Supporters Shield and playoff positioning is what to look for on MLS Decision Day Sunday

This Sunday, all 20 MLS teams will play at the same time for the 34th time this season. Like most leagues, MLS’ final day of the regular season will consist of everyone playing to determine who finishes where in the league. All games are at 4:00 ET with Real Salt Lake/Seattle Sounders on ESPN, FC Dallas/LA Galaxy on FS1 and whiparound studio coverage on all games on ESPN2 as well as mlssoccer.com.

Officially, eight spots have already been decided and two more are all but official unless something very bizarre happens. But that doesn’t mean there is a shortage of excitement on the final day.

[link_box id=”23229″ site_id=”158″ layout=”link-box-third” alignment=”alignright”]For the fourth straight year, the Supporters Shield is up for grabs on the final day. The best regular season record will come down to the Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas, who are both trying to win for the first time. FC Dallas is going for their second trophy this year after winning the U.S. Open Cup. If they were to do that and win the MLS Cup, they would be the first U.S. team to win the three main domestic trophies in the same season.

FC Dallas is two points ahead of Colorado and clinching the tiebreaker, a win or draw against the LA Galaxy will clinch the Supporters Shield. For Colorado, a win against last place Houston Dynamo is a must and they need to hope FC Dallas loses for them to win their first trophy since 2010.

After the Supporters Shield race, the remaining Western Conference playoff spots will be decided. Four teams are in for three spots and at least one of those spots is guaranteed to be given to 4th place Real Salt Lake or 5th place Seattle Sounders, who are playing against each other. A win clinches a spot for whichever team who wins and a draw clinches for RSL. Sporting Kansas City and Portland Timbers are tied at 44 points, two points behind RSL and a point behind Seattle. But Sporting KC has the tiebreak, due to being ahead by a single goal in differential and has the final playoff spot. KC plays the San Jose Earthquakes while Portland faces the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Over in the Eastern Conference, things are pretty much decided. The New York Red Bulls will win the Eastern Conference if they don’t lose to the Philadelphia Union and NYCFC makes up fewer than 13 goals against Columbus Crew SC. NYCFC should be more concerned about losing 2nd place to Toronto FC because the top two spots in each conference will have a first round bye in the MLS Cup Playoffs and don’t have to play midweek. Toronto faces the Chicago Fire. While Philadelphia hasn’t clinched a playoff spot, they have all but advanced. The New England Revolution must defeat the Montreal Impact, have the Union lose to the Red Bulls and New England makes up 12 goals.

For the six teams who are already eliminated from playoff competition, it’s “better luck next year” and a final chance to end a tough season on a high note. For the rest of MLS, it’s a final chance to extend their season and a chance at a title.

Eastern Conference Standings (Top five have clinched)
New York Red Bulls – 54 (@ Philadelphia)
New York City FC – 51 (vs. Columbus)
Toronto FC – 50 (vs. Chicago)
D.C. United – 46 (@ Orlando)
Montreal Impact – 45 (@ New England)
Philadelphia Union – 42 (vs. Red Bulls)


New England Revolution – 39 (vs. Montreal)
Orlando City SC – 38 (vs. DC)
Columbus Crew SC – 36 (@ NYCFC)
Chicago Fire – 31 (@ Toronto)

 

Western Conference Standings (Top three have clinched)
FC Dallas – 59 (@ Los Angeles – FS1)
Colorado Rapids – 57 (vs. Houston)
LA Galaxy – 51 (vs. Dallas – FS1)
Real Salt Lake – 46 (@ Seattle – ESPN)
Seattle Sounders FC – 45 (vs. Salt Lake – ESPN)
Sporting Kansas City – 44 (vs. San Jose)


Portland Timbers – 44 (@ Vancouver)
San Jose Earthquakes – 38 (@ Kansas City)
Vancouver Whitecaps – 36 (vs. Portland)
Houston Dynamo – 33 (@ Colorado)

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter @phillipbupp

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