Kickoff - 10.8.22
What you need to know

Petrović reaches long-term extension with New England

The New England Revolution have signed goalkeeper Djordje Petrović to a new contract through the 2025 MLS season with an option for 2026. The 23-year-old Serbian international joined the 2021 MLS Supporters’ Shield winners in April, replacing US international goalkeeper Matt Turner before he joined Premier League side Arsenal in a reported $10 million deal.

Chicago Fire open DP spot with new deal for midfielder Giménez

Chicago Fire FC have opened a Designated Player slot on their roster by signing midfielder Gastón Giménez to a new contract. The 31-year-old’s new deal begins in January 2023 and he’ll remain under contract with the Fire through the 2025 MLS season. Additionally, the Paraguay international received his U.S. Green Card earlier this year and will not occupy an international roster slot.

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THE WATCHGRIDOMETER WILL DECIDE YOUR FATE

There’s a lot to take in at once on Decision Day. The final Watchgridometer of the year is here to make the chaos manageable though. You’re welcome.

As we head down the stretch run, we’ve also added a “Playoffocity” score that measures how much impact the game will have on the playoff race.

Look: Tier One games = good, Tier Three games = great. That’s all you need to know.

*The Plusometer is a scientific way to quantify the potential watchability of any given game on MLS LIVE on ESPN+, but can and will also be used for all other channels. Using the elements of "Potential for very good/entertainingly bad soccer," "Chances created," "NARRATIVE," "Aesthetics" and "Totally subjective bonus points," I assign each element a score out of 10 and each game a score out of 50. Twenty-five is average potential. Fifty is greatest game of all-time potential. Yes, I do actually calculate each game. No, I don't know why. Respect for the form, maybe?

TIER ONE: THE DELIGHTFUL HUM OF A SOCCER BROADCAST ON TELEVISION
Soccer is nice to have on. And sometimes you look up and see something fun.

Atlanta United vs. New York City FC

  • WHEN: Sun., 2:30 pm ET
  • WATCH ON: MLS LIVE on ESPN+
  • Plusometer Score: 26/50
  • Playoffocity: 3/50

For all those interested in a fierce battle between the New York teams for third place in the Eastern Conference.

New York Red Bulls vs. Charlotte FC

  • WHEN: Sun., 2:30 pm ET
  • WATCH ON: MLS LIVE on ESPN+
  • Plusometer Score: 23/50
  • Playoffocity: 3/50

For all those interested in a fierce battle between the New York teams for third place in the Eastern Conference.

Chicago Fire FC vs. New England Revolution

  • WHEN: Sun., 2:30 pm ET
  • WATCH ON: MLS LIVE on ESPN+
  • Plusometer Score: 21/50
  • Playoffocity: 0/50

This game will be played.

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Austin FC vs. Colorado Rapids

  • WHEN: Sun., 5:00 pm ET
  • WATCH ON: MLS LIVE on ESPN+
  • Plusometer Score: 21/50
  • Playoffocity: 0/50

This game will be played. 

And it’s also a chance for Sebastian Driussi to make one more push for the MVP award. Although, now that I’m thinking about it, why would you play your MVP candidate in this game?

Seattle Sounders FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes

  • WHEN: Sun., 5:00 pm ET
  • WATCH ON: MLS LIVE on ESPN+
  • Plusometer Score: 20/50
  • Playoffocity: 0/50
  • The Daily Kickoff "That Train Scene In 'The Fugitive’" Game of the Week

Doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things.

TIER TWO: THE JOY OF STUMBLING ONTO A MATCH YOU PREVIOUSLY WEREN'T INVESTED IN BUT NOW ARE
Every now and then, you go into a game not asking for much and come away with more than you ever imagined.

D.C. United vs. FC Cincinnati

  • WHEN: Sun., 2:30 pm ET
  • WATCH ON: MLS LIVE on ESPN+
  • Plusometer Score: 32/50
  • Playoffocity: 42/50

FC Cincinnati kind of extremely need this. After losing to Chicago last week, the Knifey Lions enter Decision Day with a one-point advantage on eighth-place Orlando City. If Orlando draw with Columbus and Cincy lose to D.C., then FC Cincinnati, after all this, would miss the playoffs. The “total disaster scenario” is completely in play here. Spare a prayer for Cincinnati fans if you have a moment.

Inter Miami CF vs. CF Montréal

  • WHEN: Sun., 2:30 pm ET
  • WATCH ON: MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, TVA Sports in Canada
  • Plusometer Score: 33/50
  • Playoffocity: 30/50

Both teams are already locked into a playoff spot, but there are still stakes here. Inter Miami could finish the day as low as seventh and as high as fourth. CF Montréal can earn a Round One bye with a win and a Philadelphia draw. I’m not sure we’ll see each team at full strength, but whoever is on the field will be fighting for a result that may have serious ramifications a week from now.

Philadelphia Union vs. Toronto FC

  • WHEN: Sun., 2:30 pm ET
  • WATCH ON: MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, TSN 1/4 in Canada
  • Plusometer Score: 35/50
  • Playoffocity: 30/50

The Union kind of need a win here? I can’t really believe we’re at this point, but a Union draw and a Montréal win gives CFM a Round One bye. That’s despite Philly entering with almost four times the goal differential. If I were the Union, I would just go ahead and win this one. Just to be sure.

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FC Dallas vs. Sporting Kansas City

  • WHEN: Sun., 5:00 pm ET
  • WATCH ON: MLS LIVE on ESPN+
  • Plusometer Score: 31/50
  • Playoffocity: 28/50

FC Dallas can still drop out of a home playoff spot at the end of the day. They’re coming into Sunday third in the West, but they’re just three points ahead of LA and Nashville, each of whom would have a tiebreaker if they win and Dallas loses. With Dallas up against a sneakily red-hot SKC team, that scenario is far from implausible.

Houston Dynamo FC vs. LA Galaxy

  • WHEN: Sun., 5:00 pm ET
  • WATCH ON: MLS LIVE on ESPN+
  • Plusometer Score: 26/50
  • Playoffocity: 35/50

The Galaxy are locked into the playoffs, but they could end Sunday anywhere from third to seventh. As long as they take care of business against Houston, they’ll be playing a playoff game at home.

LAFC vs. Nashville SC

  • WHEN: Sun., 5:00 pm ET
  • WATCH ON: MLS LIVE on ESPN+
  • Plusometer Score: 35/50
  • Playoffocity: 35/50

Like the Galaxy, Nashville can’t miss the playoffs. But they can finish anywhere from the third to seventh. Unlike the Galaxy, they’re playing a really good soccer team. Although, it might be a bit depleted considering LAFC don’t have anything to play for. Then again, Steve Cherundolo seems set on going full-strength, knowing a Round One bye creates a long layoff.

TIER THREE: THE SATISFACTION OF EXPECTATIONS BEING MET
Sometimes you want the best and you get it.

Orlando City SC vs. Columbus Crew

  • WHEN: Sun., 2:30 pm ET
  • WATCH ON: FS1, FOX Deportes
  • Plusometer Score: 40/50
  • Playoffocity: 50/50
  • The Daily Kickoff "I don't know what's gonna happen but something's gonna happen" Game of the Week

THUNDERDOOOOOMMMEEEEEEEEEE!

Two teams enter, one team leaves. Unless, ya know, they both draw and FC Cincinnati totally choke against D.C. United. Yet, the most likely scenario remains.

Neither team looked spectacular in their first attempts to all but wrap up a playoff spot on Wednesday. Maybe having their backs all the way against the wall will ignite something? Look, all I’ll say is if Columbus are up by any amount of goals, don’t do something ridiculous like turn on another game to find out which New York team will finish third or something. Crew games aren’t over until the absolute final whistle because the Crew say so. They’re going to let you score as many times as needed to get you back into the game and you’re going to like it.

Minnesota United FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC

  • WHEN: Sun., 5:00 pm ET
  • WATCH ON: MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, TSN 1/4 in Canada
  • Plusometer Score: 41/50
  • Playoffocity: 50/50
  • The Daily Kickoff MLS LIVE on ESPN+ Game Of The Week

A SECOND THUNDERDOOOOOMMMEEEEEEEEEE!!

If Vancouver win, they’ve pulled off the near impossible and made a stunning comeback run to the playoffs. If Minnesota lose, they’ve pulled off the near impossible and lost six of their last seven to miss the playoffs. We’re truly blessed to have this game fall at the perfect time.

It’s not all bad for the Loons. There is a world where they end up in a home playoff spot at the end of the day. They just need a win and LA, Nashville and Portland losses. That doesn’t seem probable of course, but then again Vancouver might make the playoffs with a -14 goal differential so…

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Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers

  • WHEN: Sun., 5:00 pm ET
  • WATCH ON: ESPN2
  • Plusometer Score: 43/50
  • Playoffocity: 50/50
  • The Daily Kickoff National Game of the Week

A THIRD THUNDERDOOOOOMMMEEEEEEEEEE!!!

If Portland take down an RSL team that’s winless in five games, they’re in. If they draw against an RSL team that’s winless in five games, they’re in. If they lose, they’re out.

Three Thunderdomes in one day, y’all. What a time to be alive.

AND OTHER THINGS

Pepi scores brace to boost USMNT World Cup chances: Ricardo Pepi continues strengthening his case for a World Cup call-up with the US men's national team, netting a brace for FC Groningen and extending his scoring streak to three games in the Eredivisie.

Columbus Crew 2, St Louis CITY2 to play for the MLS NEXT Pro Cup title: After 252 regular-season games, 855 goals and six playoff matches it all comes down to one game Saturday afternoon at Lower.com Field as Columbus Crew 2 host St Louis CITY2 in the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro Cup (1:30 pm ET | mlsnextpro.com).

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Good luck out there. Reach out to a friend.