Idle LAFC wrapped up MLS's Western Conference title with
five games to play when Minnesota United fell to Houston, 2-0, on Wednesday night.
NYCFC could have broken open the Eastern Conference race when it hosted Toronto FC but it had to settle for a 1-1 tie. It moves into the home stretch with a three-point lead over Philadelphia and six-point lead over Atlanta United, which has a game in hand.
Sean Johnson, released from the U.S. national team after Friday's Mexico tonight, saved NYCFC a point when he stopped Alejandro Pozuelo’s second penalty kick.
“Sean has experience," said NYCFC coach Dome Torrent. "He saved the penalty, it is good, it is a good feeling. I am happy because in the last six games of 18 points we got 16 points. It is good news for us, that is the reason now that we are in the top of the [Eastern Conference] and we will try to finish in the first position.”
Philadelphia and Atlanta United will each get a chance to take down NYCFC in the next month.
1. New York City FC (54 points, 29 games, record: 15-5-9 , GD: +18)
Schedule: Sept. 14 San Jose Sept. 22 at FC Dallas Sept. 25 Atlanta United Sept. 29 at New England Oct. 6 at Philadelphia.
2. Philadelphia Union (51 points, 29 games, record: 15-8-6, GD: +12)
Schedule: Sept. 14 LAFC Sept. 22 at NY Red Bulls Sept. 25 at San Jose Sept. 29 at Columbus Oct. 6 NYCFC.
3. Atlanta United (48 points, 28 games, record: 15-10-3, GD: +14)
Schedule: Sept. 14 Columbus Sept. 18 at FC Cincinnati Sept. 21 San Jose Sept. 25 at NYCFC Sept. 29 at Montreal Oct. 6 New England.
Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports