There have been plenty of major talking points between April and the current point of the 2021 MLS season, and now we’re heading into the final months of the league. It’s shaping up to be an extremely entertaining end to both of the conferences, with plenty of playoff spots still well and truly up for grabs.
In the Eastern Conference, there’s one runaway team at the moment, and that’s the New England Revolution. They are clearly the team to beat in this year’s MLS season, and are currently 14 points clear of any of their eastern rivals. Granted, they have played two more games than second-placed Orlando City and Nashville SC, but are still way out in front.
Both Orlando & Nashville are level on 38 points, and are the best of the rest. What has been a big frustration for Nashville is the fact that they have only lost twice all season – the least in the league. However, drawing half of their matches has resulted in them dropping points. Orlando has only lost four – the same as leaders, the Revolution.
There are a number of teams battling it out for playoff places in the east, and it could be argued that even 12th-placed New York Red Bulls have an outside chance of appearing in the playoffs. Their city rivals, NYC FC, are currently fourth, just four points from Orlando & Nashville. Last year’s MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew are also in the fight, but as it stands are three points off a playoff place.
The 2021 season has been a struggle for both FC Cincinnati & Toronto FC at the bottom of the conference, with both of them only winning three games all season. It looks very much like their seasons are all-but over, and will already be looking to improve next year.
Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, there’s a real battle at the top, all gunning for that No.1 spot. At the time of writing, it’s the Seattle Sounders that currently claim that top spot in the west, one point ahead of second-placed Colorado Rapids. However, this could be set to change, with the Rapids having a game in hand over their rivals.
Sporting KC, despite their 4-0 loss to LAFC in their latest game, are also in the hunt for the leading spot in the conference, and will look to bounce back quickly to keep up with the opposition. LA Galaxy have also kept up with their western rivals, and are still in the conversation of who will be top by the end of the regular season.
Like the east, the Western Conference also has at least five teams battling for the chance to feature in the postseason. Both Minnesota United & Vancouver Whitecaps FC have turned their respective seasons around, after a disappointing start to 2021, and are now both in the playoff battle.
It’s a sight for sore eyes for the state of Texas, with all three teams in the MLS bottom of the Western Conference. FC Dallas are the best of the three, and have an outside chance of making the playoffs. However, for new franchise Austin FC, and Huston Dynamo, their season looks set to be finished soon. Both on 19 points, they will need a significant comeback in the league for a postseason feature.
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