The Philadelphia Union wrapped up the Supporters’ Shield and top-seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs on the final day of the MLS regular season
The Philadelphia Union wrapped up the Supporters’ Shield and top seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs on the final day of the MLS regular season on Sunday.
The Union got goals from Sergio Santos and Cory Burke to beat New England 2-0 and claim the Supporters’ Shield for the first time in club history.
“On paper, we’re probably not the most talented or the team that people would pick at the beginning of the year. But that’s what makes pro sports special,” coach Jim Curtain said. “A group of guys that have belief, that have confidence. They get better every day and they’re in a good environment. It’s a special group that we have and again, I couldn’t be more proud of the players.”
Only Philadelphia and Toronto had a chance to lay claim to the regular-season championship entering the final day of the season. But the Union won all tiebreakers with Toronto as long as they won.
Toronto ended up with the No. 2 seed in the East despite a 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls.
“We’re not done yet either, I think we can beat anybody now that they have to come through Subaru Park, so this is going to be a tough place to play,” Curtain said.
All seven games involving teams in the Eastern Conference kicked off at the same time, and there was a huge logjam at the bottom of the standings that ended up with both expansion teams claiming playoff spots.
Nashville had already clinched a postseason berth, but it will have a home match in the play-in round after scoring twice in the final minutes to claim a 3-2 win over Orlando City. Fellow expansion side Inter Miami beat FC Cincinnati 2-1 and claimed the final playoff spot in the East after Chicago lost 4-3 to NYCFC.
One of those expansion sides is guaranteed of advancing, with Nashville hosting Inter Miami. In the other play-in round match, No. 8 seed New England will host ninth-seeded Montreal. The Impact beat D.C. United 3-2 to claim a postseason spot.
The loss to Nashville plus Columbus’ 2-1 win over Atlanta United dropped Orlando City to fourth in the final standings. Orlando City will now face No. 5 seed NYCFC in the opening round of the East playoffs. The other Eastern Conference matchup is No. 3 seed Columbus facing No. 6 seed New York Red Bulls.
All matches in the Western Conference kicked off at the same time later Sunday. All eight playoff spots were locked up but seeding was at stake. Sporting Kansas City, Portland and Seattle all entered the day with a chance to finish with the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage in the West playoffs.
AP Sports Writer Anne M. Peterson contributed to this report.
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