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Red Line Report: It’s within sight

What was once a chase for respectability now looks like a real chance at making the MLS Cup Playoffs for a 10th straight season.

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MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps at New York City FC Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

There are 11 12 matches left for the Seattle Sounders to pass that red line. With two-thirds of the season done the hunt for the West’s final two spots seems to be down to six teams. This new semi-regular feature will focus on just those teams.

Those Above

LA Galaxy - 35 points

Last game

LA Galaxy collapse to Colorado Rapids 2-1 - LAG Confidential
Nine game unbeaten streak ends

This week’s schedule: August 11 they host Minnesota at 7:30 PM (ESPN+). Loons are 1-9-0 on the road.

Real Salt Lake - 34 points

Last game

Damir Kreilach takes over as RSL find nervy 2-1 win over Chicago Fire - RSL Soapbox
It was a nervy match for RSL in which they never looked as good as they should.

This week’s schedule: August 11 they host Montreal at 7:00 PM (ESPN+). Impact are 2-9-1 on the road.

Those Below

Vancouver Whitecaps - 30 points

Last game

Match Report: New York City FC v. Vancouver Whitecaps - Eighty Six Forever
The ‘Caps managed to find a late equalizer with a patchwork squad and left Yankee Stadium with a hard fought point. It’s a good result which keeps them right in the thick of things in the Western Conference playoff race.

This week’s schedule: They host Toronto in leg one of the Canadian Championship on August 8 at 7 PM. On August 11 they travel to Portland for an 8:00 PM match on ROOT Sports NW. Timbers are 7-0-3 at home.

Seattle Sounders - 29 points

Last game

Sounders at Minnesota United Loons, recap: Don’t call it a comeback - Sounder At Heart
Nicolas Lodeiro and Will Bruin both score in stoppage time to power Seattle to 2-1 win.

This week’s schedule: They host Dallas on August 12 at 7:00 PM (this is a time change, FS1). The Toros are 5-3-2 on the road.

Minnesota United Loons - 28 points

Last game

Recap: Late PK, goal give Seattle victory over Loons - E Pluribus Loonum
Darwin Quintero scored one but a VAR decision erased the lead in the 90th minute and Will Bruin put the game to bed.

This week’s schedule: They travel to Galaxy for a August 11 match at 7:30 PM (ESPN+). The Galaxy are 6-4-1 at home.


Last game

Ejections and chaos reign in Houston Dynamo loss to Sporting KC - Dynamo Theory
PRO referees are trash. Wilmer Cabrera, Alejandro Fuenmayor, Darwin Ceren and Alberth Elis all ejected from game.

This week’s schedule: They host LAFC in the US Open Cup on August 8 at 5:30 PM (, probably). They also travel to Columbus for an August 11 match at 4:30 PM (ESPN+). The Crew are 7-2-3 at home.

The race, essentially, is down to those six teams.

Shield Hunt

This doesn’t involve Seattle, but I wish it would. It’s a four-team race at this point. Here are their recaps in order of current points.

AUFC - 48

RECAP: Atlanta United stung by late goal, draws Toronto FC 2-2 - Dirty South Soccer
Despite a Josef Martinez brace, a late lapse sees points slip away.

RBNY - 44

Royer’s brace beats LAFC - Once A Metro
Two goals scored by Daniel Royer gave the Red Bulls the full three points.

NYCFC - 44

NYCFC 2, Vancouver 2: City gifts Caps late draw - Hudson River Blue
Atlanta United’s 2-2 draw against Toronto FC could have very well been seen as a gift for New York City FC.

FCD - 42

FC Dallas drops ugly home game 3-1 to San Jose Earthquakes - Big D Soccer
A couple of costly errors by Jesse Gonzalez helps give San Jose their third win of the year.

The Maths of Seattle

Yes, this means they can’t win the Shield by winning out. It also means that they only way they can be assured of making the MLS Cup Playoffs is by winning out.

538 has the Sounders as 6th most likely to make the MLS Cup Playoffs in the West with a 54% chance; they are expected to earn 48 points. Seattle has the #1 defense and 20th best attack.

Sagarin ranks Seattle as the 8th best overall and 5th in the Western Conference. Of note, the Sounders have the 3rd toughest schedule to this point in the season, meaning that they should be able to earn more points than their past record indicates.

Both 538 and Sagarin favor the Sounders over Dallas in the upcoming match.

This new series will appear Sunday evening or Monday morning based on when all the necessary sites update after the weekend’s action.

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