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An in-depth breakdown of the Eastern Conference

How’s everyone been doing since Atlanta last played?

MLS: Orlando City SC at Atlanta United FC Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

In case you are just re-joining us, here’s what you missed at DSS - Joe and Rob made a fancy video, Tiotal Football did a lot of math that I don’t understand and made it relatable, John and Harry got into about Pro/Rel and are still on speaking terms, finally, Sydney and Sam were allowed to actually go inside the Benz, showing everyone that it is the German luxury automobile of sports and entertainment venues. There was a lot more and I encourage everyone to catch up with what we’ve been up to over the last few weeks.

As for me I wrote some jokes that landed somewhere between dadesque and too obscure and wrote a thing about how football season might steal United’s thunder that went over about as well as covering every conceivable accessible surface of Mercedes Benz Stadium, and everywhere else that can possibly be reached with stickers (apparently one of the supporters groups is inspired by seeing kids slap Blink-182 stickers, or whatever the youngs listen to these days, on their composition books and are plastering MBS, other humans, and the entire town in general with their logo - whoever wrote this song is probably upset they didn’t think of it first).

Nowhere is safe:

But, I digress a lot happened around the league too. In that time, there have been transfers, losing streaks, injuries, and some movement in the conference table. Atlanta is in good shape to make the playoffs with not only games in hand, but points as well. I’m not good at math like TiotalFootball but I do have multimedia skills that are just a step below Rob and Joe so I put them to work here.

Let’s quickly review the table, sticker-vandalism style...

You didn’t come here for that, you came here for in-depth analysis, so let’s get to it.

Toronto Football Club

Since Atlanta’s last game on August 6th, Toronto has been busy. In their last two matches they’ve beaten the Portland Timbers 4-1, showing everyone along the way how far the gulf between the best teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences is. Then they went to Chicago and beat the Fire 3-1 putting aside any thought that the Windy City team would be challenging for the Supporter’s Shield anytime soon.

This team is deep, in form, healthy, and utterly terrifying.

New York City Football Club

The NYCDavidVillas blanked the LA Galaxy 2-0 in California and then came from behind to break New England’s heart last night. They might be getting 18/47 of their goals from Villa but their play has stepped up tremendously since their impressive showing last year.

Chicago Fire

More like Chicago Dumpster Fire. In the last month the team that looked like they would be the turn around story of the year has gone in a different direction. Chicago has lost five of their last six giving up three goals in three of those matches. It appears that the league has figured the Fire out who now look every inch the team led by a washed up European star and USMNT fringe player.

New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls are deceiving people into thinking that they’re good, they are less a Minotaur rampaging their way into the playoffs and more a team that is beating teams worse than they are to sit in a gilded 4th place in the East. In their games while Atlanta was taking its break, they beat Orlando City, played a “B” squad against Cincinnati FC and almost lost, and then played a “B” squad against Portland and did lose. Their schedule gets harder from here on out so it will be interesting to see if they are that mythical bull or just a cow about to give sour milk.

Columbus Crew

The Crew managed a win at home against Chicago and then a draw away to Orlando over the last few weeks. If this team is going to make the playoffs they need to keep taking care of business at home with three straight at Mapfre Stadium coming up or their front loaded schedule will catch up with them.

Montreal Impact

Hold me. After spending much of the season dealing with injuries and sitting near the bottom of the table, Montreal is pouring the gravy on the poutine and throwing on extra curds. They’ve won four in a row putting up 11 goals in that time. Blerim Džemaili has unleashed Nacho Piatti and the Poutine Princes are back it seems. They host Toronto on Sunday in what should be an exciting match.

Atlanta United

The Five Stripes have a chance to pick up six points this week and the team could end up as high as in 3rd place if that happens. It won’t be easy with two games on the road and other teams of course controlling their destiny, but it is fun to think about.

Orlando City Soccer Club

This team is so helpless that they had two games with Atlanta on bye, got one point, and are still behind United in the standings. That point came thanks to a loss to the New York Red Bulls with a bizarro red card and managing just a goal against 10 man Columbus. This team is still loaded with players who don’t mesh and are wrong for Jason Kreis’ system.

Philadelphia Union

After doing nothing in the transfer window and then getting stomped by the Impact at home, Philly headed west to face the San Jose Earthquakes. Under their interim coach, the Quakes have been like a wounded bear - you really have no idea what they’re going to do, they can try to be super defensive, jump all over teams, or just roll over and die. They seemed to be doing the later for about 89 minutes against the Union until a completely unnecessary penalty let Chris Wondolowski steal a draw. Philly is not going any higher than they are any time soon.

New England Revolution

The Revs beat the surprising but inconsistent Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 on August 12 and swiftly rode that momentum to a 1-0 lead against NYCFC on Sunday. Let me show you something:

That says it all. The Revs go one direction, forward. When they take the lead they have no clue how to hold it and yet Jay Heaps insists on playing from five to six forwards on the field at any given moment.

DC United

Saving the best for last. RFK Stadium showed that it is the last of the MLS 1.0 stadiums left in the league - a large cavernous structure half full of fans with a terrible aesthetic on television. DC upgraded their roster to a MLS 2.0 side that could compete in the league five years ago in order to sell season tickets for their MLS 3.0 stadium. Still, things aren’t going great.

The team had to cancel its game against Real Salt Lake, they lost the make-up 1-0, because the pool on the roof sprung a leak and flooded the place:

MLS: Real Salt Lake at D.C. United Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After losing the make up with RSL 1-0 the team traveled west to Colorado. The Rapids handed DCU their most undeserved win of a season filled with undeserved wins when the worst back pass in history scored the game’s only goal.

Colorado plays the most visually assaulting soccer in the league and the backpass is a major reason why their play may tempt spectators at DSG Park to stare into the sun in order to be spared having to watch them play, so this seems appropriate. DC isn’t making the playoffs, they have better players, but failing to score against Colorado is unimpressive to say the least.