MLS Decision Day: What’s At Stake

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MLS Decision Day is upon us. Sunday afternoon’s slate with see ten games kicking off at 5pm eastern time with many having major playoff implications. Here’s the full rundown of each game and what’s at stake in each one so you can prioritize which match(es) to pay the most attention to once it all gets started.

MLS Decision Day: What’s At Stake

Playoff Places on the Line

Seattle Sounders vs. Real Sale Late

Both sides are in need of a result here in order to make the playoffs. A draw will suit Real Salt Lake just fine, but Seattle would love a win in order to secure their spot with the Timbers charging hard right behind them. Expect the Sounders to attack hard while Real Sale Lake plays more passively while trying their hardest not to go behind. If Portland wins agaisnt Vancouver, the loser of this match will be on their couches during the playoffs.

You can watch this match on ESPN.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Portland Timbers

For Caleb Porter’s Portland Timbers, the aim is simple. Win and they are in the playoffs for the second year in a row. A draw against already eliminated Vancouver would put their fate in the hands of Sporting Kansas City, who would need to lose for that single point to be enough. If Portland does fail to get in, it will be the first time in MLS history that both of the participants in the previous season’s MLS Cup Final did not return to the postseason.

Sporting Kansas City vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Sporting Kansas City needs to win in order to secure the spot in the playoffs. If they lose, a Portland win or draw will see them on the outside of all the fun. They can get as high as fifth place with a win, depending on how the Real Salt Lake-Seattle clash turns out.

Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls

It would be pretty difficult for Philadelphia Union to drop out of the playoffs. They have a three point lead over New England Revolution for the sixth seed, hold the games won tiebreaker, and have a 12 goal advantage in goal difference. A win or draw would keep it clear that they are going (and a win could bump them up to the five seed), but a loss would have to be a true disaster for them to fall out.

The Red Bulls are pretty much assured the top spot in the East unless a similar disaster befalls them and they lose it to New York City.

New England Revolution vs. Montreal Impact

The Revs need to be on the receiving end of Philadelphia’s meltdown. Nothing short of a blowout win against Montreal Impact and the Union not showing up against New York will put them in the playoffs.

The Impact are looking to leap frog D.C. United for the fourth seed and earn themselves a home game in the knockout round. A win and United loss would do just that.

Playing for the Supporters Shield

LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas

LA Galaxy are locked into the third seed int he Western Conference regardless of what happens here. FC Dallas on the other hand are fighting for the Supporters Shield and the second part of their potential domestic treble. A win or a draw will be enough to earn that prize, while a loss would mean they’d need to rely on Colorado Rapids dropping points at home against Houston Dynamo.

FS1 has you covered if you want to watch.

Colorado Rapids vs. Houston Dynamo

Speaking of that Dynamo-Rapids clash, a win for the Rapids and an FC Dallas loss would give the Rapids an unlikely Supporters Shield.

Looking for Better Seeding

Orlando City vs. D.C. United

D.C. United can hang onto the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and a home game in the knockout round with a win over already eliminated Orlando City.

New York City FC vs. Columbus Crew

New York City is hoping to, at the very least, keep hold of the second seed so they don’t have to play a midweek knockout round game. They have the slimmest of slim chances are winning huge and overcoming their 13 goal deficit in goal difference between them and top seeded New York Red Bulls.

Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire

Toronto FC has the third seed sewn up, but is only a point back of New York City for second place. A win coupled with a City loss would prevent the Reds from having to play a knockout round game at BMO Field.

So, take your pick for any of Sunday’s matches. They all have some impact on the playoff picture. Whether it’s for seeding, the Supporters Shield, or just a place on the dance floor, each of the ten simultaneous matches has something to offer.

You can watch all the non televised matches on an MLS Live subscription, but if you don’t feel like committing to a single match, ESPN2 will have whiparound coverage of all the matches except LA Galaxy-FC Dallas.