“I think Atlanta is still in the driver’s seat,” New York’s Sean Davis told MLSSoccer.com. “We’re putting pressure on them, doing everything possible to give ourselves the best chance. It’s important for us to go into the playoffs with good momentum and continue to improve. The big picture is MLS Cup and we know we still have some things we want to improve on.”
Atlanta United’s and New York Red Bulls’ remaining schedules don’t help in trying to predict who is the favorite.
The Five Stripes will host New England and Chicago before wrapping up the regular season at Toronto. New England is in eighth in the East with 35 points. Chicago has 31 and Toronto 33. None are above the red line in the East. Chicago has been eliminated from the playoffs and Toronto will likely be eliminated from the playoffs by the time each faces Atlanta United.
Atlanta United is 1-0-2 this season against its remaining opponents. It had the Revs beaten until a controversial late penalty call opened the door for the draw. It defeated Chicago 2-1 and tied with Toronto 2-2. Atlanta United also had Toronto beaten until a goal in the 91st minute by Tosaint Ricketts earned the draw.
Of course, in last season’s regular-season finale, Toronto denied Atlanta United a chance at the second seed in the East with a late goal by Sebastian Giovinco. He may get the chance to prevent Atlanta United from earning something much more important on Oct. 28.
The Red Bulls will play at San Jose on Oct. 6, at Philadelphia on Oct. 21 and will host Orlando City on Oct. 28. San Jose has 20 points and is already been eliminated from the playoffs. Philadelphia is in fifth in the East with 47 points. Orlando has 25 points and is mathematically still alive in the playoff race.
The Red Bulls have yet to play San Jose this season. It was beaten by Orlando 4-3 in a game in which it fielded a lot of its reserves because it was in a stretch of CONCACAF Champions League games. It drew Philadelphia 0-0.
Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan didn’t seem concerned that the way Atlanta United lost to the Red Bulls might affect the team’s momentum. It was just the third time the team has been shutout this season and the second time on the road.
"Correct me if I'm wrong, are we still one point ahead? So, there's three games to go," Guzan said. "We turn our focus to New England. There's no need to panic."