The playoff field is two weeks away from being set and the Eastern Conference race is getting tighter. New England clinched the no. 1 seed in the east and won the Supporters’ Shield on Saturday as MLS regular season champions. Philadelphia usurped Nashville to take second place, and Orlando City held onto fourth after two draws.
Just below the top four, five teams currently ranked from fifth to ninth place are all within three points of each other: New York City (44), New York, Atlanta, Montreal (43) and D.C. United (41).
Here’s a look across the table heading into Week 32:
5-seed New York City FC (12-11-8; 44 points): New York City had one of the biggest jumps in the standings following Week 31. The club had a 4-point gain after a draw against Atlanta and a dominating 6-0 victory over D.C. The club has a chance to move further up the table with matches against Chicago and Miami this week.
6-seed New York Red Bulls (12-11-7; 43 points): New York is one of the hottest teams in the conference. They’ve taken 16 of 18 points in the last month and have gone unbeaten in their last eight matches. This week, the Red Bulls take on D.C. United and Montreal.
7-seed Atlanta United (11-9-10; 43 points): Atlanta wanted a win to kick off its three-game homestand, but the point from the 1-1 draw with New York City was enough to keep Atlanta above the playoff line. The team has a chance to make up some ground this week with two matches at home against Miami and Toronto.
CF Montreal (11-10-10; 43 points): Two points accrued from two draws dropped Montreal from the no. 7 spot it occupied the previous two weeks. It only has one match this week, against the Red Bulls in New York on Saturday.
D.C. United (12-14-5; 41 points): D.C. fell the furthest, dropping from sixth to ninth place in the standings after two straight losses. The club plays twice this week against New York and Columbus.
In the mix:
Inter Miami (11-15-5; 38 points), Columbus (10-13-8; 38 points).
What Atlanta United can do this week:
Most teams in the conference play two matches this week and no position is solidified except New England at no. 1, so getting points at home is vital for Atlanta in the regular season’s final two weeks. The club is coming off an unsatisfying result against NYCFC, a game that Atlanta led until the 90th minute. Next, Atlanta has two games at home against teams in the bottom half of the standings: Inter Miami on Wednesday and Toronto on Saturday.
If both New York City and New York lose or tie on Wednesday, beating Miami could move Atlanta back to fifth place. To catch up to the top four, Atlanta would need to beat both Miami and Toronto AND for Orlando City to go winless in its two matches this week.