points: 30
Games left: 3

The Impact’s last loss came at the hands of the New York side, who added three huge points after going winless for three games. With nine points between them and Inter Miami, currently in tenth, head coach Ronny Deila’s men are all but qualified to the fall tournament. 

6. New England Revolution
Games left: 3

New England’s schedule is by no means easy to finish the season. Bruce Arena’s men have a pivotal date with the Red Bulls coming up, who trail by just three points in the standings, before taking on D.C. United and the team currently in first, the Philadelphia Union.

Still, the expectation is to see the Massachusetts side in the fall tournament and with a few positive results, they may even finish higher in the table after Decision Day comes to a close.

7. New York Red Bulls
Games left: 3

It hasn’t been the dominant season we’ve become used to seeing from the New York side, who also underwent a first team coaching change less than three weeks ago, saying goodbye to longtime head coach Chris Armas and welcoming Gerhard Stuber as the man in charge. Still, the Red Bulls have put up solid performances, and haven’t lost in their last four games.

That being said, they absolutely have the toughest schedule to close out the season, taking on three teams above them in the standings. They’ll need to stay focused down the stretch.

8. Nashville SC
Games left: 4

Nashville has put up quite an impressive inaugural season, as they currently find themselves four points above the playoff line with a game in hand. Head coach Thierry said it in the pregame press conference as the Impact gets set to face them for the first time in MLS: this game is going to be a battle.

The Tennessee representatives have taken seven of the last nine available points and will certainly want to continue in this run of form.

9. Montreal Impact
Games left: 3

Two wins in their last three games will almost certainly qualify the Impact to the postseason, and that starts with a game tonight against Nashville SC. All games are important, but this one is absolutely crucial. Tune in at 7pm on TVA Sports, TSN, 98.5 and TSN 690.

10. Inter Miami CF
Points: 21
Games left: 3

After losing an important game to Thierry Henry’s squad last Saturday, Miami bounced back with its most important win of the season against its state rival. With a stoppage time winner, Miami was able to take three points from playoff-bound Orlando City SC, and they did so without their Designated Player Gonzalo Higuain, suspended.

Needless to say, Miami has the tools to do a lot of damage in the postseason, so if they enter the tournament in good form, there’s no telling what could happen.

11. Chicago Fire
Games left: 4

After a difficult start to the season, things have started to come together for Chicago. With just one loss in their last seven games, head coach Raphael Wicky’s vision is starting to take shape on the pitch, just in time for a late playoff push.

And they really aren’t that far behind, currently tied on points with Miami, who holds the last spot, with a game in hand to boot. Their schedule to end the season is challenging however, to say the least.

12. Atlanta United FC
Games left: 3

While Miami is grabbing stoppage time winners, Atlanta is doing the opposite. The Georgia representatives conceded a stoppage time winner to D.C. United, allowing them to jump back into the playoff picture with an essential three points.

Even if they do manage to sneak into the playoff picture, all signs point to this being a season to forget for the former MLS Cup champions, who have had a year well below their standards on and off the pitch. They’re certainly missing their star striker Josef Martinez now.

13. D.C. United
Games left: 4

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, one’s demise is another’s success. D.C.’s late winner against Atlanta puts them back in the playoff conversation, but the road will certainly be difficult, even with a game in hand on most teams.

14. FC Cincinnati
Games left: 3

Are they still in the race mathematically? Yes. Is it extremely unlikely that FC Cincinnati makes the postseason? Also, yes. Currently dead last in the Eastern Conference, it’s been a tough season for the former USL side. They have lost six of their last seven games, not managing to score a goal in five of those games, all losses.

It would take a small miracle to see them make their first postseason appearance in MLS.