Atlanta United’s playoff scenario slightly easier but still challenging

Atlanta United fans fill Mercedes-Benz Stadium to start the match against the Chicago Fire during the first half in a MLS soccer match on Sunday, Oct 21, 2018, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Atlanta United fans fill Mercedes-Benz Stadium to start the match against the Chicago Fire during the first half in a MLS soccer match on Sunday, Oct 21, 2018, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta United’s path to qualifying for the MLS playoffs was made slightly easier but still challenging on Wednesday with Chicago’s 2-2 draw with Minnesota.

Had Chicago lost, an Atlanta United win on Sunday in its finale at Columbus would have guaranteed its a playoff berth. Now, it will need a win or draw and for another result to go its way.

The good news for Atlanta United is it can finish as high as ninth if the results fall its way.

Ten teams from the Eastern Conference will qualify for the playoffs. There is one round of games left. Atlanta United is in 11th place. Because of Chicago’s draw, the Five Stripes trail it and Montreal by one point each.

The tiebreaker sequence is as follows: Number of wins, goal difference, then goals for.

The standings, with points and tiebreakers ( Number of wins, goal difference, then goals for)

9. Montreal, 23 points, 7, minus-11, 30

10. Chicago, 23 points, 5, minus-5, 30

11. Atlanta United, 22 points, 6, minus-6, 22

12. Inter Miami, 21 points, 6, minus-11, 23

13. D.C. United, 21 points, 5, minus-15, 23

These are Atlanta United’s path of the playoffs with one game remaining at Columbus:

Atlanta United must defeat Columbus and have Montreal draw or lose its finale at D.C. United.

OR

Atlanta United must defeat Columbus and have Chicago draw or lose its finale vs. NYCFC.

OR

Atlanta United must draw Columbus and have Chicago lose its finale vs. NYCFC and have Miami draw or lose vs. Cincinnati and have D.C. United draw or lose.

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Atlanta United coming games

Sunday at Columbus (11-5-5), 3:30 p.m., FSSE

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