August 19, 2018 Atlanta: Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez (right) celebrates with Franco Escobar and Miguel Almiron on his back after making the MLS season record tieing goal, his 27th, past Columbus Crew defender Jonathan Mensah for a 1-0 lead during the first half in a MLS soccer match on Sunday, August 19, 2018, in Atlanta. The Atlanta United won the game 3-1. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

Atlanta United needs just 3 points to clinch MLS playoff spot

Atlanta United can clinch a spot in the MLS playoffs with a win at D.C. United on Sunday.

The Five Stripes lead MLS with 54 points. 

The team doesn’t even need to win on Sunday. Needing just three points, Atlanta United can clinch a spot in the postseason if the the following happens:

It wins;

Or: Toronto loses or draws, AND Montreal loses or draws, AND New England loses.

Here’s the math:

Atlanta United leads the East with 54 points.

Montreal has 33 points and can take a maximum of 21 points from its remaining seven games  to finish the regular season with 54 points.  Its next game is against New York Red Bulls on Saturday. If the Impact draws with Red Bulls, it will have 34 points and can finish the regular season with a maximum of 52 points should it win its remaining six games. 

Toronto has 27 points and can take a maximum of 27 points from its remaining nine games to finish the regular season with 54 points. Its next game is at Portland on Wednesday. If Toronto draws with the Timbers, it will have 28 points and can finish the regular season with a maximum of 52 points should it win its eight remaining games.

New England has 29 points and can take a maximum of 27 points from its remaining games to finish the regular season with 56 points. Its next game is against Portland on Saturday. If the Revs lose to the Timbers, they can finish the season with a maximum of 53 points should they win their remaining eight games.

Atlanta United became the first expansion team since Seattle in 2009 to clinch a playoff spot last year. It was eliminated by Columbus in the first round.

Here are the points standings in the East heading into Week 27:

Team, points, remaining number of games

Atlanta United, 54, 8

New York Red Bulls, 52, 8

NYCFC, 48, 8

Columbus, 40, 8

Philadelphia, 36, 9

Montreal, 33, 7

New England, 29, 9

D.C. United, 27, 11

Toronto, 27, 9

Chicago, 24, 7

Orlando, 23, 9

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