With just two regular season matches left to play in MLS, things are getting down to the nitty gritty. While the race for the Supporters’ Shield and playoff position in the East is important, perhaps the most important race is for the final spot in the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League. This spot will be awarded to the top American club in MLS with the most combined points over the 2017 and 2018 seasons. The spot was originally due to go to the winner of the 2017 MLS Cup, but Toronto FC are only allowed to qualify for this tournament through the Canadian Championship and have clinched that spot.
Spot 1: Sporting Kansas City (2017 U.S. Open Cup winner)
Spot 2: Toronto FC (2018 Canadian Champions)
Spot 3: Houston Dynamo (2018 U.S. Open Cup winner)
Spot 4: 2018 MLS Cup Champions (Non-Canadian)
Spot 5: Team with best aggregate record over the 2017 and 2018 MLS regular seasons (Non-Canadian)
2019 CCL Spot Update #7
It’s as clear cut as it gets now. As Dirty South Soccer’s golf expert Joe Patrick would say, Atlanta United are now “dormie” against the Red Bulls. Six points separate the two sides with two matches left to play. The Five Stripes will clinch the CCL spot by gaining a point in either of their matches or if the Red Bulls drop a point in theirs.
The only mathematical way for the Red Bulls to claim the spot would be for them to win out and for Atlanta to lose both. They would then win the tiebreaker for having more wins combined between 2017 and 2018.
Never say never when it comes to big leads and Atlanta sports teams, but it may be time to start thinking about booking some extra away trips early in 2019.