As Europe's various fall-to-spring seasons wind down to their conclusions, there's still plenty for MLS exports to play for in crunch time across the pond.
In addition to league crowns and domestic cups, there's also Champions League and Europa League invites for next term, as well as promotions and relegations on the line as overseas leagues steam toward their finish lines.
Before we catch you up on all the possible permutations for MLS products playing in Europe, let's salute those who have already raised some silverware. This past weekend, Zack Steffen backstopped Manchester City to their fourth consecutive Carabao Cup triumph and Mark McKenzie came on late to help Genk secure their fifth Belgian Cup crown. Not to be outdone, Henry Wingo and Ferencvaros clinched the Hungarian top flight title last week.
Steffen (Columbus Crew SC) may not be done celebrating trophies for the campaign, as Man City hold a 10-point Premier League lead with five rounds to play. They’re also in the Champions League semifinals against Paris Saint-Germain, bringing them close to continental bragging rights as well.
Of course, not all stretch drives are created equal. Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls) may not be back with Fulham next season and he hasn't started a league game for them since October, but for now he'll be hoping the club can avoid relegation. The Cottagers stand eight points from safety heading into Thursday's derby visit to Christian Pulisic's Chelsea.
One level down, red-hot Daryl Dike (Orlando City SC) have secured a ticket to the Championship's promotion playoffs. Currently in sixth place, but just one point out of third with two games left in the regular season, the identity of their first round opponent has yet to be determined.
At the other end of the table, Matthew Olosunde (RBNY academy) and Rotherham United are fighting for their Championship lives. A four-game losing streak has them four points shy of the survival zone with four matches left on their schedule. The bright side is the Millers have two games in hand on the side directly above them on the happy side of the trap door, Wayne Rooney's fast-sinking Derby County.
There's a lot to discuss regarding MLS products in Germany, and we'll start at the top. With three games left, Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps) and Bayern Munich are one win (or one loss by Tyler Adams and second place RB Leipzig) from clinching their ninth league title in a row. As for Red Bulls alum Adams and Leipzig, they are just one point from securing their Champions League return.
They could be joined once again in the next edition of the Champions League by Giovanni Reyna (NYCFC academy) and Borussia Dortmund, who are one point behind Timothy Chandler's fourth-place Eintracht Frankfurt and two back of John Anthony Brooks' third place Wolfsburg. If they fail to make up that ground on either, Die Schwarzgelben will try to hold off Bayer Leverkusen for the Europa League group stage berth that comes with fifth place.
While Adams and Reyna may not be in line for league title celebrations, both of their teams are still in the DFB-Pokal hunt. On Friday, RB Leipzig will square off against Josh Sargent and Werder Bremen for one place in the May 13 cup final. On Saturday, Dortmund will tussle with second flight Holstein Kiel (who ousted Bayern Munich, it must be said) for the other.
On a sadder note, Matthew Hoppe (LA Galaxy academy) and Schalke have already been relegated, ending a 30-year Bundesliga run. Hoffenheim and loan defender Chris Richards (FC Dallas), however, are on the verge of avoiding that same fate. With three rounds to play, they can hold their Bundesliga spot with either a win or any dropped points by FC Cologne.
Young right-sider Bryan Reynolds (FC Dallas) will hope for his first Europa League outing when AS Roma kick off their Europa League semifinal tie with a visit to Manchester United on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Giallorossi also need to concern themselves with booking a return trip to the tournament.
With five games left on their schedule, they stand six points behind in-form arch nemesis Lazio (who also hold a game in hand) for the last automatic group phase pass to the Europa League. That could come down to May 15, when the local rivals meet for a derby clash. If that doesn't work out, they're also three points up on Sassuolo for an invite to the inaugural Europa Conference League.
Though he's spent most of the season as a depth option, Ramiro Funes Mori (FC Dallas academy) has started six of Villarreal's last nine matches. That puts him central to their continental ambitions for both the present and the future. Speaking of the now, the Yellow Submarines will open their Europa League semifinal tie with a visit from Arsenal on Thursday.
Looking forward to the fall, Villarreal currently sit seven points above Grenada in La Liga's seventh place, which would be good for a trip to the Europa Conference League. However, they'd surely prefer a Europa League group stage ticket, and are only a single point behind a wheel-spinning Real Betis side in the race for sixth place.
Four rounds from the finish line, Timothy Weah (RBNY academy) and Lille hold a slim edge in the Ligue 1 title race. Defending champs Paris Saint-Germain stand just one point back, but with a far superior goal differential. The potential good news for Les Dogues, who haven't worn the league crown in a decade, is that three of their remaining opponents are mid-table dwellers with nothing much left to play for this season.
Reggie Cannon's (FC Dallas) first season in Liga NOS has come with a steep learning curve. He'll need to put that hard education to good use down the home stretch, as Boavista have five games left to preserve their top flight status. The Panthers (yes, they were called that before former Houston Dynamo FC standout Alberth Elis arrived) currently reside in the relegation playoff spot, but are just two points out of the last safety slot. In fact, they're only a couple of wins from the middle of a tightly-packed table.
The Jupiler League's double round-robin championship playoff kicks off this weekend with Anderlecht's Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls) and Genk's Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union) still holding out hope of overturning the eight-point edge currently held by US teammate Ethan Horvath and Club Brugge.
Along with fellow MLS alums, former Red Bulls fullbacks Kemar Lawrence and Michael Murillo, Miazga and the Mauves will get the first chance at cutting into Club Brugge's lead on Sunday. A win could also put them in pole position for the league's second Champions League berth, but McKenzie and Genk can also still have a say in that matter. While the Smurfs (yes, really) have already scored a Europa League ducket for winning the cup, they can also trade up by finishing in the top two of the championship playoff.
Ably guided by manager Jesse Marsch, Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union) and Red Bull Salzburg are closing in on a domestic double three-peat. They're eight points ahead of second-place Rapid Vienna with five games remaining, and a midweek win over Wolfsberger would ensure that is the only club with any shot of catching them. On Saturday, they'll line up against LASK in the Austrian Cup final.
There are also a few MLS exports with the season still on the line in the Austrian Bundesliga relegation group. Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City) and Austria Vienna hold the top spot in this survival hexagonal (which comes with a place in the league's Europa Conference League playoff) on goal differential.
On the other end of the relegation round table lies St. Pölten, who employ loan standouts Taylor Booth (Real Salt Lake academy) and Brandon Servania (FC Dallas). The Wolves have five games left to catch at least one team, with Admira Wacker, featuring Andrew Wooten (Philadelphia Union) the closest prey just two points away. The clubs will meet a week from Saturday.
Having already secured their place in the Premiership, the Dundee United midfield duo of Ian Harkes (D.C. United) and Dillon Powers (Colorado Rapids/Orlando City) can now focus the brunt of their energy on the Scottish Cup chase. The Tangerines, who haven't lifted the trophy since 2010 and haven't dipped their toes in Europa League waters since 2013, can remedy both of those droughts by claiming the trophy. First, they'll need to get past semifinal foe Hibernian (who they haven't beaten in the last seven tries) on May 8.
Besiktas and top gun Cyle Larin (Orlando City) will be taking aim at a domestic double in May. The Istanbul giants hold a three-point edge on city rival Fenerbahce with five rounds to go. Those two teams are already done with the season series, but the Black Eagles will need to tackle another local nemesis when they visit DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC) and third place Galatasaray (who stand six points back) on May 9. Nine days after that, they'll battle Whitecaps academy product Dever Orgill and Antalyaspor in the Turkish Cup final.
As for Yedlin and the Lions, they'll be trying to at least catch second place Fenerbahce in order to trade up from the Europa Conference League invite that comes with third place to a Champions League qualifying berth. Concurrently, Orgill's Scorpions will try to make sure they don't slide into the relegation mire. At the moment, Antalyaspor are five points and four places above the drop zone. However, they've also lost five of six and have played one game more than most of their nearest survival competitors.
Haji Wright's (LA Galaxy academy) lone goal winner over the weekend moved SønderjyskE closer to clinching Superliga survival. The club are 10 points above the drop zone with five relegation round games left to play. If all goes well enough, the Light Blues should be safe in the top flight by the time the DBU Pokalen final rolls around on May 13. The current holders will shoot for a second straight Danish Cup win against Randers FC.