Philadelphia Union Poised for Playoffs

Julián Carranza, Courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer

The Philadelphia Union (15-8-9, 54 points) sits comfortably with two matches left in MLS regular season play. 

After an undefeated September, the Eastern Conference’s third-ranked team kept their momentum against sixth-ranked Atlanta United FC (13-9-10, 49 points) on Wednesday night. Competing at Subaru Park in Chester, PA, the Union opened the first half with three goals, and while United responded with two of their own, it was not enough to defeat the home team.

The reigning MLS Eastern Conference Champions will face seventh-ranked Nashville SC (12-10-9, 45 points) on Saturday, again at Subaru Park. The Union’s final match takes place one week later against fifth-ranked New England Revolution (14-7-10, 52 points) at Gillette Stadium.

Philadelphia is certain to earn a seat at the postseason table come MLS’s fateful “Decision Day” on Oct. 21, which determines the nine teams from each conference (East and West) that advance. 

Per MLS’s new playoff format for the 2023 season, the top seven ranked teams automatically qualify for the Round One Best-of-Three series, set to begin on Oct. 28. The eighth- and ninth-ranked teams compete in a Wild Card playoff match prior to Round One, either on Oct. 25 or Oct. 26.

Philadelphia clinched enough points for postseason participation with a 2-2 draw against thirteenth-ranked Charlotte FC (8-11-12, 36 points) on Sept. 20. Even if the Union suffer defeat in both upcoming matches, they will still make their sixth-straight trip to the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Eighth-ranked Chicago Fire FC (10-12-10) sits with 40 points, and ninth-ranked CF Montreal (11-16-5) has 38. Two wins for each of these wild card teams will not grant enough points to supersede the Union. Chicago would jump to 46 points, while Montreal would sit with 44 points. 

The Union’s positioning in the postseason, however, is all but confirmed. Second place, occupied by Orlando City (16-7-9), is three points away (57) and up for grabs, while fourth-ranked Columbus Crew (15-9-8) and fifth-ranked New England are on the Union’s heels, trailing by one (53) and two points (52), respectively.

The Union’s performance next week will determine their seed in the playoffs and whether they compete in front of their beloved home crowd beginning Oct. 28.

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