Photo: Logan Riely/Logan Riely/Atlanta United
Photo: Logan Riely/Logan Riely/Atlanta United

Breaking down Atlanta United’s chance of finishing first in East

A few things to know about Atlanta United for the week. The team has two games. It will play at Cincinnati on Wednesday and will host San Jose on Saturday as the quest for the top spot in the Eastern Conference continues with a playoff berth already clinched.

1. The team was beaten by Columbus 3-1 on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The loss means that the team trails first-place NYCFC by nine points and Philadelphia by four points.  

Atlanta United can finish with a maximum of 63 points. Atlanta United has five games remaining. NYCFC and Philadelphia have four each. If Atlanta United wins out, NYCFC can finish with a maximum of 66 points. However, Philadelphia will host NYCFC on Decision Day.

2. Here are the remaining opponents with average points per game for each of those teams’ remaining games:

NYCFC: at Dallas (43), vs. Atlanta United (48), at New England (40), at Philadelphia (52). Average: 45.75.

Philadelphia: at New York Red Bulls (41), at San Jose (44), at Columbus (34), vs. NYCFC (57). Average: 44.

Atlanta United: at Cincinnati (21), vs. San Jose (44), at NYCFC (57), at Montreal (37), vs. New England (40). Average: 39.8.

3. The good news for Atlanta United is that NYCFC and Philadelphia must play three of their remaining four games on the road. NYCFC is 6-4-4 on the road this season. It is the second-best road record in MLS, second only to LAFC. Philadelphia is 5-6-2 on the road.

Home records of NYCFC’s remaining opponents:

Dallas: 9-1-5

New England: 7-5-3

Philadelphia: 10-2-4

Home records of Philadelphia’s remaining opponents:

New York Red Bulls: 8-5-2

San Jose: 10-3-2

Columbus: 5-6-5

Home records of Atlanta United’s remaining opponents:

Cincinnati: 3-10-1

NYCFC: 10-1-5

Montreal: 7-6-2

4. As you can see, there is a probability that NYCFC and Philadelphia will drop points in their remaining four games because the opponents’ records and home forms are very good. If Atlanta United can upset NYCFC at Yankee Stadium, Decision Day is going to be very interesting.

Of course, Atlanta United must play better than it has in its past two or Decision Day may be about trying to stay in third place and keep homefield advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Atlanta United is 10-2-3 at home and 5-9-0 on the road this season.

Home or road record of Atlanta United’s remaining opponents:

Cincinnati: 3-10-1

San Jose: 3-9-3

NYCFC: 10-1-5

Montreal: 7-6-2

New England: 3-5-7

5. Atlanta United is actually closer to fourth place than to second. It leads Toronto by three points, but has two games in hand. Toronto is unbeaten in its last seven with three wins.

Toronto’s remaining games are at LAFC (64 points), at Chicago (37 points) and vs. Columbus (34 points).

(from MLS)

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