It's decision time in the Eastern Conference. Despite dropping points this past week, the top teams in the East have the opportunity to clinch the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs this upcoming matchday. In fact, all six playoff competitiors could be determined by Saturday night. A lot depends on the outcome of the match in Orlando. Here's an overview of where the conference stands.
1. New York Red Bulls – 48 pts. | 5-2 loss vs. Orlando; this week: vs. Columbus
The New York Red Bulls held on to the top spot in the East despite a 5-2 rout against Orlando City. The home defeat was a setback for New York in the quest for the Supporters’ Shield, but the Red Bulls have already clinched the playoffs. Next, they will host Crew SC, which looks to book a ticket for the post-season as well on Saturday.
2. New England Revolution – 47 pts. | 1-1 draw vs. Philadelphia; this week: at Chicago
A win over the Philadelphia Union would have seen New England through to the playoffs. The Revolution will get another chance at clinching in Chicago as they need just one more point in their last three matches to secure a post-season berth.
3. Columbus Crew SC – 47 pts. | 2-1 loss vs. Portland; this week: at New York Red Bulls
Crew SC also had the opportunity to clinch the post-season this weekend, but the Portland Timbers had different plans. Kei Kamara’s 22nd goal of the season wasn’t enough for the Black & Gold, who just need one more point to book the playoff ticket. They will get that opportunity on Saturday against conference leaders New York Red Bulls.
4. D.C. United – 45 pts. | 2-0 loss at Montreal; this week: vs. New York City FC
D.C. United was the third Eastern Conference team that failed to secure a playoff berth this past week. United succumbed to the brilliance of Impact striker Didier Drogba, who scored a brace in the first 11 minutes of the match. However, D.C. can become the second team in the East to clinch the post-season with a win over New York City FC on Friday.
5. Toronto FC – 43 pts. | 3-2 win vs. Chicago; this week: vs. Philadelphia
Toronto FC took a big step towards the playoffs – and eliminated Chicago from contention in the process – by defeating the Fire. Toronto’s Designated Players Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore scored in the come-from-behind victory. Toronto can clinch this weekend with a win in Philly and if Orlando and NYCFC fail to win.
6. Montreal Impact – 42 pts. | 2-1 vs. Chicago, 2-0 win vs. D.C.; this week: at Orlando
This was a big week for the Montreal Impact who defeated two Eastern Conference opponents to keep Orlando City at bay in the competition for sixth place. The two sides will meet on Saturday for a showdown that will draw the attention of the top teams in the East. An Impact win over Orlando would secure a post-season berth for Columbus and New England. It would also see Montreal through if NYCFC doesn't beat D.C.
7. Orlando City SC – 38 pts. | 5-2 win at New York Red Bulls; this week: vs. Montreal
With three consecutive wins, Orlando City refuses to give up in the race for the playoffs. The Lions will look to collect more points on Saturday keep their hopes alive for another week. Since both Toronto and Montreal have games in hand, three points are really what Orlando should be looking for when it hosts the Impact. An Orlando loss would mean elimination from playoff contention if at the same time Toronto beats or draws with Philly.
8. New York City FC – 37 pts. | 2-1 win at Vancouver; this week: at D.C.
New York City is still in playoff contention as well, following a 2-1 win in Vancouver that came courtesy of an injury-time penalty by David Villa. To keep the dream alive, NYCFC will have to collect additional points on the road when it travels to D.C. this weekend. A loss or tie could eliminate the expansion side if Montreal and Toronto win their respective matches.
9. Philadelphia Union – 34 pts. | 1-1 draw at New England; this week: at Toronto
After drawing in New England, the Union’s chances of reaching the post-season are slim to none. Philly will have to defeat Toronto this weekend and hope for an Impact loss to keep its last bit of hope alive. Philadelphia still has a shot at a trophy, however. The Union takes on Sporting Kansas City in the U.S. Open Cup Final on Wednesday.
10. Chicago Fire – 27 pts. | 2-1 loss at Montreal, 3-2 loss at Toronto; this week: vs. New England
The Fire’s trip to Canada was one to forget. Chicago dropped both matches against Montreal and Toronto by a one-goal margin and was eliminated from playoff contention. In both matches, the Fire conceded in the last 15 minutes to return to the Windy City empty-handed.