Three Big Storylines
- In this space we have been watching the Supporters’ Shield race since the World Cup break ended. And it has come down to the final matchday. Atlanta United is at Toronto FC on 69 points. The New York Red Bulls sit on 68 points and are hosting a hapless Orlando City SC squad that have managed just 28 points on the season. The all-time MLS points record coming into this season was 69, set by Toronto FC last year. One of these teams will likely finish the second-best regular season in MLS history and yet not win the Supporters’ Shield. It’s also worth remembering that NYRB replaced their manager midseason, with Jesse Marsch leaving for an assistant job at RB Leipzig and Chris Armas taking over.
- The sixth and last playoff spot in both the Western and Eastern conferences is still up for grabs. The LA Galaxy need a win at home against the Houston Dynamo to secure a playoff spot and knock Real Salt Lake out of the running. RSL are on a bye — their season ended last week. An unfortunate reality of the current 23-team MLS is that someone had to miss out on Decision Day 2018 Presented By AT&T (tm). In the East, the Columbus Crew control their own destiny. The Crew have a two-point lead on the Montreal Impact and host Minnesota United, while the Impact are in New England to play the Revolution. Montreal would have the tie-breaker should Columbus tie and Montreal win.
- The Wooden Spoon in MLS has been sewn up for quite some time, with the San Jose Earthquakes earning just 21 points through 33 games played. Although with 48 goals scored and “only” a -21 goal differential they might not even be the least entertaining team in MLS this season. That distinction is likely going to the Colorado Rapids, who sport a -28 goal differential and only 34 goals scored. Remarkably, the Rapids have a 7-point edge over the Earthquakes coming into Decision Day, so you make the call on most disappointing season.
From a Sounders Point of View
This one is easy. For the Sounders to finish second in the Western Conference and earn a playoff bye all they need is:
Win against the San Jose Earthquakes
FC Dallas Draw or Loss at Colorado
Outside of that scenario, I would be fine if Houston could do Real Salt Lake a favor and knock the LA Galaxy and Zlatan Ibrahimovic out of the playoffs. And I guess it would be nice to see the Crew secure a playoff spot; they have had a lot going on off the field this year so they might as well get one more game.
National TV Listings
Sporting Kansas City v Los Angeles FC
In addition to the National TV game, MLS Soccer will have a an hour-long Decision Day pregame show streamed live.
Date/Time: Sunday, 1:30 PM (simultaneous league-wide kickoffs should be at 1:45)
Steaming: Fox Sports Go
This is your Sounder at Heart MLS Weekend Week 34 open gamethread. Watch with us.