With only one playoff spot left to claim in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference, the teams are actually enjoying their spaces, in anticipation of the final results. The month of October, therefore, has a lot of drama and suspense to be unfolded for the MLS teams.
As there are only a few days left for the final Decision Day, Toronto is hoping to reign the playoffs as they ruled the entire league at 19-5-8 (65 points) this MLS season. With Reds claiming the Supporters’ Shield last weekend with a 4-2 victory over the New York Red Bulls, it’s time to see what the Red Bulls are made of. They finished the regular season to clinch that final spot for the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Despite the lack of wins and points in the recent weeks, the Red Bulls are playing some pretty good soccer. Even with the losses and disappointing draws, New York had more possession per game in September than they did in August (58.3 percent vs. 56.9 percent) and shots on goal (6.2 shots on goal per game versus 4.5 shots on goal per game).
Manager Peter Vermes’ men (12-7-11, 47 points) are currently in a three-way tie for second place in the Western Conference but have two games in hand on both Seattle Sounders FC and Portland Timbers. Minnesota United FC, meanwhile, sits seven points below the playoff line but have scored 13 goals over their last four games — an impressive stretch that includes three wins. The Loons (10-16-5, 35 points) are coming off a 3-2 victory at high-flying Atlanta United FC.
As this season gets underway, Seattle will be looking to not only become the fourth team to become a back-to-back champion, but also the sixth team to reach consecutive MLS Cups.
2017 MLS Cup Playoffs schedule
- The postseason will follow the same competition format first implemented in 2015, with the top six teams from the Eastern and Western Conferences qualifying.
- The playoffs will begin with the single-elimination Knockout Round on Oct. 25 and 26, with the third seed from each conference hosting the sixth seed and the fourth seed hosting the fifth seed.
- Knockout Round winners will advance to the two-legged, aggregate-goal series Conference Semifinals, which will be held on Sunday, Oct. 29 and Sunday, Nov. 5.
- Each conference’s top seed will host the lowest seeded Knockout Round winner, while the second seed will play the higher seeded Knockout Round winner.
- The league will take a break to observe the international FIFA window from Nov. 6-14 before resuming the two-game, aggregate-goal format Conference Championship series on Tuesday, Nov. 21.
- The second legs of the both Conference Championship series will be played between Nov. 28 and Nov. 30.
- The 2017 season will then culminate with MLS Cup on Saturday, Dec. 9 at the home stadium of the finalist with the better regular season record.
- It’ll be the 22nd edition of the one-game, winner-take-all final, and the sixth season in a row that MLS Cup will be hosted by the finalist with the better regular season record.
This MLS season saw some terrific players in action like Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miguel Almiron, David Villa, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan among others. Moving towards the final playoffs it would be interesting to see which player takes his team to the MLS 2017 Trophy.
*Dates given in the article are as per the ET schedule, it may vary according to the IST zone.