Entering Week 30 of Major League Soccer regular-season action, there is officially less than a month left in the 2017 season.
The pressure is piling on in the push for playoffs. After New York City FC’s 1-1 draw against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, two Eastern Conference teams have now clinched a playoff berth — the other being Toronto FC, who are still in line to snag the Supporter’s Shield despite a 2-1 loss against the New England Revolution on Saturday.
The Black & Gold distanced themselves from the sixth-place New York Red Bulls after the 3-2 victory on Saturday night. Crew SC now has a 97 percent chance to make the 2017 MLS playoffs, according to ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight.
Entering Week 30 of MLS regular-season action, here are some important Eastern Conference midweek matches to keep an eye on:
Wednesday, September 27
Atlanta United (3) vs. Philadelphia Union (9) at 7 p.m.
This match will prove very important to Atlanta United who currently have a 49 percent chance at a first-round bye. Despite jumping from fifth to third place after Sunday’s 2-0 victory over the Montreal Impact, United learned their star playmaker, Miguel Almiron, will now miss a minimum of three weeks due to a hamstring injury he sustained in the match.
This could prove costly for the young expansion team seeing as how they will be playing two more games in just three days.
The Philadelphia Union on the other hand will look to increase their playoff chances, which currently stand at less than a one percent chance, even after a 3-1 victory Saturday that snapped their six-game winless streak. Sitting on the verge of elimination, there isn’t much left for the Union to do besides play the role of spoiler.
Montreal Impact (7) vs. New York City FC (2) at 7:30 p.m.
The Montreal Impact are in a fight for their postseason lives as they currently sit below the playoff line, right behind the Red Bulls. Despite a tough 2-0 loss against Atlanta United on the road Sunday, Montreal did manage to snag three points against the Eastern Conference leaders, Toronto FC, just four days earlier. With an eight percent chance at making the playoffs, the Impact are only three points away from taking the sixth place spot from the Red Bulls.
New York Red Bulls (6) vs. D.C. United (11) at 7:30 p.m.
With a tough 3-2 loss against the Black & Gold on Saturday, the Red Bulls are clinging to the last spot above the playoff line. NYRB now have an 87 percent chance to qualify for the playoffs with only three points separating them from the Montreal Impact.
Last place D.C. United showed signs of life after Saturday night’s 4-0 blowout against the San Jose Earthquakes. United’s Patrick Mullins put the struggling D.C. team on his back when he netted all four goals in just 31 minutes in the second half, the fastest four goals in MLS history. Despite having less than a one percent chance of making the playoffs this year, D.C. could ruin the dream for other Eastern Conference teams.
Orlando City SC (10) vs. New England Revolution (8) at 7:30 p.m.
Sitting in eighth place with a six percent chance at playoffs, the New England Revolution stirred up some drama with their 2-1 victory against Supporter Shield leaders Toronto FC Saturday night. The Revs are still looking for their first win on the road.
In the beginning of the season, Orlando proved to be one of the Eastern Conference heavy-hitters, but now they sit second-to-last on the Eastern Conference table with less than a one percent chance of making playoffs. Despite showing some fight in last weekend’s, 3-3, draw against Atlanta, the Lions have only collected three wins since their 6-1-0 start to the season.
Chicago Fire (4) at San Jose Earthquakes at 10:30 p.m.
The Chicago Fire were on a hot streak this season until they received a 3-1 whooping from the Philadelphia Union, which allowed them to be jumped by Atlanta in the push for playoffs. The Fire are now in the line of fire of Crew SC, who trail by just one point in the standings. Chicago has a 99 percent chance of making playoffs and a 10 percent chance at a first-round bye.
The Black & Gold remain at home in the push for the playoffs when they play D.C. United on Saturday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Columbus closes the regular season on the road at Orlando City SC on October 15 and at New York City FC on October 22.