The Union have the inside track to a home playoff game, but they might not keep it
A look at where the Union stand in Major League Soccer's playoff race as the regular season begins its final month.
Here's a look around Major League Soccer's playoff race after the weekend's games.
The Union clinched their first playoff berth since 2016 with a 5-1 win over Minnesota United on Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium. They also jumped over the Columbus Crew into fourth place. If the season ended today, the Union would host a playoff game for the first time since 2011.
But the season doesn't end until Oct. 28. And unfortunately for the Union, they have a much harder remaining schedule than Columbus does.
After both teams take this coming weekend off for FIFA's international window, the Union will host the second-place New York Red Bulls on Oct. 21, then visit third-place New York City FC on Oct. 28. Columbus will visit last-place Orlando City on Oct. 21, then host Minnesota on Oct. 28. That could be the Crew's last regular-season game in Columbus if owner Anthony Precourt fulfills his threats to move to Austin, Texas after this season (with MLS headquarters' help, it must be said). Depending on how the playoffs shake out, it could be the last Crew game in Columbus of any kind.
The Crew's future is for another column, though. Let's focus on the present. And for now, let's focus not on the Crew, but on NYCFC. The Pigeons are plummeting, with just two wins in their last 11 games dating to June 29. They were off this past weekend, a much-needed breath of fresh air amid the tumult. But they have a rough end to the season, too, visiting D.C. United on Oct. 21 before hosting the Union.
D.C. continued its surge toward sixth place Sunday, coming from behind to beat the Chicago Fire, 2-1, in Washington. Sixth-place Montreal held serve, though, dismissing Columbus, 3-0, at Stade Saputo on Saturday afternoon. The Union made their move a few hours later.
Home teams listed first.
Montreal Impact 3, Columbus Crew 0
Atlanta United 2, New England Revolution 1
Toronto FC 1, Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (Toronto was eliminated from playoff contention)
Philadelphia Union 5, Minnesota United 1 (Philadelphia clinched a playoff spot; Minnesota was eliminated from playoff contention)
FC Dallas 2, Orlando City (Orlando was eliminated from playoff contention)
Sporting Kansas City 1, Los Angeles Galaxy 1
Colorado Rapids 0, Los Angeles FC 3 (LAFC clinched a playoff spot)
Real Salt Lake 1, Portland Timbers 4
San Jose Earthquakes 1, New York Red Bulls 3
D.C. United 2, Chicago Fire 1
Eastern Conference standings
Teams are listed with their total points, then the first three tiebreakers in order: wins, goal difference and goals scored. Click here for the full order of tiebreakers.
Clinched a first-round bye
1. Atlanta United: 66 points, 20 wins, +28 GD, 67 GS (32 games played)
2. New York Red Bulls: 65 points, 20 wins, +27 GD, 60 GS (32 games played)
Clinched a playoff berth
3. New York City FC: 53 points, 15 wins, +14 GD, 55 GS (32 games played)
4. Philadelphia Union: 50 points, 15 wins, +2 GD, 48 GS (32 games played)
5. Columbus Crew: 48 points, 13 wins, -2 GD, 39 GS (32 games played)
6. Montreal Impact: 43 points, 13 wins, -7 GD, 45 GS (32 games played)
7. D.C. United: 41 points, 11 wins, +6 GD, 55 GS (30 games played)
8. New England Revolution: 35 points, 8 wins, -6 GD, 45 GS (31 games played)
9. Toronto FC: 33 points
10. Chicago Fire: 31 points
11. Orlando City: 25 points
Western Conference standings
Clinched a playoff berth
1. FC Dallas: 57 points, 16 wins, +13 GD, 51 GS (31 games played)
2. Sporting Kansas City: 53 points, 15 wins, +18 GD, 56 GS (31 games played)
3. Los Angeles FC: 53 points, 15 wins, +15 GD, 61 GS (31 games played)
4. Portland Timbers: 51 points, 14 wins, +4 GD, 50 GS (32 games played)
5. Seattle Sounders: 47 points, 14 wins, +9 GD, 41 GS (30 games played)
6. Real Salt Lake: 46 points, 13 wins, -3 GD, 51 GS (32 games played)
7. Los Angeles Galaxy: 45 points, 12 wins, +1 GD, 61 GS (32 games played)
8. Vancouver Whitecaps: 43 points, 12 wins, -11 GD, 49 GS (31 games played)
10. Houston Dynamo: 35 points, 9 wins, +5 GD, 50 GS (30 games played)
9. Minnesota United: 36 points (31 games played)
11. Colorado Rapids: 24 points
12. San Jose Earthquakes: 20 points
This week’s games
Even though it's a FIFA international window, there are a few league games. MLS teams can play during FIFA windows if there's a schedule crunch, though the league tries to avoid it.
Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo (Monday, 10:30 p.m., ESPN+): Yes, this game was also in last week's column. This is a Monday column, so here the game is again — and this time, with better math. Because LAFC and Portland won, Seattle will stay in fifth place no matter the result, but with a game in hand on fourth-place, arch-rival Portland. Houston would be eliminated with a loss.
Los Angeles FC vs. Houston Dynamo (Friday, 10 p.m., ESPN+): LAFC is the fifth expansion team to reach the playoffs in its first season.
Minnesota United vs. Colorado Rapids (Saturday, 2 p.m., ESPN+): What do you figure was going through Loons manager Adrian Heath's mind as he sat on the visitors' bench at Talen Energy Stadium?
D.C. United vs. FC Dallas (Saturday, 4:55 p.m., Univision): The biggest game of the weekend is also the game that's on national TV. D.C. would move into sixth place with a win; Dallas would take a big step toward a first-round bye. Might the old "We want Dallas!" chant from RFK Stadium's heyday make its Audi Field debut?
New England Revolution vs. Orlando City (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN+): New England would be eliminated from contention with a loss. Fortunately for the Revolution, Orlando should be beatable.