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How the Sounders went from fourth to second: A Decision Day timeline

It was a wild day in the Western Conference; we documented the blow-by-blow action here.

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Seattle Sounders FC Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

There has never been an end to a regular season quite like this year. You could argue that from a purely Seattle Sounders perspective that final game of 2014 was more exciting, but what made Sunday’s edition of Decision Day so amazing was how intertwined other results were with where the Sounders ultimately ended up.

Let’s walk through the day...

The day started with the Sounders in fourth place. That meant that if nothing changed, they’d at least be hosting a Knockout Round game against the Portland Timbers. With a single point, they were assured of at least hosting that game and could move up as high as second if they won and FC Dallas dropped points against the Colorado Rapids. The only way they could drop was if the Sounders lost to the Earthquakes and the Timbers won on the road against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

12:30 p.m.: Before the games even kicked off, the Sounders got a bit of a gift. Apparently assuming the Sounders — the only team ahead of them they could still pass — wouldn’t lose to the Earthquakes, the Timbers decided to rest most of their starters.

1:45 p.m.: All the league’s games kicked off.

2:07 p.m.: Maxi Urruti gives FC Dallas a 1-0 lead over the Rapids.

2:12 p.m.: Ola Kamara puts the LA Galaxy up 1-0. The Galaxy leapfrog RSL into the final playoff spot in the West.

2:13 p.m.: Alphonso Davies scores an absolutely gorgeous goal to give the Whitecaps a 1-0 lead over the Timbers.

2:15 p.m.: Kamara adds a second for the Galaxy, who now lead the Houston Dynamo 2-0 at home. RSL looks like they are done and the Galaxy could be riding a wave of momentum into the playoffs, possibly against the Sounders.

2:16 p.m.: Just a few minutes after his first goal, Davies adds a second. It looks like the Sounders will at least be getting a home game.

2:22 p.m.: Roger Espinoza gives Sporting KC a 1-0 lead over LAFC.

2:31 p.m.: It’s halftime across the league. Things remain scoreless in Seattle. At this point, the Sounders have moved into the No. 3 spot ahead of LAFC on the wins tiebreaker. If nothing else changes, they’ll be hosting the LA Galaxy on either Halloween (booooooo!) or Thursday.

<narrator voice> Almost everything will change.

2:46 p.m.: The second half kicks off in Seattle.

3:01 p.m.: The Dynamo pull one back through Romell Quioto.

3:05 p.m.: The Earthquakes take a lead on a Chad Marshall own-goal as Danny Hoesen’s cross deflects off the defender.

3:08 p.m.: LAFC grabs the equalizer on a Carlos Vela penalty. The penalty also led to a red card to Sporting KC’s Seth Sinovic, meaning KC would be playing with 10 men for the final 30 or so minutes. That also temporarily moves LAFC into third, meaning the Sounders are now slated for a Knockout Round game against the Timbers.

3:15 p.m.: Sporting KC pull back ahead of LAFC, meaning the Sounders can get back to third if they can at least equalize.

3:15 p.m.: The Dynamo draw a penalty and convert! It’s now tied in LA, which means RSL are back in playoff position. As this tweet clearly shows, the Galaxy are losing their freaking minds!!!

3:19 p.m.: The Sounders finally find the back of the net on a wonderful cross from Cristian Roldan that Raúl Ruidíaz deflects in off his, ahem, junk. This puts the Sounders into third place.

3:23 p.m.: The Dynamo grab another! They now lead the Galaxy, who will need two goals over the final 11 minutes to move back into playoff position. The Sounders are set for a date with Real Salt Lake, who — by the way — will be playing on at least 10 days’ rest.

3:28 p.m.: The Rapids equalize through 19-year-old Cole Bassett, who becomes the youngest player in club history to score a goal. This opens the door for the Sounders to get a bye if they can score another.

3:32 p.m.: The Rapids take the lead as Tommy Smith scores in the 84th minute. The Sounders are now in the No. 2 position, but could be knocked out of it if FC Dallas can find an equalizer.

3:33 p.m.: The Timbers pull one back, but it’s the 89th minute and it’s probably too little too late to make any sort of change in the standings.

3:33 p.m.: Ruidíaz adds the game-winner! That means that FC Dallas would need two goals to move back ahead.

3:34 p.m.: The Sounders game goes final and news reaches the stadium that FC Dallas is about to lose.

3:39 p.m.: Daniel Steres appears to equalize for the Galaxy in stoppage time, but the goal is ruled offside by VAR. Moments later, the final whistle blows and this is the scene.

3:41 p.m.: The final whistle blows in Kansas City, where Sporting KC claim the top spot in the West.

3:43 p.m.: The game goes final in Colorado, as FC Dallas falls to the Rapids and slip the fourth.

Here’s the tl;dr version:

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