Tuesday 30th October 2018  

Harry Cooper – UCFB Multimedia Sports Journalism Student 2018

The MLS Decision Day last weekend was an eventful one with two teams clinching a last ditch play-off spot.

Columbus Crew in the Eastern Conference have hat trick hero Gyasi Zardes to thank after his goals saw off Minnesota in a win 3-2 win. Over in the Western Conference Real Salt Lake sealed their spot in the play-offs despite not even playing. Salt Lake were relying on Houston Dynamo to beat Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s LA Galaxy, as a point would have been enough for Galaxy to leap frog Salt Lake due to their better goal difference. The Galaxy were 2-0 up at half time after a quick three minute Ola Kamara brace, but their season was to go no further after they bottled this lead in the second half by conceding three and could not recover. The end of Zlatan’s MLS season.

Decision Day was also successful for New York Red Bulls as they lifted The Supporters Shield after Derrick Etienne’s goal was enough for them to get all three points vs Orlando City. A perfect result for Red Bulls as it saw them over take Atlanta on the final day. They were on the back of a shock 4-1 loss in Toronto.

So what does this mean for the knock out rounds?

The top two teams from each division get an automatic first round bye for The Audi MLS Play Off Cup. From the Eastern Division it’s the two big dogs Red Bulls and Atlanta United. Sporting KC and Seattle Sounders are the teams joining them from the Western Conference.

The knock out fixtures take place this week with the games as followed:

Western Conference:
31st October – FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers
1st November – Los Angeles FC vs Real Salt Lake

Eastern Conference:
31st October – New York City FC vs Philadelphia Union
1st November – D.C United vs Columbus Crew SC

The lowest seeded winning teams from each conference will take on their conference champions in the conference semi finals with the highest seed facing the league runners up. A home and away leg taking place on the 4th and 11th of November.

The next advancing round after that is the Conference Championships which is geographical bragging rights for fans. Again, a two legged fixture over the dates of the 25th and 29th of November. The two victorious Eastern and Western teams will then battle it out in a one game MLS Cup Final on December 8th where the full MLS comes to an end and will restart again in March 2019.