And down the stretch they come.
Major League Soccer’s regular season will end Sunday afternoon, with all 22 teams playing simultaneously on “Decision Day.” One spot in the MLS Cup playoffs remains up for grabs, and several sides will play to improve their playoff positions.
Having already clinched the Supporters’ Shield, Toronto vies to set the MLS record for most points in a regular season.
We look at all this and more in our weekly MLS review.
Latest MLS Scores
Chicago Fire 3, Philadelphia Union 2
New England Revolution 2, New York City FC 1
New York Red Bulls 0, Atlanta United 0
Orlando City 0, Columbus Crew 1
Toronto FC 1, Montreal Impact 0
Colorado Rapids 1, Real Salt Lake 0
Sporting Kansas City 0, Houston Dynamo 0
Los Angeles Galaxy 3, Minnesota United 0
Seattle Sounders 4, FC Dallas 0
Vancouver Whitecaps 1, San Jose Earthquakes 1
Portland Timbers 4, DC United 0
Key talking points
Toronto’s win over Montreal brought it level with the 1998 Los Angeles Galaxy for the regular-season points record with 68. Toronto also tied the 2014 Seattle Sounders for most regular season wins with 20 and joined the 2005 San Jose Earthquakes as the only team to average two points per game. Toronto will visit Atlanta on Sunday, looking to confirm itself as the greatest regular-season team in MLS history, but the glory it wants most will be available Dec. 9 at MLS Cup 2017.
New York City FC, Chicago Fire, Atlanta United and Columbus Crew all are within three points of second place in the Eastern Conference. They can clinch that spot and the accompanying first-round bye in the playoffs with a win and some help from other games.
San Jose can claim the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference on Sunday when it hosts Minnesota United. Dallas a win against Los Angeles and for San Jose to lose or draw in order to reach the postseason. Real Salt Lake must defeat Sporting KC and needs Dallas and San Jose to lose or draw their games to clinch an unlikely playoff spot.
Nemanja Nikolic’s debut season in MLS has been an absolute success. The hat trick the Chicago Fire striker scored Sunday against the Philadelphia Union earned him MLS Player of the Week honors and moved him atop the Golden Boot race.
Nikolic’s 24 goals are the sixth highest for a single campaign in MLS history. He trails the single-season goals record by just three and can move into fifth place by scoring once.
Here are the MLS standings with one round of games remaining in the regular season.
The MLS community was shocked this week when Columbus owner Anthony Precourt threatened to relocate the club to Austin, Texas, if Ohio’s capital city doesn’t help him build a new downtown stadium. Columbus is one of MLS’ charter clubs and has played in Mapfre Stadium, the first purpose-built soccer stadium for a U.S. top-flight team, since 1999. Precourt insists the facility is outdated and is limiting the Crew’s progress.
Upcoming MLS games (home team listed first)
Atlanta United vs. Toronto FC, 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 22
D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls, 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 22
Montreal Impact vs. New England Revolution, 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 22
New York City FC vs. Columbus Crew, 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 22
Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City FC, 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 22
FC Dallas vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 22
Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City, 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 22
Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 22
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Minnesota United, 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 22
Seattle Sounders vs. Colorado Rapids, 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 22
Thumbnail photo via John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Images