The Portland Timbers and FC Dallas delivered victories on Decision Day to book their places in the MLS playoffs, while Toronto FC and Real Salt Lake secured victories to help them leapfrog into prime seeds on the final day of the regular season.
Portland’s romp over the San Jose Earthquakes eliminated Matias Almeyda’s squad from playoff contention, while FC Dallas put an end to Sporting Kansas City’s forgettable campaign with a six-goal blowout.
TFC leapfrogged D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls to snag a home playoff game in the East playoffs, with FC Cincinnati playing spoiler and holding D.C. United to a 0-0 draw despite being down to nine men.
Carlos Vela blew past the single-season scoring record with a hat-trick against the Colorado Rapids and the LA Galaxy missed a chance at a home playoff game with a rough loss to the Houston Dynamo.
Here’s the full recap of the final day 2019 MLS Decision Day:
Timbers 3, Earthquakes 1
(Mabiala 29′, Asprilla 59′, Blanco 75′)-(Wondolowski 39′)
Both sides needed a win to secure their playoff fortunes and it was the Timbers delivering in front of their home fans.
They opened the scoring with an unlikely source in the 29th minute when Larrys Mabiala knocked home the opener, but the lead lasted only ten minutes. Chris Wondolowski gave his side some hope in the 39th with a simple finish as the Portland defense was caught out of position.
The second half belonged to Portland, however. Dairon Asprilla broke thorugh the San Jose line in the 59th minute and, after popping his first shot right into the keeper, buried the rebound into an open net. Sebastian Blanco sealed the result with 15 mintues to play by smashing home a free kick into the top corner of the net.
The Timbers will now move on to the MLS Playoffs as the sixth seed and face Real Salt Lake despite failing to win five of their final six matches while the Quakes, losers of six in a row, will go home for the winter.
FC Dallas 6, Sporting KC 0
(Ondrasek 9′, 68′, Hedges 12′, Mosquera 51′, Barrios 54′, Ferreira 73′)
FC Dallas needed a win to go into the postseason and, boy did Lucho Gonzalez’s team deliver. Zdenek Ondrasek scored the opener only nine minutes in. Matt Hedged followed that with a tap-in finish three minutes later. They went dormant on the goal scoring front until after the break, but they really opened up in the second half. Santiago Mosquera scored in the 51st, Michael Barrios put one in three minutes after that, Ondrasek scored a second on the 68th and Jesus Ferreira finished the carnage off in the 73rd.
The blowout gives Dallas the seventh and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and a matchup at the Seattle Sounders. SKC is done for the year.
LAFC 3, Rapids 1
(Vela 28′, 31′, 51′)-(Kamara 40′)
LAFC already had the Supporters’ Shield wrapped up, but their star forward still needed to break the league’s single-season scoring record.
Vela bagged a hat-trick to take down Josef Martinez’s mark from a year ago. His first was the most impressive of the trio. His long, long, range effort put LAFC in front in the 28th minute and put him in front of Martinez with his 32nd of the year. Clearly, he wasn’t satisfied with merely breaking the record, he shattered it by scoring two more.
Kei Kamara scored in the 40th minute for the Rapids, but that would be the only positive news on the day. Even had they won, they still would have fell short of the playoffs thanks to FC Dallas taking care of business against SKC. LAFC, meanwhile, will sit and watch the first round as the top seed in the West.
Minnesota United 0, Sounders 1
Both of these sides came into the match with eyes on the second seed in the Western Conference, but it was Seattle coming through with the win on their home turf.
Roman Torres provided the only goal of the game in the 29th minute off a cross from Joevin Jones, and the Sounders defense was able to hole the Loons more or less at bay all afternoon. Minnesota only had eight overall shots and just one on target.
Both these teams will still host a playoff game, though. Minnesota held onto the fourth spot in the West and will face the LA Galaxy thanks to their loss and Seattle jumps into second place with the win, setting up a date with FC Dallas.
Dynamo 4, Galaxy 2
(Ramirez 45+2′, 83′, Elis 62′, Rodriguez 90+4′)-(Ibrahimovic 9′, Pavon 54′)
The LA Galaxy could have really helped their first-round outlook with a win, Zlatan and company succumbed to the eliminated Houston Dynamo and will have to settle with a road trip to open the postseason.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was still in the hunt for the Golden Boot and the Swede had them off to a strong start when he scored in the 9th minute, but that would end his long-shot pursuit of Carlos Vela and would be the only good news on the day for LA.
Christian Ramirez tied the game right before halftime, but the Galaxy went back in fron early in the second half the Cristian Pavon. The collapse came shortly thereafter. It began with Alberth Elis leveling in the 62nd, and it finished with Ramirez scoring his second of the game in the 83rd. Memo Rodriguez added an insurance goal in stoppage time to give the Dynamo a strong season ending win.
The Galaxy will head on the road and play Minnesota United as the fifth seed in the Western Conference.
Real Salt Lake 1, Whitecaps 0
RSL was already in the playoffs and Vancouver has long been eliminated, so there wasn’t much at stake here.
RSL did give itself a home game to start the playoffs thanks to Damir Kreilach’s 28th minute goal. That was all they needed thanks to strong defensive play and a generally weak Vancouver side. Nick Rimando did have to make one crucial save in his final regular season game, but that was the only threat coming from the visitors.
Real Salt Lake is into the playoffs and will host the Portland Timbers in the first round.
Atlanta United 3, Revolution 1
(Nagbe 3′, Martinez 49′, Gressel 57′) – (Penilla 8′)
Atlanta United secured the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference after a 3-1 home win over the New England Revolution.
Julian Gressel put in a man of the match performance after a one-goal, two-assist outing at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Gressel slid a pass for Darlington Nagbe to finish off in the third minute to break the deadlock.
However, the lead would not last long as the Revolution took advantage of a counter attack. Cristian Penilla’s finish in the eighth minute leveled the teams who started off strong.
Josef Martinez returned to the Five Stripes starting lineup and made the most of his time on the pitch. The Venezuelan star finished off Gressel’s assist in the 48th minute to put Frank de Boer’s side back in front.
The duo connected once more in the 56th minute, this time with Gressel being set up by Martinez to put the game out of reach. Gressel’s low shot found the bottom-left corner to stamp the final score at 3-1.
These teams will now prepare to face one another again in two weeks in Atlanta.
Union 1, NYCFC 2
(Fabian 87′) – (Matarrita 7′, Tajouri-Shradi 22′)
NYCFC ended the regular season on a high note after downing the Philadelphia Union 2-1 at Talen Energy Stadium.
A pair of first-half goals was all Domenec Torrent’s side needed to defeat their East Coast rivals in Chester. Valentin Castellanos set up Ronald Matarrita early and the defender made no mistake to give NYCFC a lead in the seventh minute.
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi doubled the lead in the 22nd minute after his long-range shot took a deflection off Jamiro Monteiro and beat Andre Blake.
The Union were better after the halftime break, but were unable to beat Sean Johnson. The U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper denied Andrew Wooten and Monteiro in the 73rd minute, before Marco Fabian made the most of a penalty kick.
Fabian beat Johnson from the penalty spot in the 86th minute after Ebenezer Ofori was guilty of handball inside the penalty area.
However, NYCFC would hang on to claim their 18th league win of the season.
Impact 3, Red Bulls 0
(Krkic 22′, Urruti 37′, Okwonkwo 61′)
The Montreal Impact may not be heading to the playoffs, but they did end their season on a high note at Stade Saputo.
Wilmer Cabrera’s side put three goals past the New York Red Bulls in a 3-0 victory over their East rivals. Bojan Krkic and Maxi Urruti scored 15 minutes apart to give the Impact a two-goal lead heading into halftime.
Orji Okwonkwo set up the Spaniard in the 22nd minute and Krkic slid a shot into the bottom-left corner.
Urruti scored his fourth goal of the season for Montreal, beating Luis Robles from a tight angle in the 37th minute.
Okwonkwo headed home Saphir Taider’s cross in the 61st minute to stamp the lopsided home win.
The Red Bulls only recorded one shot on goal in the defeat and will next prepare to face rivals Philadelphia Union in the playoffs.
Toronto FC 1, Crew 0
Toronto FC did what they had to do at BMO Field to secure the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference and set up a home date with D.C. United.
Alejandro Pozuelo’s second-half goal was all Greg Vanney’s side needed to down the Columbus Crew 1-0.
Pozuelo’s 12th league goal of the season came in fine fashion as the Spaniard’s free-kick beat Eloy Room to the top-right corner. The goal came in the 58th minute and was all TFC needed to earn three points.
Defensively, the hosts kept the Crew pinned outside their box and only allowed two saves in the win. Quentin Westberg recorded the clean sheet and denied Luis Diaz and Patrick Mullins late in the second-half. Mullins also struck the post in stoppage time, but the Crew could not avoid the road loss.
D.C. United 0, FC Cincinnati 0
D.C. United could not take advantage of two red cards to FC Cincinnati players in what ended up being a scoreless draw at Audi Field.
Despite 66% of the possession and playing the second-half up two players, the Black and Red slumped to the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Joe Gyau and Fatai Alashe were sent off three minutes apart before halftime in what continued to be a horrid season for FC Cincy.
Przemyslaw Tyton denied Luciano Acosta and Paul Arriola in the second-half, and made three saves to earn a clean sheet on the final day.
Bill Hamid made two saves for D.C. United, who will travel to Toronto FC on either Oct. 19th or 20th.
Orlando City 2, Fire 5
(Akindele 5′, Michel 74′) – (Smith OG 17′, Sapong 61′, Katai 63′, Frankowski 67′, 87′)
In a battle of two eliminated sides, the Chicago Fire rolled to a Decision Day win on the road in Orlando.
Przemyslaw Frankowski scored a pair of second-half goals, while the Fire scored four after halftime in total in a 5-2 in over Orlando City.
The sides were level at halftime after Kyle Smith’s own goal canceled out Tesho Akindele’s opener for the Lions.
C.J. Sapong’s goal in the 60th minute put the Fire in front before Aleksandar Katai’s left-footed finish further extended the visitors advantage.
Frankowski’s first of the afternoon came from a nice find by Dax McCarty in the 66th minute. Although Benji Michel pulled a goal back for the Lions in the 74th minute, the Fire would have the final say in the scoreline.
Frankowski’s close-range header in the 86th minute would stamp the final score at 5-2 at Exploria Stadium as both teams now head into the offseason.