Three Big Storylines
- MLS has some shortcomings when it comes to scheduling. Non-balanced schedules, playing your rivals three times a year, playing through international breaks — stuff like that. But they really get it right with how they close out the season. Every team has now played 32 games (except the New England Revolution and Real Salt Lake who have played 33 games. Revs don’t play this weekend and RSL do not play the final weekend) and will play one home game and one away game to finish out the season. All those games are played this Sunday and next Sunday. It sets up as well as can be for a dramatic end to the regular season before transitioning to the playoffs.
- The Supporters’ Shield is coming down to a historic battle between Atlanta United and the New York Red Bulls. Atlanta have 66 points while the Red Bulls have 65 points. Both teams have realistic shots to break the all time MLS points record of 69, set last year by Toronto FC. Atlanta finish the season home to the Chicago Fire and at Toronto FC while RBNY are at the Philadelphia Union and home against Orlando City.
- D.C. United has made a run up the Eastern Conference table and now sit above the red line on 47 points. Only the Montreal Impact can catch them, they are on 43 points. D.C. are on a four game winning streak and unbeaten in eight matches earning 20 points over that span. It looks like Wayne Rooney will be a first time participant in the MLS postseason. In the Western Conference four teams are vying for the last two playoff spots after FC Dallas, Sporting Kansas City, Los Angeles Football Club and the Seattle Sounders (!) have already punched their tickets. The Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake sit above the red line with the LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps still having a shot to displace one or both.
From a Sounders Point of View
I am cheering for a FC Dallas win over Sporting Kansas City and an unlikely Vancouver Whitecaps away win over Los Angeles FC. If those two results happen then the Sounders have a legitimate path to a first round playoff bye if they can win their last two matches as the Sounders would have the tiebreaker against LAFC and Sporting KC due to Number of Wins. The Sounders trail both teams by three points in the standings and Sporting KC host LAFC in the final game of the season.
National TV Listings
Atlanta United v Chicago Fire
Date/Time: Sunday, Noon
Steaming: Watch ESPN
Minnesota United FC v LA Galaxy
Date/Time: Sunday, 2:00 PM
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Portland Timbers v Real Salt Lake
Date/Time: Sunday, 2:00 PM
TV: ROOT Sports NW
This is your Sounder at Heart MLS Weekend Week 33 open gamethread. Watch with us.