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MLS Decision Day Preview: Timbers host Earthquakes, NYCFC visits Union, and more

Decision Day takes place on Sunday as a handful of MLS sides aim for one last push into the postseason places.

All 12 matches this weekend kick off at 4 p.m. EST which should bring drama and excitement across the league. The most critical match of the day is at Providence Park in Portland. The Timbers host the San Jose Earthquakes with the winner going to the playoffs. Portland still has hope, should they lose, but the Quakes will have to win or they will be sent packing.

There are two other teams still looking to nail down playoff places. The Colorado Rapids visit Banc of California Stadium to face LAFC needing a win. FC Dallas is at home against Sporting Kansas City, where a loss could see them drop out of the postseason picture.

Elsewhere, Atlanta United faces the New England Revolution at home while NYCFC travels to the Philadelphia Union. Minnesota United and the Seattle Sounders meet in the Pacific Northwest.

Here’s a closer look at this weekend’s top five MLS matches:

Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 4 p.m. (ESPN)

Matias Almeyda’s Earthquakes know what they need to do this weekend.

A win for the Quakes will boost them into the playoff places, while anything less will end their season. Five league matches in a row definitely hasn’t helped the team’s confidence, but the team will rely on veterans Chris Wondolowski, Shea Salinas, and others on the road at Portland.

Portland are two points clear of their opponents and will be eager to stamp their spot back into the postseason at Providence Park. Diego Valeri will be key for the Timbers if they want to find the back of the net. The veteran midfielder has eight goals and eight assists this regular season for Giovanni Savarese’s bunch.

LAFC vs. Colorado Rapids – 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

The Colorado Rapids will have it all to do this weekend if they want to make the playoffs.

Robin Fraser’s side travels to LAFC on Sunday knowing a win paired with other results will clinch them a postseason berth. The Rapids downed LAFC earlier this season 1-0 at home, but will need a total team performance against the Supporters Shield winners this time. Kei Kamara and Diego Rubio have 24 combined league goals this season and will put pressure on the backline.

LAFC has a first round bye wrapped up and may rest several stars this weekend. Carlos Vela is in line to win the 2019 MLS Golden Boot with 31 goals this season. Bob Bradley may decide to rest his leading scorer in their regular season home finale.

FC Dallas vs. Sporting KC- 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

FC Dallas is clinging to the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs as they sit s single point ahead of the San Jose Earthquakes. A win against already eliminated Sporting KC will seal their place in the postseason party.\

Dallas are coming off a missed opportunity last weekend when they could have clinched a spot against the Rapids. They went on the road and lost 3-0, however, keeping Colorado in the hunt and making sure this game means something. Overall, they are winless in their last four matches and now face a near do-or-die situation.

Kansas City will miss the playoffs for the first time in nine years regardless of what happens here. They will try to make things difficult for FC Dallas like they did a week ago for the Timbers in their 2-2 draw that prevented Portland from clinching a playoff spot.

Philadelphia Union vs. NYCFC – 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

The Philadelphia Union will look to rebound this weekend after a road loss in Columbus last weekend. Alejandro Bedoya is likely to miss the clash with NYCFC after being hurt against the Crew, but expect a full strength lineup put out by Jim Curtin.

NYCFC also fell last weekend, but will have the No. 1 seed regardless of this weekend’s results. Domenec Torrent’s side has a 7-3-1 all-time edge over the Union and would love to spoil the party in Chester before heading into their bye week. Alexandru Mitrita and Valentin Castellanos headline NYCFC’s attack after combining for 23 goals so far this season.

Atlanta United vs. New England Revolution – 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

The New England Revolution claimed the scalps of NYCFC last weekend and travel to the defending champions to close the regular season.

Bruce Arena’s side downed NYCFC 2-0 to clinch the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. A win paired with other results could see the Revs move up the standings, but regardless they will be on the road come playoff time. Gustavo Bou and Carles Gil will look to connect once more against the Five Stripes.

Atlanta United has dropped points in their last two league matches and will jostle with the Union for the No. 2 seed on Decision Day. A 1-1 draw in Montreal last weekend saw Julian Gressel score, while Josef Martinez continues to rehab his knee/ankle injury. The Venezuelan star should be back for the postseason after collecting 26 league goals this regular season.

Seattle Sounders vs. Minnesota United – 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

These West rivals are level on points heading into Decision Day with the winner likely claiming the No. 2 seed.

The Seattle Sounders defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 last weekend and will be favorites to earn a win at CenturyLink Field on Sunday. Jordan Morris, Nicolas Lodeiro, and Raul Ruidiaz headline the numerous attacking names on the Sounders roster and would like one final win before heading on international duty this month.

Minnesota United’s dream 2019 continues and a win would mark an incredible achievement for Adrian Heath’s side. A point should be enough for the Loons to host a playoff game at Allianz Field, but an upset win in Seattle would give the team loads of confidence heading into their first postseason. Darwin Quintero and Mason Toye will look to get after the Sounders backline in his highly-contested affair.

Here’s this weekend’s full MLS schedule:

All Games On Sunday

Atlanta United vs. New England Revolution – 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

Philadelphia Union vs. NYCFC – 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

D.C. United vs. FC Cincinnati – 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

FC Dallas vs. Sporting KC – 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

Houston Dynamo vs. L.A. Galaxy – 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

LAFC vs. Colorado Rapids – 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

Montreal Impact vs. New York Red Bulls – 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

Orlando City vs. Chicago Fire – 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

Seattle Sounders vs. Minnesota United – 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

Toronto FC vs. Columbus Crew – 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Real Salt Lake – 4 p.m. (ESPN+)


  1. I agree Tejana plus baseball playoffs underway and NFL Sunday the two big factors, luckily I get my team on local broadcast, but it is tough to catch MLS in general. Side note, I think NASCAR may have been what you are going for, while I am not a NASCAR guy I don’t think NASDAQ would get more viewers than a last place USL game.

  2. How sad that of 12 games, only one (1) will even be televised, and that apparently where Almeyda is already halfway out the door to Monterrey.
    No doubt the entire rest of the weekend schedule will taken up by meaningless college football games, obscure teams concussing each other with little finesse.
    Ah well. Another month it would be softball, or NASDAQ, or some other “sport” hardly worth the name.
    You have to admit that when the rest of the world sees us as provincial, they may have a point.


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