Without playing a game, New York City FC clinched a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Nashville SC did the heavy lifting, registering a 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. Tuesday night.
NYCFC has reached the playoffs in five consecutive season after failing to reach the postseason in its 2015 expansion campaign.
Randall Leal scored his second goal in his last three matches to go with two assists during that time frame. He and winger Alex Muyl, a former Red Bulls midfielder returning to RBA, combined for the goal.
Muyl sparked the move with a quickly taken free kick that sent Leal through on goal to score with no defenders in sight in the 33rd minute.
Fifth-place NYCFC’s (9-8-3, 30 points) next challenge will be to secure a spot in the top four spots in the Eastern Conference to ensure at least one home playoff game. City visits second-place Toronto FC (12-3-5, 41) in East Hartford, Conn. Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
The playoffs will consist of single-elimination matches hosted by the higher-seeded team and will follow a straight bracket format through the MLS Cup Dec. 12.
Eighteen clubs will compete in the postseason: 10 from East, 8 from West
Western Conference: Top 8 teams qualify directly to Round 1
Eastern Conference: Only the top 6 seeds qualify directly to Round 1. Seeds 7-10 will each compete in a play-in match:
No. 7 seed vs. No. 10 seed
No. 8 seed vs. No. 9 seed
Lowest seed play-in winner advances to face No. 1 seed in the East
Highest seed play-in winner advances to face No. 2 seed in the East