The New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas are both teams in the thick of the MLS Supporters’ Shield race, but they each have another task in focus this week: securing a place in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
The Red Bulls need just a draw against Salvadoran side Alianza on the road on Tuesday night to secure their place in the knockout rounds, and to extend an MLS-best 16-match unbeaten streak in all competitions. Jesse Marsch’s squad needs only a draw to book its place in the next round.
FC Dallas currently holds the top spot in the Supporters’ Shield standings, and can secure its place in the quarterfinals with a win on Wednesday night against Guatemalan side Suchitepéquez. A win would allow FC Dallas to send reserves to the final group stage match, on the road, while any other result will likely force Oscar Pareja to employ some starters to close out the group.
The Timbers have a much tougher task ahead, needing to win their final two group matches to advance to the quarterfinals. A loss in Costa Rica to Deportivo Saprissa has left the Timbers with no margin of error heading into Tuesday night’s match in El Salvador against Dragon. A victory sets up a winner-take-all group stage finally between the Timbers and Saprissa, but first Portland needs to slay Dragon.
The Red Bulls, FC Dallas and Timbers are trying to join the Vancouver Whitecaps in the quarterfinals, with the Canadian club eliminating Sporting Kansas CIty on the way to a group victory.