As you know, the Philadelphia Union are on a fantastic playoff run. The #2 seed in the Eastern Conference, they knocked off New York Red Bulls in the first round, then dispatched Nashville in penalty kicks to advance to the conference final for the first time ever.
Tuesday night, the #4 seed NYC FC beat the #1 seed, New England, which means the Union are hosting the final at Subaru Park on Sunday afternoon.
Here’s how the bracket looks:
There’s some confusion about home field advantage here, so I’ll lay it out sequentially:
- The Union are seeded higher than NYC in the east, so they host the conference final.
- If the Union and RSL both win, MLS Cup takes place in Philly.
- If the Union and Portland both win, MLS Cup is in Portland.
The reason it’s funky is because while the Union are the #2 seed in the East and Portland is the #4 seed in the West, the Timbers actually finished with more regular season points than Philadelphia. They finished with 55 and we finished with 54, so that’s why they would host the final if it ended up being Philly/Portland. RSL finished with 48 points, so they go on the road no matter what.
Maybe I just jinxed it right there by looking ahead, but this shaped up PERFECTLY for the Union. They avoided the #1 seed Revs, a road game at Gillette Stadium. NYC’s best player, Valentin Castellanos, was red carded in the semifinals and is SUSPENDED for this match. He won the Golden Boot this year as Major League Soccer’s top scorer. That is a massive loss for New York. And furthermore, if the Union do make it to MLS Cup, they won’t be playing against Colorado, Seattle, or Kansas City, who were the top three seeds in the West and knocked out early.
It’s really something to behold. The Union have never made it this far and the path in front of them is favorable. They are two wins away from their first championship and winning trophies in back-to-back years.
Let’s go baby, doop doop doop.
… and now Valentín Castellanos is sent off minutes after his extra time goal 😅 pic.twitter.com/lqiGU7jjj9
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 1, 2021