WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
SEATTLE SOUNDERS (1) VS. FC CINCINNATI (1)What happened: Brenner scored in the 24th minute and Seattle's Fredy Montero responded with a goal of his own in the 58th. But Kelyn Rowe's 69th-minute DOGSO red card didn't exactly help Seattle's comeback attempt and each team left with a point.What it means: Seattle really aren't going to do this, huh? They need to win their final two games, have RSL take just three points from their final two games and have Minnesota United take just one point or Portland take no points or have the Galaxy take no points and wait honestly it doesn't seem all that far-fetched still, does it? Ok, yep, go back to your regularly scheduled not counting out of the Sounders. A win would have been nice though. Meanwhile, Cincy will take the draw on the road. There's four points and a game in hand between them and the playoff line. Now all they have to do is take care of business against Chicago and D.C. United, and they may not even technically have to do that if results go their way. Playoff Cincy!
STAY FOCUSED. FOLLOW THROUGH. FINISH THE DRILL.
We’re almost there. Our long (inter)national nightmare is over. We don’t have to worry about another break. We can just go full throttle MLS from here on out. There are just two more game weeks remaining (plus an extremely important Wednesday night of make up games thrown in the middle) and I need you to stay focused. Remember to follow through. We’ve got to finish the drill here. Read The Daily Kickoff daily. Listen to Extratime. Listen to it twice at double speed if you have to. Ask Matt Doyle questions on Twitter he won’t answer. Get into an argument online with an Orlando fan. We need you in top fan-shape to close this out. But first, we’ve got to get you back up to speed. Here’s a brief look at what to keep an eye on as we push toward the finish.The Supporters’ Shield needs a new homeThe Union are on 64 points. LAFC are on 64 points. And with two games remaining, it’s not clear who has the upper hand. LAFC have the tiebreaker right now thanks to having 20 wins to Philly’s 18. Each team has to walk very different paths to get to the finish line. The Union face all-but-eliminated Charlotte and definitely-eliminated Toronto. LAFC face a Portland team scratching and clawing their way to a playoff spot and then a very good Nashville team that’s going to want to at least make sure they’re in a home playoff spot, and at most will want to make sure they’re actually in the playoffs at all. We’re on opposite ends of the spectrum here when it comes to difficulty level. Both teams, of course, will feel like there’s still a bigger prize to win, but let’s not pretend like they’d be upset about another trophy.Who’s hosting?In the East, it’s starting to feel like we have a clear idea of who will be in the home playoff spots. If NYCFC really did figure things out in the week before the international break, they should be fine in fourth place or even third. However, a really intriguing running subplot here is whether or not they actually figured things out. Keep an eye on it. Out west, there are five teams still conceivably fighting for a home playoff spot. It’s not totally unreasonable to imagine a scenario where seventh-place Minnesota finishes as high as third.Roughly 210954x3.14 playoff scenarios still in playDid I mention this is all a mess? We haven’t even gotten rid of an Atlanta United team that felt dead weeks ago. It’s an entire league of roommates leaving dishes out and expecting someone else to clean them up later. No one wants to finish the job. And so we’ve got 10th-place Charlotte still somewhat reasonably alive in the East and 10th-place Vancouver with somewhat of a fighting chance.A Wednesday that will decide the EastYou might have noticed that there are just four teams left with three games to play and they’re all in the East. You also might have noticed that they’re all fighting for the final three playoff spots. On Wednesday, Oct. 5, we’ll have a much clearer idea of who’ll be taking those spots when Charlotte takes on Columbus and Inter Miami faces Orlando in a massive six-pointer. Who could have guessed that a couple of makeup games after some inclement weather would be so critical but, honestly, it’s great writing.RSL controls the WestSpeaking of great writing, whoever gave RSL games against LA and Portland to close the year is a genius. RSL enters the last two games in eighth place, two points behind Minnesota United and, most importantly, three points behind fifth-place LA and sixth-place Portland. For the next couple of weeks, RSL is the league’s most important team.
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