NYCFC now have three points and a goal differential of +4 after two games, which all but ensures that they will make it to the next round — it’s not officially official, but you can bank on it. Toronto and Atlas FC will play each other on Sunday, July 30, in the final game of group East 3, but no result can overcome NYCFC’s goal differential and push them down to third place.
According to Leagues Cup rules, the first tiebreak is head-to-head record, then goal differential. In other words, if Atlas and NYCFC advance, then Atlas will win the group based on the Atlas win on Sunday. If NYCFC and Toronto advance, then NYCFC will win the group based on tonight’s win.
East 3 group scenarios
The Toronto vs Atlas game will determine the final standings of the East 3 group.
- Atlas win: Atlas win group, NYCFC advance
- Atlas and Toronto draw: Atlas win group, NYCFC advance
- Toronto win by two goals or fewer: Atlas win group, NYCFC advance
- Toronto win by three goals or more: NYCFC win group, Toronto advance
The question isn’t, “Will NYCFC advance?” It’s, “Who will win East 3, NYCFC, Atlas, or a Toronto that looked lost earlier tonight magically scores ten goals to overcome New York City’s goal differential?”
The answer to that question is important.
The winners of East 3 will play the winners of East 4 — the first-place team of one group will face the second-place team of the other. East 4 consists of New England Revolution, New Jersey Red Bulls, and Atlético San Luis — New England are guaranteed to advance after taking 4 points from two games, while Red Bulls and San Luis will play for the final spot. Just like in East 3, first place for East 4 is still in play: A New Jersey win and they will top the group, but if they draw or lose then New England will finish in first place.
Red Bulls and San Luis also play on Sunday, July 30. That makes two games NYCFC fans should track this weekend.
NYCFC could be “home” team in Round of 32
No matter the result, NYCFC will advance and play in the Round of 32 on August 2, 3, or 4. More important, they have a chance of being the “home” team depending on the results of the games in East 4. Home-field advantage is determined by the group winner, and while chances are slim that Toronto will beat Atlas by three goals or more to give East 3 to NYCFC, stranger things have happened.
Although that could mean that NYCFC host a “home” game at Red Bull Arena against the New Jersey Red Bulls. Fun times.