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2019 CCL Spot Update: A three-team race?

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The Red Bulls are coming.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at New York City FC Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

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)

CCL Spot Update #3

Team Points Matches Remaining
Team Points Matches Remaining
Atlanta United 109 7
NYCFC 105 7
Red Bulls 105 6
Columbus Crew 97 7
FC Dallas 95 8
Seattle Sounders 94 8
Portland Timbers 94 8

Atlanta United remain four points clear of their closest challenger for the spot after all three top contenders lost on the weekend. However, the New York Red Bulls have climbed level with NYCFC, just four points behind, after winning at midweek. While they are now in the hunt, they’ll have one less match to get points than both NYCFC and Atlanta.

NYCFC is the only team in action during the current slate of international friendlies. They play twice, in fact. Tonight they host the New England Revolution and then they’ll take on D.C. United also at home this weekend. Two home matches offer the blue half of New York a good chance to catch-up in both races. Can they take advantage?