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Union eliminated from MLS playoff race by New York Red Bulls' win over Vancouver Whitecaps

Playoff hopes started fading in August. The door finally shut on the Union Saturday.

The Union have been officially eliminated from contention for Major League Soccer’s playoffs.
The Union have been officially eliminated from contention for Major League Soccer’s playoffs.Read moreMatt Slocum / AP Photo

Jim Curtin started to admit that the Union were on their way out of the MLS playoff race back in August.

It took until Oct. 7 for the door to finally shut.

The Union were officially eliminated from contention on Saturday night, thanks to the New York Red Bulls' 3-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps at Red Bull Arena. The result secured the Eastern Conference's sixth playoff berth for New York.

Montreal, New England and Orlando were also eliminated.

Though the Red Bulls clinched the final playoff spot, they are not necessarily locked into sixth place. With 46 points, they can jump over fifth-place Columbus (50 points) with two more wins and some help. Chicago's 52 points are also in reach, but the Fire have a big enough goal differential to almost certainly survive that tiebreaker.

(It would be the second tiebreaker, by the way. Total wins are the first, and if the Red Bulls draw level with Chicago they'd both have 15 wins.)

Toronto (65 points) has the No. 1 seed locked up, and has already clinched the Supporters' Shield, given to the team with the best regular season record. The Reds are three points away from tying MLS' single-season points record of 68, set by the Los Angeles Galaxy in 1998.

New York City FC (56 points), Atlanta (53 points), Chicago and Columbus all have a shot at the No. 2 seed, and the first round playoff bye that comes with it.

The Union conclude their season with a trip to Chicago on Oct. 15 (5 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus) and a home game vs. Orlando on Oct. 22 (4 p.m., 6ABC).