Now that Toronto have clinched the playoffs, that bit of pressure is off them while the rest of the chasing teams must begin to really worry about their final places on the table. At this point, there is little doubt in anyone’s mind that Toronto can maintain their form for the rest of the season, but with both Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore out due to minor injuries for next week’s games, the board is set for Toronto to falter.
1. Toronto FC (Eastern Conference)
Record: 17-8-3 (59 points)
Form: DWWWWW (Last six games)
With a dominant win over San Jose Earthquakes, Toronto have not only secured a spot in the playoffs, but they have edged closer to clinching the Supporters’ Shield. A few more performances like this weeks and they will have nothing to worry about. That said, there is a lot of pressure to perform for this Toronto team, and there is a chance they falter under this pressure.
2. New York City FC (Eastern Conference)
Record: 15-5-8 (50 points)
With a disappointing loss at home against the Timbers, NYCFC have potentially failed one time too many in their pursuit of the shield and might now have to turn their sights away from the high-flying Toronto and towards a good seed in the playoffs.
3. Chicago Fire (Eastern Conference)
Record: 13-6-9 (45 points)
With a draw halting the Fire’s ability to go on a winning streak, it is mathematically improbable that they can win the Shield, and with as tight as competition is becoming in the Eastern Conference they must look to grab as many important conference wins as they can in a bid for a good playoff spot.
4. Vancouver Whitecaps (Western Conference)
Record: 13-5-9 (44 points)
With two important wins, the Whitecaps are now on a five-game unbeaten run and find themselves atop the Western Conference. They have a difficult schedule ahead of them, but if they can batten down the hatches and grab some key results then they just might be able to win the Western Conference title.
5. Portland Timbers (Western Conference)
Record: 12-8-9 (44 points)
The Timbers managed to halt NYCFC’s race for the shield all the while grabbing an important result in their bid for the playoffs. Being a step above the rest in a Western Conference that is as close as it is will be important for them as they head into their final nine games of the season.
6. Seattle Sounders FC (Western Conference)
Record: 11-10-7 (43 points)
After earning their third-straight draw in a row, the Sounders will have to be wandering what they can do differently to earn a win. They will need to find a way to get the win in the upcoming games as the teams below them seem more than capable of overtaking them on the table.
7. Columbus Crew SC (Eastern Conference)
Record: 13-4-12 (43 points)
Really needing a win to keep up with the top of the west, the Crew are now in the mix for any of the bottom four places in the Eastern Conference playoff scheme and are a few bad results away from dropping out of the playoffs altogether. They must find a way to get a few wins out of their last nine games otherwise the teams below them will send them packing out of the playoffs.
8. Sporting Kansas City (Western Conference)
Record: 10-11-6 (41 points)
With a tough run of results these last two weeks, SKC have now completely lost their grasp on what seemed like their Western Conference Title. Whether this can be seen as a case of “resting on one’s laurels” or not is up for debate, but ever since they traded Dom Dwyer to Orlando City things have not been as smooth sailing as they were. They’ll need to buckle down and pull out some stops in order to cement their place in the playoffs.
9. Atlanta United (Eastern Conference)
Record: 12-6-8 (42 points)
With two big wins in a row to christen their new stadium, Atlanta are flying high and show no sign of stopping. Their team is clicking well both offensively and defensively, and with two games in hand, they will need to make quick work of their relatively easy schedule ahead.
10. New York Red Bulls (Eastern Conference)
Record: 12-5-10 (41 points)
Now failing to win in the last four games, the Red Bulls can fall out of the playoff picture with only a few more bad results. The teams directly below them only need a brief surge of good form in order to pass up the Red Bulls on the table. With that in mind, the Red Bulls have shown several times throughout the season that they have the talent to win games, it’s just a matter of that talent stepping up in the next eleven games.