Major League Soccer

MLS Decision Day state of play: Playoffs, Golden Boot race & more

Chris Smith
LA Galaxy are in the fight for the final Playoff place
LA Galaxy are in the fight for the final Playoff place / Shaun Clark/GettyImages
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This is it. Do or die. Decision Day is upon us in MLS.

Whether you're battling for a place in the Playoffs, looking to top the Conference, or seeking Golden Boot acclaim, this is the last chance to dance. It's all on the line this Sunday. Months of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears are about to either come to fruition or go up in smoke.

So, what's at stake heading into the biggest day of the regular season? Here's everything you need to know...


Playoff race

Eastern Conference

There are only three Playoff spots remaining in the East, with no fewer than six teams fighting over them. Atlanta United (48 points), Orlando City (48 points) and the New York Red Bulls (47 points) currently lead the way, but CF Montréal (46 points), D.C. United (44 points) and Columbus (44 points) are all in hot pursuit.

Either one of Atlanta United and the Red Bulls could have mathematically clinched a Playoff spot in New Jersey on Wednesday but only managed a 0-0 draw, meaning both need Decision Day results to make absolutely sure. On the same night, CF Montreal beat the Houston Dynamo 2-0 to stay in touch with the top seven.

Atlanta United have the easiest task of all on paper, traveling to bottom side FC Cincinnati on Sunday. Montreal host Orlando City with a win enough to leapfrog the Lions into the Playoff spots. Whether or not Orlando manage to stay in the top seven in defeat depends on the Red Bulls' ability to take at least a point away at Nashville SC. Meanwhile, DC United and Columbus Crew need to beat Toronto FC and Chicago Fire, respectively, and have results elsewhere go their way.

Further up the standings, Nashville and Philadelphia are battling for second place, while NYCFC are looking to remain in fourth.

Western Conference

Though it's not quite as tight, things are still up in the air over in the West, too. The quintet of Minnesota United (48 points), Vancouver Whitecaps (48 points), LA Galaxy (47 points), Real Salt Lake (45 points), and LAFC (45 points) are all competing for the final three post-season spots.

MNUFC and the 'Caps need only a draw on Sunday and a place in the Playoffs is theirs. But Minnesota are playing the LA Galaxy, who will be looking for a win to hold off RSL and LAFC below them. The latter two teams both need three points and results elsewhere to go their way to sneak into the Playoffs.

While the West's Playoff race is a much clearer picture, the race to top the Conference is wide open. Seattle Sounders (59 points), Sporting KC (58 points), and Colorado Rapids (58 points) can all still steal first-place and are separated by just a single point. SKC host RSL, the Sounders travel to Vancouver, and the Rapids welcome LAFC. With all three opponents chasing a post-season spot, there will be no easy rides to the top of the West.


Golden Boot race

Taty Castellanos' brace against Inter Miami last week finally lifted the Argentine atop the Golden Boot standings with 18 goals after leading the league in xG for some time. The title is anything but assured, though.

Raul Ruidiaz and longtime leader Ola Kamara head up the challenge with 17 goals each, while Adam Buksa and Daniel Salloi are both back in 16. There's also a host of fearsome attacking talent on 15 goals, but it'd take a biblical turn of events to swing things their way.


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