22MLS_TheDailyKickoff-4x5 (2)
The recap


What happened

Gonzalo Higuain’s 86th-minute winner gave the Herons a massive, massive win.

What it means

Inter Miami enter the weekend three points above the line with two games left to play. The pressure is all on Columbus now to keep pace. It also puts one more team within sight of NYCFC and a home playoff spot. Inter Miami, in seventh place, are just four points behind the Pigeons. Their win also eliminated New England from playoff contention.

What you need to know

Colorado Rapids defender Moor to retire after 2022 season

Colorado Rapids center back Drew Moor plans to retire from professional soccer following the 2022 MLS season. Moor has spent 18 years in MLS, including 10 seasons with Colorado. He’s also played for FC Dallas and Toronto FC, winning two MLS Cups, a Supporters’ Shield and three Canadian Championships along the way. The 38-year-old is one of the most experienced players in league history, sitting on 434 MLS appearances (393 starts), 35,928 minutes, 28 goals and eight assists heading into the Rapids’ final two matches of the season.

Chicago Fire winger Torres undergoes season-ending surgery

Jairo Torres is out for the remainder of Chicago Fire FC’s 2022 season after undergoing a successful surgical procedure to stabilize a left tibia stress fracture. Torres, 22, is expected to make a full recovery prior to the start of Chicago’s 2023 campaign. He is one of the club’s three Designated Players alongside midfielders Xherdan Shaqiri and Gaston Gimenez.

Nine games today

It’s the last time we’ll have a full Saturday slate this year. Eighteen teams take the field today with highlights including New England hosting Atlanta United at 1:30 pm ET on UniMas, TUDN and Twitter, Columbus welcoming the Red Bulls at 7:30 pm ET on MLS LIVE on ESPN+, and the Galaxy facing Real Salt Lake at 10:30 pm ET on MLS LIVE on ESPN+. Check out the full schedule here.

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Let's spend the weekend making a mess

There are so many games this weekend definitely critical to multiple playoff races going on, and even more that could be. They just need a push in the right direction. Let’s put some scenarios out into the world and just see if we can’t accidentally manifest the messiest Decision Day of all-time. This is service journalism.

Scenario #1: Atlanta United beat New England, Charlotte beat Philadelphia, New York beat Columbus

There would be just four points separating seventh-place Inter Miami and 10th place Charlotte. Charlotte would be sitting four points below Inter Miami with the same number of games played and a massive game against Columbus waiting for the Crown next Wednesday. This would also keep Atlanta hanging around for a little while longer. They’d still be extreme long shots, but hey, Charlotte just beat Philadelphia, so who’s to define what longshots are and aren’t?

Scenario #2: Charlotte FC beat Philadelphia, CF Montréal beat D.C. United

Philadelphia and CF Montréal enter the weekend separated by five points but even on wins. If Philadelphia lose and CF Montréal win, then we head into Decision Day with CF Montréal on the cusp of taking first place in the East. If Wilfried Nancy and company get the job done against Inter Miami, Philadelphia would need to win against Toronto to hold onto first place. 

This scenario gets even more interesting if LAFC lose to Portland on Sunday. If the above scenario happens along with an LAFC loss this weekend, then LAFC would need a draw or better against Nashville to keep CF Montréal from being your 2022 Supporters’ Shield winners. That’s not as far-fetched as you thought, huh?

Scenario #3: Atlanta beat New England, Charlotte beat Philadelphia, New York beat Columbus, Chicago beat FC Cincinnati, New York City beat Orlando (Sunday)

We’d be in a world where 10th place Charlotte would be five points behind fifth place Cincinnati with a game in hand and everyone in front of them within extremely plausible touching distance. Honestly, there are very few scenarios this weekend where the East ends up relatively boring. I’m just trying to be aspirational here.

Scenario #4: San Jose beat Minnesota, Vancouver beat Austin, LA beat RSL, Seattle beat SKC

The West can’t really get \too\ cluttered until tomorrow, but these results today would give Vancouver a shocking amount of life for a team with a -17 goal differential going into the weekend. We’re giving Seattle life here too. The Caps would be just two points below the line heading to Decision Day. Seattle would just need a win and a Minnesota draw to make the playoffs for the 14th year in a row. But if we want to one-up that a bit…

Scenario #5: Colorado beat Dallas, San Jose beat Minnesota, Vancouver beat Austin, RSL beat LA, Seattle beat SKC, LAFC beat Portland, Houston beat Nashville

Could I interest anyone in a Decision Day where three points separate third place and fourth place in the West, one point separates fourth and seventh, two points separate fourth and eighth, and three points separate fifth and 10th?

In the 1980s — like 40-something years ago — people got together to do something called Hands Across America where they all got in a line and held hands in a massive human chain from coast to coast across the country while everyone talked about how Duran Duran would always be popular. I may be mixing up some details there, but I know it was supposed to solve a good chunk of the world problems. I don’t think it worked that time, but I’m willing to do what it takes to make this scenario a reality. Even if that means buying into the power of self-belief. What I’m saying is, meet me outside, I wanna try something.

Scenario #6: D.C. United beat CF Montréal

Genuinely the wildest scenario out of all of these.

And other things

Houston Dynamo's Quintero fined for incident vs. LAFC

The MLS Disciplinary Committee has found Houston Dynamo FC forward Darwin Quintero guilty of violating the League's policy regarding hands to the face/head/neck of an opponent in the 53rd minute of Houston’s match against LAFC on September 18. Quintero has been fined an undisclosed amount for his actions.

The Reading Rainbow
Full Time

Good luck out there. Spend a while doing what you enjoy.