MLS Penultimate Weekend: What It Means For MLS Decision Day 2017

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HARRISON, NEW JERSEY- OCTOBER 15: Josef Martinez #7 of Atlanta United reacts after just failing to connect to a low cross during the New York Red Bulls Vs Atlanta United FC, MLS regular season match at Red Bull Arena, Harrison, New Jersey on October 15, 2017 in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Editorial (October 16, 2017) – This past weekend was the MLS penultimate weekend of the 2017 regular season. Much was at stake. Just one match day remains in the campaign, October 22, 2017, otherwise known as MLS Decision Day 2017. Let’s see what happened and how it will affect the playoffs.

MLS Penultimate Weekend: What It Means For MLS Decision Day 2017

This past weekend every team was in action. Five Eastern Conference vs. Eastern Conference match ups kicked off at 5 PM EST. All the Western Conference teams kicked off at 7:30 PM EST. The Portland Timbers hosting D.C. United was the only cross-conference game. Find the full list of results here. Find the full Decision Day schedule here. With that, here’s the highlights of what happened in the MLS penultimate weekend 2017 and what it means for Decision Day.

Four Teams Vying For Bye In East:

All six Eastern Conference teams clinched their spots over a week ago. Toronto FC effectively won the Supporter’s Shield a few weeks ago. The only thing teams were fighting for was seeding. With New York Red Bulls drawing at home and Columbus Crew SC getting a road win, RBNY are now locked into the sixth and last spot.

While TFC and RBNY can’t move seeds, the middle of the Eastern Conference sandwich is up for grabs. Chicago Fire were able to jump Atlanta United FC thanks to a win off a hat trick from Nemanja Nikolic. With that, New York City FC, Chicago, Atlanta, and Columbus all still have a chance at second in the East, and that coveted wild card round bye.

NYCFC could have locked things up, but lost after a first half red card. All four teams face off against other playoff teams this weekend. We’ll have to see who’s able to finish second.

Western Conference Powers Punch Ticket:

Going into the weekend, only Vancouver Whitecaps FC had clinched a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Four teams joined them this weekend: Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting KC, and Houston Dynamo. Seattle and Portland both got blowout wins at home. Sporting and Houston drew at Children’s Mercy Park in a game that featured 41 shots.

Seeding is still very much up for grabs. The three Cascadia teams all still have a chance to finish at the top of the conference. SKC and Houston can both still finish as high as second, though it would take a lot for Houston to get it. Portland hosts Vancouver on Sunday and is essentially a playoff for a first round bye. The Sounders have Colorado Rapids at home, so they’ve got a good chance to get a bye as well.

Last Spot Still Up For Grabs:

One playoff spot still remains unclaimed, and we didn’t get much clarity as to who would get it yesterday. FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake both lost, while San Jose Earthquakes got a big road point at Vancouver. That draw puts San Jose above the red line on a tie breaker on wins over Dallas. None of these teams can catch fifth place Houston at this point. They’re battling for the last seat at the table.

All three have home games for Decision Day. The Quakes host Minnesota United FC and should be heavy favorites. Dallas play LA Galaxy, a very winnable game. RSL have Sporting KC. San Jose should be favorites to me. Dallas is on a bad run of form. RSL has the most difficult opponent of the three. This goal by Vako could end up saving San Jose’s season. If the LA Galaxy can beat Minnesota 3-0 at this point, San Jose should be able to win at least 4-0.

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