22MLS_TheDailyKickoff-9/10/22
What you need to know

CF Montréal clinch Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs spot:

CF Montréal are the second Eastern Conference team in the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs, continuing their remarkable rise under second-year head coach Wilfried Nancy. The Canadian side booked their spot via Friday night’s dramatic 2-2 home draw vs. the Columbus Crew, joining LAFC and the Philadelphia Union as three of 14 teams that’ll play postseason soccer come mid-October.

A 13-game Saturday:

13!!! Highlights include Nashville SC versus the LA Galaxy at 3:30 p.m. ET on Univision, TUDN and Twitter; RBNY hosting the Revs at 6 p.m. ET on MLS Live on ESPN+; and FC Dallas welcoming LAFC at 8:30 p.m. ET on MLS LIVE on ESPN+. That’s just to name a few. It’s a stacked day. Check out the full schedule here.

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SIX STORYLINES TO WATCH FOR THE SIX MOST CRITICAL GAMES OF THE DAY

Did I mention today is stacked? 

We don’t have time to go through every game or even all the interesting games. Instead, we’ll have to settle for quick looks at the six most critical games of the day.

Nashville SC vs. LA Galaxy

  • WHEN: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • WATCH ON: Univision, TUDN, Twitter
  • A game decided in the stars

To put it simply, this is Hany Mukhtar versus Riqui Puig and Chicharito. Mukhtar is fresh off a month where he scored seven times and dished out five assists. Puig is getting comfortable quickly in LA while Chicharito is set to bounce back from a Panenka that might just live in infamy in Galaxy lore if they fall short of the playoffs.

The game as a whole might not end up being quite that simplified, but then again, there’s a decent chance it might. And with Nashville potentially prepared to take a huge step toward clinching a playoff spot today with a win and a possible Timbers loss, we could end up viewing today as an MVP clinching moment for Mukhtar in what might be Nashville’s biggest game of the season. They could use that MVP moment. They face Austin and LAFC in two of their final three games.

It’s a little more straightforward for LA. They still have two games in hand on seventh-place Portland and are just three points behind. But with so few games left, the margin of error is slim. If they can win today in their toughest remaining game, they’ll have to be feeling good about their playoff hopes.

New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution

  • WHEN: 6 p.m. ET
  • WATCH ON: MLS LIVE on ESPN+
  • Who’s healthy? And who’s healthy enough to handle energy drink soccer?

This one is more about the Revs than the Red Bulls. The Red Bulls haven’t quite locked down a home playoff spot, but considering their home record I’m not even sure they want to. But the Revs are right on the edge of the playoff line. Every point from here on out is critical. And plenty of points before today have been critical as well.

But New England have been dealing with injury issues to key players at the worst time. With the attack hobbled, the Revs have been staying afloat almost entirely thanks to Djordje Petrovic and surprise goal scorers. Their 3-0 win last week over NYCFC came via goals from Jon Bell, Noel Buck and Tommy McNamara and seven saves from Petrovic. It’s not a perfect formula, but it has kept them in the race

Today, they might get some key players back. Maybe? It seems like Dylan Borrero and Giacomo Vrioni have been listed as questionable for a month. And even if they are healthy, it’s not exactly the gentlest way to ease back onto the field and face the Red Bulls’ press. So who’s going to step for New England in a key game?

Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City SC

  • WHEN: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • WATCH ON: MLS LIVE on ESPN+
  • Anyone got a hangover cure?

Orlando City are deservedly still celebrating their US Open Cup. But it’s going to be a heckuva bit of whiplash when they have to turn around and take a million body blows from Philadelphia in a regular season game that will help determine whether or not they start the playoffs at home or on the road.

Meanwhile, the Union are chasing a second Supporters’ Shield in three years. And with LAFC facing Dallas tonight, Philly may just end the weekend on top of the league.

Seattle Sounders vs. Austin FC

  • WHEN: 8 p.m. ET
  • WATCH ON: MLS LIVE on ESPN+
  • This is it.

Can we keep it simple? If Seattle don’t win today, it’s all but over. Their hopes are already very, very slim. But a loss would potentially put them six points below eighth-place LA, who have a game in hand. A win and losses from two of three of LA, Portland or RSL would at least put a little more pressure on the teams above them.

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FC Dallas vs. LAFC

  • WHEN: 8:30 p.m. ET
  • WATCH ON: MLS LIVE on ESPN+
  • The Shield or safety

For LAFC, every game from here out is about keeping pace with Philadelphia for the Supporters’ Shield. It’s also about integrating new players like Cristian Tello in time for this team to be cohesive for a playoff run, but it’s mostly about the Shield. Even if it’s not the priority for LAFC, the Shield is still a major accomplishment they’ve almost let slip away. They’re still technically in the driver’s seat though and you’ve already come this far. Might as well take care of business.

That means beating an FC Dallas team with a little more to play for. Dallas aren’t quite safe yet despite sitting in third place in the West. They’re just four points above the line and a loss today with a few other anti-Dallas results could put them on the brink heading into their final three games.

A win against LAFC though? That might just seal the deal.

Portland Timbers vs. Minnesota United

  • WHEN: 10 p.m. ET
  • WATCH ON: MLS LIVE on ESPN+
  • The most six-pointer six-pointer so far

Has there been a more critical game in the playoff race so far? Portland sit in seventh on 42 points after 30 games. Minnesota United are fifth with 44 points after 29 games. Portland can end the day equal on points with fourth place Nashville, below the playoff line and anywhere in between. The Loons could finish anywhere from third to seventh. A month before Decision Day, this is as critical as it gets for one game. The rest of the West will be keeping a very, very close eye on this one.

And Other Things

RBNY midfielder Yearwood suspended additional 3 games

Major League Soccer has issued an additional three-match suspension to New York Red Bulls midfielder Dru Yearwood. The disciplinary action comes after Yearwood kicked a ball into the stands during the RBNY vs. Philadelphia Union match on Sept. 3 at Red Bull Arena, a 2-0 loss for the hosts.

The Reading Rainbow
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Full Time

Good luck out there. Celebrate appropriately.