MLS Decision Day preview: Much at stake
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.
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Here’s what we do know regarding the playoffs:
- 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
- New England, Montreal, Philadelphia, Orlando, DC, Minnesota, Colorado, and LA will not make the playoffs
- Full stop.
So, yes, this will be fun.
First, let’s look at the Eastern Conference Standings ahead of Sunday’s extravaganza:
|x - New York City FC||33||16||8||9||54||41||13||10-4-2||6-4-7||56|
|x - Chicago||33||16||7||10||61||44||17||12-3-2||4-4-8||55|
|x - Atlanta||33||15||9||9||68||38||30||11-2-3||4-7-6||54|
|x - Columbus||33||16||5||12||51||47||4||12-2-3||4-3-9||53|
|x - New York||33||13||8||12||51||46||5||9-6-2||4-2-10||47|
-- 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.
|x - Vancouver||33||15||7||11||49||47||2||9-5-3||6-2-8||52|
|x - Portland||33||14||8||11||58||49||9||10-4-2||4-4-9||50|
|x - Seattle||33||13||11||9||49||39||10||10-5-1||3-6-8||50|
|x - Sporting KC||33||12||13||8||39||27||12||10-6-1||2-7-7||49|
|x - Houston||33||12||11||10||54||45||9||11-4-1||1-7-9||47|
|Real Salt Lake||33||12||6||15||47||54||-7||8-4-4||4-2-11||42|
-- 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.
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.