Three Big Storylines
- D.C. United were out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture in the early season with the majority of their matches on the road. But then they opened a new stadium and added Wayne Rooney to the roster and have been on a run towards the red line ever since. This weekend sees D.C. United play host to the Montreal Impact. The Impact currently occupy the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference on 40 points from 30 games played. United are one spot below them on 35 points from 28 games played. With two games against an already eliminated Chicago Fire still to come for United, they look likely to pass the Impact for that last playoff spot if they get the win here today.
- Both the LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps playoff hopes are on life support. They still have a chance, but that chance is dwindling. That makes the Whitecaps trip to Southern California to play the Galaxy on Saturday night a vitally important match. The Galaxy are three points below the red line while the Whitecaps are four points below the red line but have one more match to play. A draw really does not help either team, so look for LA Galaxy interim manager Dominic Kinnear to play an attacking squad while the Vancouver Whitecaps interim manager Craig Dalrymple will likely set up for the counter attack.
- Atlanta United and the New York Red Bulls have already clinched playoff spots but they are realistically the only two teams with a viable chance at the Supporters’ Shield. The Red Bulls are four points back and both teams have four to play, but the Red Bulls host Atlanta United on Sunday morning. In addition with Atlanta United on 63 points with four matches to go, they would likely not only seal the Supporters’ Shield with a win but they would be favorites to set the all time MLS point record, besting Toronto FC’s mark from last year of 69 points.
From a Sounders Point of View
Seattle is in the precarious spot of wanting to look up the standings and try to secure a home match for the knockout rounds, but if the inexplicable occurs - such as a home loss to the lowly Colorado Rapids - they might be in danger of falling below the red line. With that in mind a draw between the Galaxy and Whitecaps would be ideal.
Sunday sees Sporting Kansas City hosting Real Salt Lake in the last game of the MLS weekend. Both teams are above the Sounders but teams they have a realistic chance to catch. I can see the argument for a Sporting win, but I will be cheering for a draw. Sporting’s last four matches after RSL are home for the Galaxy, at Vancouver, at FC Dallas and home for LAFC. They could drop a lot of points on the run in and lose out on a top 2 seed in the Western Conference and a playoff bye if they are not careful.
National TV Listings
Chicago Fire v LAFC
Date/Time: Saturday, 12:30 PM
New York Red Bulls v Atlanta United
Date/Time: Sunday, 10:00 AM
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Sporting Kansas City v Real Salt Lake
Date/Time: Sunday, 2:00 PM
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
This is your Sounder at Heart MLS Weekend Week 31 open gamethread. Watch with us.