MLS Countdown: Philly and friends fight for first

So tightly bunched are the teams atop the Eastern Conference that their head-to-head meetings over the next two weekends could dramatically re-shape the standings.

The Philadelphia Union is in second place, sandwiched between the New York teams heading into a home showdown Sunday against the Red Bulls, who jumped into third Wednesday by beating Orlando City, 2-0, despite resting a few starters, including Sacha Kljestan. Philly is a point back of leader New York City FC, whose game with Montreal will end about the same time Philly and the Red Bulls kick off.
 
Eastern Conference Leaders
1. New York City 8-6-6, 30 pts. This week: at Montreal. Next week: at Red Bulls.
2. Philadelphia 8-6-5, 29 pts. This week: Red Bulls. Next week: at Montreal.
3. NY Red Bulls 8-9-3, 27 pts. This week: at Philly. Next week: New York City.
4. Montreal 6-4-8, 26 pts. This week: New York City. Next week: Philadelphia.

A Philly win on Sunday ensures first place heading into an Open Cup game with New England Wednesday and a match at Montreal three days after that. A week from Sunday NYCFC plays at Red Bull Arena. If the Impact manages to sweep both of its games -- not far-fetched since it plays both of them at home -- it could be in first place at the All-Star break.

The Eastern Conference takes a lot of ridicule for producing so many "top" teams just above or below the .500 mark. But for the next two weekends at least, it should generate some insanely intense games.
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