Playoff picture now clearer
With the top seed in the East out of reach, Atlanta now have one goal for the playoffs: clinch the second seed. The first order of business is winning their last two matches, which should happen considering their opponents are Montreal and New England.
Should Atlanta win out (and Philadelphia drop points in any of their matches), they will clinch the second seed. This will guarantee at least one home playoff match. If that game is won, Atlanta will at least get a second home match for the following round.
Atlanta cannot finish lower than fourth in the East, meaning their first playoff game is guaranteed to be at home. The major advantage between the second seed and third seed is the quality of the opponent. Amazingly, there are five teams vying for the final playoff spot. Hypothetically, the difference between playing the sixth and seventh seed is the difference between playing a team like Toronto FC or a team like the New England Revolution. There is a clear advantage to that second seed, and Atlanta must seize the opportunity while they still can.
Unfortunately for the Five Stripes, they don’t control their own destiny and will need help from any of Philadelphia’s remaining opponents, which includes NYCFC on Decision Day. Atlanta will be hoping the Union drop points at some point and will have to win their final two games for a legitimate chance at the second seed.