FiveThirtyEight maps out Decision Day with Shield, playoffs in the balance

Chris Pontius - Zlatan Ibrahimovic - LA Galaxy - celebrate

There won't be a shortage of drama, stakes and intensity on Decision Day presented by AT&T this Sunday (4:30 pm ET) with so many races coming down to the wire.

Some crucial positions are still up for grabs, including the Supporters' Shield, sixth place and home Knockout Round games in both conferences, as well as the top of West. No one knows exactly what's going to happen this weekend, but that has never stopped anyone from trying to forecast the future. 

FiveThirtyEight ran their simulations as well.

Home win
Away win
LA Galaxy vs Houston Dynamo
64 pct
19 pct
17 pct

FiveThirtyEight give the LA Galaxy a 64 percent probability of beating the Houston Dynamo at home, and in turn, securing the West's final playoff place. With Real Salt Lake the odd team out this weekend, the Galaxy need a win to get in; anything less and RSL hold onto that playoff spot.

GameHome winDrawAway win
Columbus Crew SC vs Minnesota United69 pct20 pct12 pct
New England Revolution vs Montreal Impact45 pct26 pct29 pct

In the East, the Crew need a win at home against Minnesota, which 538 expects them to get (69 pct). But, if they drop points and the Impact beat the Revolution on the road, then it's Montreal who will make the playoffs. They have only a 29 pct probably of winning in Foxboro, and need help in the Crew's game, rendering that scenario possible, but unlikely.

GameHome winDrawAway win
Toronto FC vs Atlanta United34 pct24 pct42 pct
New York Red Bulls vs Orlando City SC83 pct12 pct4 pct

As for the top of the league, FiveThirtyEight doesn't think Atlanta should be banking on any favors in their bid for the Shield, given that the Red Bulls have an 83 pct likelihood to beat Orlando City at Red Bull Arena. ATLUTD are on the road at Toronto and are slight favorites (42 pct), but would need all three points to lift the Shield if the Red Bulls take care of business at home.

The simulation expects two teams to break the league's record for points in a season, as the Red Bulls need a win to eclipse Toronto's mark of 69 points set last season, while ATL needs just one point to pass and 538 puts their chances at 68 pct.

GameHome winDrawAway win
Chicago Fire vs D.C. United44 pct24 pct31 pct
New York City FC vs Philadelphia Union60 pct23 pct18 pct

Staying in the East, D.C. United's magical second-half run may culminate with a home playoff game if things go their way on Sunday. They'll need at least a point on the road against the Fire for that to be possible, though 538 doesn't love their chances on the road, giving them a 31 pct chance for a win and 24 pct for a draw.

The two teams they're jostling with for a home Knockout Round game face each other Sunday as NYCFC host Philly. FiveThirtyEight fancies NYCFC to get only their second win since mid-August, which would be enough to hold onto third place.

GameHome winDrawAway win
Sporting Kansas City vs LAFC63 pct21 pct16 pct
Colorado Rapids vs FC Dallas32 pct27 pct41 pct
Seattle Sounders vs San Jose Earthquakes69 pct19 pct12 pct

As for the top of the West, a few different scenarios can play out. The winner of SKC vs LAFC would win the conference (SKC outright, LAFC on goal difference, barring an incredible swing of GD from Dallas). If there's a draw, SKC are more than likely to top the conference on GD, even if Dallas wins and levels their point total. 

Meanwhile, Seattle can't win the conference, but they can earn a first-round bye. They need a win and some help ahead of them to climb from fourth place into second.