With another match week in the books, we have entered the final week of the MLS regular season. The battle for a spot in the MLS Cup playoffs is down to the final match. Or two, depending on which team). Last week’s article covered the 2, 3, and 4 seeds in the Eastern Conference. This week, we will cover the close races at the bottom of the playoff order. These final matches will be vital, with six teams battling it out for the final three spots. The push is on. Let’s get to the MLS Cup Playoff Preview (Part 2).
FC Cincinnati has been quite the turnaround story. After consecutive seasons as the league’s worst team, Cincinnati has soared into a fifth-place position in the east. Head coach Pat Noonan has rallied this club to potentially solidify itself as a hardened club that, despite their previous seasons, has seen a ton of success this year. In a tight race to get into the playoffs for the first time, FC Cincinnati holds the fifth spot with only one point separating them from Orlando and Inter Miami.
Orlando City’s slight advantage (record and goal differential) over Inter Miami and Columbus has them holding on to the sixth spot in the east. Oscar Pareja’s side has seen many ups and downs this season, but captain Mauricio Pereyra has held the team together and propelled them to their position as the season comes to a close. Solid homegrown talent on the roster is minimal, but Orlando City can be a big surprise team in the playoffs. The push is on.
The Best Of The Rest
Inter Miami currently holds the seventh and final spot in the MLS Cup playoffs. With the recent news that forward Gonzalo Higuain will be retiring from MLS after this season, this Inter Miami side is hopeful that they can make an unprecedented run and let the soccer legend retire on top once again. This could have the makings for an amazing story during these playoffs and could potentially give this side a spark they’ve so desperately needed.
There are two more teams on the outside looking in, Columbus and New England. For both of them, having one extra game to play can make all the difference. Columbus is part of a three-team tie for sixth, along with Orlando City and Inter Miami. New England is only one point behind all three of those teams. The final week of the MLS regular season has arrived, and there is still so much possibility for who will be in and who will be out. The push is on.
If you enjoyed the MLS Cup Playoff Preview (Part 2) and for more MLS action, click here.