Philadelphia Union clinch playoff place, join LAFC as only teams in

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Kacper Przybylko Philadelphia Union 05012019
After sneaking into the post season in 2018, the Union left nothing to chance, beating Atlanta to earn another trip to the playoffs

The marquee matchup in MLS this week featured the top two sides in the Eastern Conference facing off, with the winner offered the chance to book a place in the MLS Cup playoffs.  

Only Los Angeles FC, the runaway leader in MLS this season, had already locked up a place in the playoffs so far - Bob Bradley's side having clinched a berth in mid-August thanks to a historically good run through the campaign.  

LAFC came as little surprise, coming off a first season in the league in which the club looked like a budding power, but for the Union, being the second team in could be seen as something of a shocker.  

Last season the club earned the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference before being bounced in the first round by New York City FC. The 2019 campaign has been a different story for Philly.  

With just eight losses this year compared to 14 last season, the club has already passed its points total from their last campaign with five games to spare.  

Saturday's match against Atlanta United was a test of the highest order for the Union, and Jim Curtin's club passed with flying colours.  

The two sides entered the night locked at the top of the East with 48 points each, and Atlanta went in front through Josef Martinez, who continued his impressive scoring run in the process, just before halftime.  

It was a lovely goal from Atlanta, with Martinez working a clinical one-two at the top of the box before rounding the goalkeeper and slotting home, but it wasn't enough to dent the Union's resolve.  

Brenden Aaronson answered just after the hour mark, pulling Philadelphia level, and a brilliant finish from Kacper Przybylko put the Union out in front in the 86th minute.  

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Sergio Santos added a third for the Union two minutes later, giving the Union a 3-1 win on the night.  

The Union still needed help to lock up their playoff place on Saturday, but the San Jose Earthquakes were more than happy to lend a hand.  

A Magnus Eriksson opener and a pair of goals from Chris Wondolowski had the 'Quakes up 3-0 at halftime over Orlando City, with San Jose holding on for the win, giving the Union the gap needed to mathematically secure one of the top seven spots in the Eastern Conference.