22MLS_TheDailyKickoff-4x5 (2)
What you need to know

Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs field set

The 2022 MLS regular season is over and the playoff field is officially set. Take a look at the field here.

FC Cincinnati clinch Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs spot

Cincy got over the line on Decision Day by beating D.C. United 5-2, needing the regular season’s last day to join the seven-team Eastern Conference playoff field. They’ll be the No. 5 seed and visit No. 4 New York Red Bulls in Round One.

Orlando City SC clinch Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs spot

They joined the seven-team Eastern Conference playoff field Sunday via a dramatic 2-1 win over Columbus Crew, and now they’ll be the No. 7 seed and face No. 2 CF Montréal in Round One.

Minnesota United FC clinch Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs spot

The Loons’ berth snapped a six-game slide, and now they’ll face No. 3 FC Dallas in Round One as the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference’s seven-team field.

Real Salt Lake clinch Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs spot

Real Salt Lake went down to the wire in booking an Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs spot, earning passage back into the postseason with a 3-1 win on Decision Day against the Portland Timbers. Now, head coach Pablo Mastroeni’s team will face No. 2 Austin FC in Round One as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference’s seven-team field.

Sign up for The Daily Kickoff in your inbox! The Daily Kickoff is more than an article – it can be delivered to your email account as well.

;
The recap

You probably didn’t catch all that happened yesterday while 14 teams played at the same time. Twice. The Recap is here to help look back one more time before we go headlong into trying to look ahead at what will happen in one of the most random playoffs in the world.

CHICAGO FIRE FC 1-1 NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

What happened: Alex Morris’ 92nd-minute goal canceled out Dylan Borrero’s 88th-minute goal in a 1-1 draw.

What it means: Nothing. But I’m glad Dylan Borrero is back.

INTER MIAMI CF 1-3 CF MONTRÉAL

What happened: Djordje Mihailovic, Lassi Lappalainen and Kei Kamara each scored in a comfortable win.

What it means: Inter Miami ended the year in sixth place. They’ll take on NYCFC in Round One. And Montréal put some pressure on Philly to take first place in the East, however...

PHILADELPHIA UNION 4-0 TORONTO FC

What happened: The Union didn’t mess around. Daniel Gazdag scored in the fourth minute and added two more goals after that.

What it means: The Union have finished first in the East for the second time in three seasons. They can sit back in Round One and wait for the winner of the Red Bulls and Cincy matchup. Their win kept Montréal in second place and set CFMTL to take on Orlando City in Round One.

ATLANTA UNITED 1-2 NYCFC

What happened: Atlanta United went down early (shocking, I know) as NYCFC cruised to a 2-1 win in Atlanta thanks to goals from Gabriel Pereira and Heber.

What it means: NYCFC held onto the third spot in the East. It almost feels kind of surprising after a period of form where NYCFC may have legitimately been one of the worst teams in the conference for a moment, but they’ve bounced back in a major way since winning Campeones Cup. They’ll enter their playoff matchup against Inter Miami on a three-game league winning streak.

NEW YORK RED BULLS 2-0 CHARLOTTE FC

What happened: August arrival Elias Manoel scored his first two MLS goals as the Red Bulls handled Charlotte.

What it means: NYCFC’s win meant the Red Bulls were staying in fourth place no matter what, but it has to be encouraging to see a starting striker find the net a couple of times. We’ll see if Manoel starts against FC Cincinnati in Round One, but a striker getting hot at the right time could be the difference between a “That’s So Metro” moment happening in the first round or in the Conference Final.

D.C. UNITED 2-5 FC CINCINNATI

What happened: FC Cincinnati wasted no time making Decision Day a little more boring for us and a little more comfortable for them. Lucho Acosta and Brenner each scored inside the first 10 minutes on the way to a Brenner hat trick and a 5-2 win. Brandon Vazquez also scored in this one while finding the time to dish out three assists as well.

What it means: PLAYOFF. CINCY.

They’re in! And even if it took until Decision Day, it’s hard to think a little bit of extra waiting really meant that much for a team that’s been waiting more than three years for success. Now they’ve found it and, thanks to their front three, they’ll be a dark horse pick to make a deep run into the playoffs. First up in that run: A trip to Red Bull Arena to take on the Red Bulls.

ORLANDO CITY 2-1 COLUMBUS CREW

What happened: I bet you can guess. Columbus took an early lead and did not hold onto that lead. Junior Urso and Facundo Torres each scored in the second half for the Lions.

What it means: Orlando are in and set to take on Montréal in Round One. Meanwhile, the Crew cemented their legacy this season as one of the all-time worst teams at defending a lead. Just in the last two games, late goals allowed to Charlotte and second-half goals allowed to Orlando doomed them.

AUSTIN FC 1-1 COLORADO RAPIDS

What it means: Nothing. Just a nice tune-up before Austin try to turn their regular season success into playoff success.

FC DALLAS 2-1 SPORTING KC

What happened: Goals from Sebastian Lletget and Paul Arriola made the difference as FC Dallas took down a hot SKC side.

What it means: FC Dallas held onto the third spot in the West thanks to the win. They’ll host Minnesota United in Round One.

HOUSTON DYNAMO 1-3 LA GALAXY

What happened: An early Sebas Ferreira goal gave them a bit of a scare, but LA roared back with goals from Riqui Puig, Chicharito and Dejan Joveljic.

What it means: The Galaxy ended the year in fourth place and have the tough task of facing Nashville in Round One. LA ended the year on a four-game unbeaten run though. And their revamped midfield seems to be a major improvement on the previous version. Puig and Gaston Brugman helped lead LA to their first home playoff game since 2016.

LAFC 0-1 NASHVILLE SC

What happened: Teal Bunbury made the difference with a 53rd-minute goal.

What it means: Nashville were able to hold onto the fifth spot in the West with the win. Their prize is heading to LA to face the Galaxy in Round One. Meanwhile, Hany Mukhtar’s prize is an official 2022 MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi win and a likely Landon Donovan MLS MVP award.

MINNESOTA UNITED 2-0 VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

What it means: Minnesota ended what was almost an all-time disastrous skid as they snapped a streak of six games without a win and made their way into the playoffs. It wasn’t pretty, but they’ll take it. That’s four straight years now with a playoff berth for Minnesota and Adrian Heath. They’ll head to Dallas in Round One.

;

SEATTLE SOUNDERS 2-2 SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

What happened: A Nico Lodeiro brace and goals from Jeremy Ebobisse and Cade Cowell.

What it means: Shockingly, nothing.

REAL SALT LAKE 3-1 PORTLAND TIMBERS

What happened: Jefferson Savarino, Rubio Rubin and Bode Hidalgo all found the net for RSL before Playoff Dairon could even get started.

What it means: RSL are in! The Timbers are out. I doubt it quite makes up for last year’s Western Conference Final, but it is yet another Decision Day where RSL knock out a Western Conference giant. And that’s gotta feel pretty good. RSL will head to Austin in Round One. The Timbers will stay home and, for the first time since 2014 (!!), a team from the West that isn’t Portland or Seattle will make MLS Cup.

Other Things

Nashville SC's Mukhtar wins 2022 MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi: Nashville SC midfielder Hany Mukhtar has brought home the 2022 MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi, tallying a league-high 23 goals and 11 assists in a tightly-contested race that came down to Decision Day. Mukhtar, who signed as Nashville’s first-ever Designated Player before their expansion campaign in 2020, accounted for 44% of the club’s goals this campaign (23 of 52). His late-season surge culminated in a league-high 11 goals since the start of August.

The Reading Rainbow
Full Time
;

Good luck out there. Make sure people know what’s coming.