Things are really starting to heat up in the MLS this season, which has been hectic and filled with unexpected events and results. The MLS Cup playoffs are now scheduled to kick off in the middle of November, and this season has been expanded to include an add-on of nine extra regular season matches for most clubs.
Here is an update of where teams are in the Eastern Conference at present and who we can expect to be making an appearance in the 2020 playoffs.
The top six seeds out of a total of 14 teams from the Eastern Conference will qualify directly to the first round. Eastern Conference seeds seven to 10 will each compete in a play-in match, which will then decide who the two additional Eastern Conference teams will be that will qualify for the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs first round.
As it stands, Toronto FC is in first place in the eastern conference, with 11 wins in 18 games played. However, Philadelphia Union are following closely behind win 10 wins in 18 games played, followed by Columbus Crew SC with nine wins in 17 games played. The other three clubs in top positions include Orlando City SC, New England Revolution and New York City FC.
Fans in Pennsylvania betting via sportsbooks will most like be hoping that Philadelphia Union comes out on top. The very latest odds can be viewed via OLBG’s list of recommended Pennsylvania sportsbooks.
If nothing was to change, here is how the playoffs would match up:
- New York Red Bulls (7th) vs. Atlanta United (10th)
- Nashville SC (8th) vs. Montreal Impact (9th)
The first round would then look something like this:
- Toronto FC vs. lower seeded play-in winner
- Philadelphia Union vs. higher seeded play-in winner
- Columbus Crew SC vs. New York City FC
- Orlando City SC vs. New England Revolution
Front runners Toronto FC have played excellently in the conference this season. Until their game against the New York Red Bulls last week, the club were celebrating a five game winning streak. Perhaps a little overly confident, their streak was put to an end on Wednesday when 17 year old Caden Clark scored the tying goal in the 77th minute, ending the game with a 1 - 1 draw. He is officially the youngest player in MLS history to score a goal in his first two games. His shot was aimed at the middle of the box and sailed straight over the head of Toronto goalkeeper Quentin Westburg who attempted to dive for it.
The squad was recently boosted by the arrival of England team Liverpool’s left back Tony Gallacher, who will be on loan to them until at least December.
On Sunday 18 October, the club were disappointed to learn that they would not receive this year’s Supporters' Shield, which is usually given to the team with the best regular season record. Coach Greg Vanney shared his strong disagreement with the decision. The decision was made based on the lack of fans in the stand and on the basis that scheduling changes will mean that some teams will only play eight, whereas others will play as many as sixteen. Let's hope these setbacks don't distract the team from winning against Atlanta United in their upcoming game.
New England Revolution have also set their sights on finishing in the top four. The Revs recently entered the fourth meeting with Philadelphia Union in fifth place.
Player Matt Turner explained in a recent video conference with reporters that the team is confident that they will be hosting a playoff game and that they are currently jockeying for position. Turner has a goal of his own, which is to end his unfortunate winless streak against games with Philly Union. Union last found victory against them on September 12 with an unforgettable goal scored by Anthony Fontana.
In order to finally beat Philadelphia Union, the team will need to pay a bit more attention to detail according to their head coach, Bruce Arena.
Currently sat in third, Columbus Crew SC have had an interesting season so far. They seem to have a vengeance towards one team in particular, having won against FC Cincinnati 0 - 4 back in July and more recently winning against them again 3 - 0 in September. Their biggest upcoming challenge may be at the beginning of November when they face current second place team Philadelphia Union.
If the season continues to be as unpredictable as it has been thus far, things may not be as easy as hoped for current favourites to win, Toronto FC. If you want to keep up to date on all the action in the Eastern Conference as it happens, as well as evaluating predictions for the upcoming playoffs, take a look at the latest odds and even place a bet via one of the many online sportsbooks.