The MLS Season is coming upon us, and although there is speculation on how the MLS playoff format will be, a good amount of teams are coming into this season with realistic playoff aspirations. For now, this prediction will be the usual seven-team playoff format.

The Eastern Conference saw a ton of award winners for the MLS. The Eastern Conference had the winner of the Newcomer of the Year (Thiago Almada), Coach of the Year (Jim Curtain), Defender of the Year (Jakob Glesnes), and Goalkeeper of the Year (Andre Blake). Philadelphia Union represented the Eastern Conference in the MLS Cup last season, losing to LAFC 3-0 on penalties in the final.

Will Philadelphia have a similar year? What teams will shock the league and stake their names as playoff clubs? And what teams will fall short? These are the seven playoff teams that will make the MLS playoffs.

Eastern Conference

Philadelphia Union- The MLS Cup runner-ups should still be the biggest force to deal with in the east until proven otherwise. The Union will come into this season with nearly the same team, only this time, they will be out for revenge.

NYCFC- New York City FC has not missed the playoffs since 2015, so there is no reason for this squad to miss the playoffs. However, they will try to improve their first-round exit this year.

New York Red Bulls- Even more impressive is the New York Red Bull’s playoff streak. The Red Bulls have not missed the playoffs since 2009, and if the MLS adds nine teams to the playoffs, the Red Bulls are almost guaranteed a spot.

Atlanta United- Atlanta United had a down season last year. However, this season, Atlanta has spent the money to be a competitive team. Atlanta lost Joseph Martinez but gained Giorgos Giakoumakis from Celtic FC and will look to get back into the playoffs.

Columbus Crew- The Columbus Crew had all the talent to be a solid playoff team last season. However, the number of blown leads really took easy points away from them. With new manager Wilfred Nancy, who took Montreal to a second seed last season, and a full season with Cucho Hernandez paired with Lucas Zelarayan, this team should be a dangerous playoff squad.

FC Cincinnati- FC Cincinnati shocked the MLS world last season, going from the worst team in the Eastern Conference to a solid playoff team. The doubters will say they must prove consistency, but Cincinnati has slowly built a squad to believe in.

Toronto FC- Toronto FC has brought in the likes of Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi to make a run at the MLS Cup. However, last season they didn’t even come close to the playoffs. This needs to be Toronto’s year to bounce back.