Week 31 in Major League Soccer begins early as eight teams are in action on Wednesday.
The match with the most playoff implications is at RFK Stadium where D.C. United hosts the Columbus Crew. If Columbus beats D.C., then the Crew would be two points adrift of the final postseason berth in the Eastern Conference.
A nationally televised clash between Toronto FC and Orlando City kicks off at the same time. Sebastian Giovinco could return from injury in this match, which would be bad news for Orlando.
A few hours east, the struggling Montreal Impact will welcome the San Jose Earthquakes. The Impact are desperately clinging to a playoff spot, but a victory would be a massive as the Crew are closing in on them.
Wednesday’s slate concludes at CenturyLink Field as the Seattle Sounders battle the Chicago Fire. A victory would move the Sounders above the red line over the Portland Timbers thanks to the wins tiebreaker.
Here is a closer look at all four of the midweek matches:
TORONTO FC VS. ORLANDO CITY (WEDNESDAY, 7:30 P.M., FOX SPORTS 1)
Toronto FC could receive a boost ahead of their clash with Orlando City.
Sebastian Giovinco may be available on Wednesday night, although he would likely come off the bench. Midfielder Jay Chapman and forward Tosaint Ricketts are line to return against Orlando City as well. Despite the injuries, TFC has racked up a three-game unbeaten streak without Giovinco. As for the Lions, they are in dire form as of late. Orlando has lost three consecutive matches, conceding 12 goals in that span.
D.C. UNITED VS. COLUMBUS CREW (WEDNESDAY, 7:30 P.M., MLS LIVE)
This match is arguably the most important of the night when it comes to playoff positioning.
D.C. United holds the sixth and final postseason berth in the Eastern Conference. However, a win would move the Columbus Crew to within two points of their opposition on Wednesday. The Crew’s only road victories have come in two of their past three away matches, but United is hitting form at the right time. D.C. has lost just once in its last 10 games.
MONTREAL IMPACT VS. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (WEDNESDAY, 7:30 P.M., MLS LIVE)
The Montreal Impact are in dire straights, but they have a grand opportunity to return to form against the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Impact could only hold a one-point lead for a playoff spot after Wednesday night. The Earthquakes possess the league’s worst attack, scoring an MLS-low 28 goals. They also have just one road win all season. However, Montreal has been brutal at home recently, as the Impact have failed to win their last four matches at Stade Saputo, conceding 11 goals. Thankfully for the hosts, the Quakes are missing five starters.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS VS. CHICAGO FIRE (WEDNESDAY, 10:30 P.M., MLS LIVE)
The Seattle Sounders could hold a playoff spot entering the weekend.
If the Sounders defeat the Chicago Fire at home, they would leap over the Portland Timbers thanks to the wins tiebreaker. The Fire have lost 11 times on the road this season, so Seattle’s chances of winning are strong. However, the hosts were dealt a blow after Clint Dempsey was ruled out for the remainder of the year. Brad Evans and Erik Friberg are also listed as questionable for Wednesday’s tilt.