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MLS Decision Day preview: Much at stake

MLS Timbers Whitecaps Soccer

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Tim Parker (26) fights for control of the ball with Darlington Nagbe (6) of the Portland Timbers during the second half of MLS soccer action in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)


Four teams can claim a Western Conference second round berth, while four more can earn a valuable first-round bye in the East.

Yep, there’s plenty to play for beyond the West’s final playoff spot Sunday during Major League Soccer’s Decision Day, when every team will take the pitch for 4 p.m. ET kickoffs.

[ MORE: Conte feels pressure ]

Here’s what we do know regarding the playoffs:

  1. Supporters’ Shield winning Toronto FC gets a first round bye, while No. 6 seed New York Red Bulls are headed to the road for a first round playoff
  2. New England, Montreal, Philadelphia, Orlando, DC, Minnesota, Colorado, and LA will not make the playoffs
  3. Full stop.

So, yes, this will be fun.

First, let’s look at the Eastern Conference Standings ahead of Sunday’s extravaganza:

Eastern Conference
Toronto FC33208572353713-3-17-5-468
x - New York City FC33168954411310-4-26-4-756
x - Chicago331671061441712-3-24-4-855
x - Atlanta33159968383011-2-34-7-654
x - Columbus33165125147412-2-34-3-953
x - New York3313812514659-6-24-2-1047

-- New York City FC controls its bye destiny, though Columbus could join them on 56 points and would pass them on tiebreakers (wins).

-- If that happens, Chicago could claim the second bye with a win or draw in Houston (The Fire owns the goal differential tiebreaker).

-- If New York City and Chicago lose or draw, Atlanta could finish second with a home win over TFC.

-- Columbus can finish second with a win and non-wins for Chicago and Atlanta.

Western Conference
x - Vancouver3315711494729-5-36-2-852
x - Portland33148115849910-4-24-4-950
x - Seattle331311949391010-5-13-6-850
x - Sporting KC331213839271210-6-12-7-749
x - Houston331211105445911-4-11-7-947
San Jose33127143658-229-5-23-2-1243
FC Dallas331013104347-47-7-23-6-843
Real Salt Lake33126154754-78-4-44-2-1142


-- Vancouver finishes first with a win or draw at Portland. The ‘Caps could finish as low as third with a loss to Portland and a Seattle win versus Colorado.

-- Portland finishes first -- and wins the Cascadia Cup -- with a win over visiting Vancouver.

-- Seattle can claim a first round bye with a win over visiting Colorado and a Vancouver win over Portland.

-- Sporting KC can finish second with a win at Real Salt Lake and non-wins for Portland and Seattle.

Final playoff spot

-- San Jose claims the sixth seed with a home win over Minnesota. They can also finish sixth with a draw joined by non-wins for FC Dallas at home to LA and Real Salt Lake at home versus SKC.

-- FC Dallas claims the sixth seed with a win over LA and a San Jose draw or loss versus Minnesota. FCD gets sixth with a draw, and a San Jose loss coupled with a RSL loss or draw versus SKC.

-- Real Salt Lake gets sixth with a win over SKC, and non-wins from San Jose and Dallas. RSL could also get sixth with a draw and losses for San Jose and Dallas.

Real Salt Lake v Sporting Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, KS - APRIL 11: Mid-fielder Benny Feilhaber #10 of Sporting Kansas City battles for the ball with mid-fieler Kyle Beckerman #5 of Real Salt Lake during the first half on April 11, 2015 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

Getty Images

FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy
DC United vs. New York Red Bulls
San Jose vs. Minnesota United
Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting KC
Houston vs. Chicago
Seattle vs. Colorado
Philadelphia vs. Orlando City
Portland vs. Vancouver
Montreal vs. New England
New York City vs. Columbus
Atlanta vs. Toronto


-- NYCFC hangs on for a draw against Columbus, earning a bye, leaving Chicago to host New York Red Bulls and Atlanta off to Columbus for the first round of the playoffs (We have Toronto beating Atlanta on Sunday).

-- Vancouver and Portland draw, while Seattle beats Colorado. The ‘Caps and Sounders get byes, while Seattle takes back the Cascadia Cup.

-- San Jose beats Minnesota, gaining the West’s sixth seed. The Quakes head to Portland for the first round, while SKC hosts Houston.

Follow @NicholasMendola