Here is this week's edition of 27 Takeaways, one observation on every MLS team coming off all the action.
With 10 goals in their last three games and only two conceded, it’s no surprise to see Atlanta surging up the table. They could soon reach third place in the Eastern Conference, which is perhaps the biggest proof of just how good they’ve been lately.
It’s very hard to win games when conceding at the rate Austin FC does. They managed to score more than a single goal in a game for the first time in four games, but that was overshadowed by the defensive collapse that let points slip away at Q2 Stadium.
The goals have severely dried up – just one in five – and Chicago now face the East's top three teams, all after a lengthy road swing. It’s a tough stretch, but the silver lining is each game is at home – and maximum points are vital to preserve faint playoff hopes.
Is it time for FC Cincinnati to look ahead to next season? The playoffs are a distant dream for them, though they’ll keep fighting until the math can’t fall their way.
Three straight draws and the common theme is that Colorado have let a lead slip in each one. Just a minor blip for sure, but they’ll be disappointed that they haven’t made better use of their games in hand to take the West’s No. 1 spot.
Columbus needed something, a spark, to get themselves back on track and they got it from Eloy Room at New England. If not for their goalkeeper, it’d have been another defeat and maybe the end of their season. As it is, the defending MLS Cup champions have a chance to use the momentum from the point gained to mount a run that gets them into the East’s seven playoff places.
FC Dallas parting ways with Luchi Gonzalez seems to be less about sparking a run for the playoffs this season and more about starting to look towards next year. They’ve also shipped 15 goals in their last six games, so that’s an immediate starting point for interim boss Marco Ferruzzi to address.
It’s been a stop-start season devoid of any consistency. A couple of wins, a couple of defeats, play well and then play poorly – LAFC haven't sustained their best level, partly due to key absences. The goal should be to simply make the playoffs – whatever it takes – and then try to be as healthy as possible to make a run for it.
Leaking goals has been LA’s weakness all season long, and it’s threatening to undo all the good work they’ve done until now. It’s rare to see a team so high up in the table have a negative goal differential, and that’s why Portland and RSL are threatening to knock them out of the West’s top four.
Inter Miami’s six-match unbeaten run was snapped in devastating fashion, but all that matters now is how they respond. Their destiny is still in their own hands, though they’ll have to go on another run since the East’s playoff race is incredibly tight.
CF Montréal are within touching distance of second place in the East and picked up another impressive win at the weekend. They have a tough stretch of games coming up, and if they’re to emerge from those still in good standing, fans could be forgiven for beginning to dream about a magical playoff run.
Nashville suffered only their third defeat of the season, but it was enough to keep those chasing them within arms reach. Four of the next five are away from Nissan Stadium, and while they’re a good road team, they’ll need to be at their very best to keep this impressive season going.
When you fire off 33 shots, you should expect to win – so their 1-1 draw with Columbus was definitely a case of two points dropped. New England's lead atop the East and Supporters’ Shield standings is sizable enough that it didn’t really change much for them. Their biggest enemy will be complacency, but that’s not something Bruce Arena will allow.
A big win against an in-form team should serve as the perfect preparation for the upcoming rivalry games. With a 12th straight playoffs trip hanging in the balance, RBNY know what’s at stake. There’s little room for error the rest of the way, starting with their upcoming two straight New York derbies.
The last thing you want after three straight defeats is for your next two games to be away from home against the top two teams in the conference. If Orlando don’t right the ship soon, Montréal and Atlanta will surpass them in a matter of weeks.
Philadelphia looked something like the team we've come to expect under Jim Curtin – creative, expansive and dynamic. Kacper Przybylko was the hero with his brace, but they got good performances all over the pitch. With red-hot Atlanta coming to town next, they’ll need to be at their very best yet again.
He wasn’t on the scoresheet, but Sebastian Blanco once again was the spark who made everything happen. He was playing at an MVP level before tearing his ACL last season, so it’s great to see him back fit and playing at a high level. It’s good for Timbers fans, but also good for the league in general.
With one eye on Wednesday's Leagues Cup Final against Club Leon, Seattle rolled out a rotated squad at RSL and came up short. Upon returning from Las Vegas, they will lock horns with Sporting Kansas City in the battle for Western Conference supremacy – a tough game in the best of times, even more so on a short turnaround after a title match.
SKC have a chance to create some separation when they host the Sounders next. In their last outing, they looked formidable at both ends of the pitch by dismantling Minnesota United. They’re rounding into top form at just the right time.
An unexpected win against Nashville ended Toronto’s six-match losing streak. While attention has largely turned to next season, the players showed that they can go toe-to-toe against MLS’ very best teams. They just haven’t done it anywhere nearly enough in 2021.
Vancouver earned a good point away from home against a good Rapids team as they continue to chase a Western Conference playoff place. They need to get a result against Dallas in their next game to keep the pressure on those above them.