Major League Soccer enters its most wonderful time of the year: The MLS Cup Playoffs.
The 34-game regular season ended spectacularly Sunday on “Decision Day,” with some teams jockeying for playoff positioning until the final whistle and others dramatically rewriting the MLS record books.
The postseason kicks off Wednesday night, with eight teams taking the field in the Knockout Round. The winners of the single-elimination game will advance to the conference semifinals, which are two-legged contests in which the competitive stew rises to a boil.
Let’s look at what transpired on “Decision Day” and what’s ahead in our weekly MLS review.
Latest MLS Scores (home team listed first)
Atlanta United 2, Toronto FC 2
D.C. United 1, New York Red Bulls 2
Montreal Impact 2, New England Revolution 3
New York City FC 2, Columbus Crew 2
Philadelphia Union 6, Orlando City FC 1
FC Dallas 5, Los Angeles Galaxy 1
Real Salt Lake 2, Sporting Kansas City 1
Portland Timbers 2, Vancouver Whitecaps 1
San Jose Earthquakes 3, Minnesota United 2
Seattle Sounders 3, Colorado Rapids 0
Houston Dynamo 3, Chicago Fire 0
Key talking points
Toronto earned its 69th point with its draw against Atlanta, setting the MLS single-season points record previously held by the 1998 LA Galaxy (68).
Atlanta also set a single-game attendance record with the 71,874 who attended the regular season finale at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta’s average attendance of 48,200 this season is an all-time high, passing the MLS record the Seattle Sounders set in 2015 (44,247) and the America soccer record the New York Cosmos set in 1978 (around 48,000).
Atlanta will host the 2018 MLS All-Star Game. Expect another sell-out, because Atlanta loves MLS.
Portland secured the top seed in the Western Conference with its win over Vancouver, and Seattle grabbed both second place and the accompanying first-round bye with its win over Colorado.
San Jose dramatically clinched the sixth and final playoff spot in the West when Marco Ureña scored in the 93rd minute against Minnesota. The Earthquakes’ win ended Salt Lake’s and Dallas’ playoff hopes.
D.C. United lost its final game at RFK Stadium, its home since 1996, before a crowd of 41,418. D.C. will inaugurate Audi Field in 2018.
MLS standings, bracket
Here’s the first look at the MLS Cup playoff bracket.
The Daily Star reported Sunday that Yaya Toure might leave Manchester City for New York City FC in the coming months. The Ivorian’s Manchester City contract will expire in June, and he might head stateside in order to keep ties with the City Football Group.
New York Red Bulls midfielder Felipe is in the process of obtaining his U.S. citizenship. The 27-year-old Brazil native has shined in MLS since his 2012 arrival in Montreal and he wants to play for the United States, according to MSG Network’s Kristian Dyer.
Upcoming MLS games (home team listed first)
Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls, Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m. ET
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. San Jose Earthquakes, Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 10:30 p.m. ET
Atlanta United vs. Columbus Crew, Thursday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City, Thursday, Oct. 26, at 9:30 p.m.
The first legs of the Eastern and Western Conference semifinals will be between Oct. 29 and Oct. 31, with dates, times and matchups to be determined.
Thumbnail photo via John Hefti/USA TODAY Sports Images
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