Toronto FC is one of 13 MLS teams that has already punched their ticket to the playoffs, which are set to begin on November 20th next month. With 41 points and a 12-4-5 record this season, Toronto trails only the Philadelphia Union in the Eastern Conference and entire MLS with a chance to overtake them in their final two games, should they win both and the Union lose theirs.
Regardless of their finish, they look primed to make another deep run in the playoffs, which is something they’ve grown accustomed to in recent years. Toronto FC has made the MLS Cup final in three of the past four seasons (2016, 2017, 2019), having met the Seattle Sounders in the final each time. They won the championship in 2017 with a decisive 3-1 victory over the Sounders in front of more than 30,000 fans at BMO Field in Toronto.
It’s entirely possible that we see the same matchup again this year, with Seattle currently ranked 1st in the Western Conference and 3rd in the MLS in points per game (1.84). There are two other Canadian teams in Vancouver and Montreal that would like a word about that, however.
Both teams are right on the bubble at the moment, with Montreal just hanging inside and Vancouver on the outside looking in. Starting with the Montreal Impact, they’re currently in a five-team battle with Chicago, Miami, DC, and Atlanta for the final two playoff spots.
With 14 teams compared to the west’s 12, the Eastern Conference will see 10 teams make it out of the regular season alive before seeing seeds 7 and 10 and seeds 8 and 9 play each other for a spot in the playoffs. This obviously complicates things when looking at potential playoff matchups, but there is a very real chance that we see Toronto and Montreal face off in round one this year if the Impact can crack the top eight.
Montreal’s two two matches are against Orlando City (4th in the east) tomorrow afternoon at 7:30pm EST, and against D.C. United (12th in the east) on November 8th at 3:30pm EST.
On the west coast, the Vancouver Whitecaps are seeking their first playoff appearance since 2017, after a dismal performance that saw them finish 23rd in the league last year and dead last in the Western Conference. However, they will have their work cut out for them in their remaining two games if they want to make the final eight.
The Whitecaps have failed to get on any sort of run in this bizarre MLS regular season that barely got off the ground in February before being halted for several months in the spring and summer. Since resuming play in July, the team has only managed to win back-to-back games on two occasions, and lost four games in row by a combined score of 13-1 from September 23rd to October 7th.
With a record of 8-13-0, Vancouver has already guaranteed themselves another losing season, but if they squeak into the playoffs anything can happen. Their -19 goal differential is second worst in the league, however, only ahead of Cincinnati FC (-21). If the Whitecaps have any hope of making some noise in the rest of the regular season and potentially in the playoffs, they’ll need to start finding the back of the net.
Vancouver takes on the Portland Timbers tomorrow (3rd in the west) at 7:00pm PST, and conclude their regular season against the LA Galaxy (11th in the west) on November 8th at 3:30pm PST. They’ve played the Timbers once this season and the Galaxy twice, losing all three contests by a score of 1-0.
Right now, Toronto is certainly the favourite north of the border to bring the MLS Cup back to Canada.