MLS decision day preview

October 07, 2022
Buckle up, Sunday is MLS’ Decision Day, aka the last day of the season, when all 28 teams play in seven simultaneous Eastern Conference (EC) games, followed by seven concurrent Western Conference (WC) games, with playoff berths on the line.
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SOURCE: DAVID BUONO/ICON SPORTSWIRE
SOURCE: DAVID BUONO/ICON SPORTSWIRE

The GIST: Buckle up, Sunday is MLS’ Decision Day, aka the last day of the season, when all 28 teams play in seven simultaneous Eastern Conference (EC) games, followed by seven concurrent Western Conference (WC) games, with playoff berths on the line. Living for the chaos.

The context: Seven teams from each conference will advance to the playoffs, with the No. 1 seeds in each earning a first-round bye. LAFC has already locked up the Supporters Shield (best record in the league) and the top spot in the West, but first place in the East is still up for grabs.

  • The contenders? The Philadelphia Union and CF Montréal. Philly can nab the title with a win, but Montreal will surge into the No. 1 spot with a win and a Union L or draw. Regardless, they’re both through to the postseason, along with NYCFC, NY Red Bulls and Inter Miami CF in the East.
  • Out West, Austin FC, FC Dallas, LA Galaxy and Nashville SC are already through to the playoffs.
  • That leaves two spots up for grabs in each conference — precisely the type of excitement Decision Day intended. Bring it on.

Who’s in the hunt: Three teams in the EC and four teams in the WC. In the East, FC Cincinnati can secure their first trip to the postseason with a win or draw against last-place D.C. United. In fact, Cincy can lose this game and still make it to the playoffs — so long as the Orlando SC vs. Columbus Crew match doesn’t end in a draw.

  • Speaking of, the winner of Orlando vs. Columbus will advance, but if the game ends in a draw and Cincinnati wins or ties, Columbus will squeak past Orlando into the playoffs. Live look at us trying to keep it all straight.
  • Then the focus will be on two games out West: the Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake and the Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Minnesota United. A W will earn a trip to the playoffs, but if things end in a draw, it's time to break out your calculator.

Tune in: All seven EC games kick off Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET, followed by the WC matchups at 5 p.m. ET. Are you ready for some fútbol?

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