With around two months of the MLS season left to play, it’s time to start paying attention to the standings. While the race for the Supporters’ Shield and playoff position in the East is important, perhaps the most important race is for the fifth 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: 2018 U.S. Open Cup winner (Houston Dynamo or Philadelphia Union)
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)
Atlanta United extended their lead atop the standings by two points last week after they beat Orlando City and New York City FC were held to a draw by the New York Red Bulls. A four point lead with just eight matches remaining looks good, but the Five Stripes now enter a tough stretch of games, including three very tough away matches against D.C. United, New York Red Bulls, and Toronto FC.
CCL Spot Standings
This week will be tough for Atlanta as they go to the brand new Audi Field for the first time to take on D.C. United. NYCFC are also in for a test as they head to Columbus to take on the Crew. Meanwhile, the Red Bulls play two winnable games against the Houston Dynamo (Home) and Monteal Impact (Away).
It should be an interesting week of jostling in the standings.