Three games to close the weekend
New England, Atlanta clinch playoff spot:
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What happened?: Atlanta were in total control from the jump here. Xande Silva, Thiago Almada, and Giorgos Giakoumakis each had a goal and an assist.
So, did we learn anything?: Atlanta United are a wagon. For the first time in years, it feels like they’ll get you on the turf at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and beat you over the head with a sledgehammer for 90 minutes. This was our first look at Atlanta with summer signings Xande Silva and Saba Lobjanidze in the lineup together and they looked capable of hanging with any team in the league at any moment.
Montréal wanted no part of this one. Thanks to results around the league though, they’re still in eighth place with four games to go.
What happened?: The Supporters’ Shield winners-elect cruised and then watched as Lucho Acosta politely asked his teammates to clear out while he went ahead and wrapped up the MVP race with one of the best solo-effort goals of the season.
So, did we learn anything?: Cincy good.
What happened?: I… I don’t know and I’m afraid to find out.
So, did we learn anything?: So. Like. New York spends all season not scoring and not winning despite solid underlying numbers and then comes out and puts five on D.C. United to work their way into 10th place and two points behind ninth-place D.C. with a game in hand? If they pull this off and make the playoffs for the 14th straight season, we might have to concede a higher power is at work when it comes to the Red Bulls making the playoffs. Possibly a malevolent one who wants to see how many consecutive playoff appearances without a championship a fan base can take before it breaks entirely, but still, a higher power.
What happened?: Uhhh… somehow, nothing? Like literally nothing. There were six shots. In the whole game. Six. To be fair, they played this one in what was left of a tropical storm, but at least D.C. and Red Bulls figured out how to make it exciting.
So, did we learn anything?: I wrote yesterday that this game might be the spark these teams needed. That a back-and-forth, playoff-caliber game between cross-conference enemies would bring them to life. Instead, they went out and did… that. Maybe we should blame conditions and call it a day, but nothing really inspired a whole lot of confidence here.
What happened?: Chicago and New England traded goals a couple of times and in the end New England had clinched a playoff spot.
So, did we learn anything?: New England got a road point. Chicago did Chicago things. I don’t think we learned much at this point in the year. The Revs are technically out of a home playoff spot with five games to play though. Four come against playoff teams in the East. We’re going to learn a lot about this team’s MLS Cup hopes over the final few weeks.
Meanwhile, Chicago are now tied with two other teams at 34 points. All three are two points out of ninth place with four games to go. If the playoff-less streak is going to end, Chicago need some luck and a handful of wins over their final four games.
What happened?: A very normal soccer game. Dallas tend to play a lot of these right now.
So, did we learn anything?: Feels unlikely. Maybe Matt Doyle will see something in his deep dive column tonight. From afar, I think we got a totally average match where both teams got a result they’ll be kind of okay with.
What happened?: Johnny Russell, a hero, earned a goal and a red card in the first half, 2022 Willy Agada showed back up out of nowhere and each team scored a goal during the 12 minutes of first-half stoppage time as Sporting KC earned a critical win to keep their season alive.
So, did we learn anything?: SKC aren’t dead yet. Taking down a red-hot Houston team has them right on the edge of the line, just one point behind Dallas and three points behind San Jose. It’s still a long shot, but if something weird is going to happen with the play-in spots over the last few games, it feels like SKC are going to be the team to reap the rewards. They won’t go away.
What happened?: Oh wow, look Minnesota lost a home game.
So, did we learn anything?: I’m not mad Minnesota, I’m just disappointed. The Loons have a horrific home record and, at this point, it’s going to keep them out of the playoffs. It’s kind of a disaster to be honest. They’re better than this. They had a lead last night. And yet…
Minnesota are in 11th place with four games left.
What happened?: RSL overcame an early self-inflicted wound to come back and pick up a huge 2-1 win. It didn’t come without some drama involving Jefferson Savarino’s exclusion from the squad, but that’s just kind of how things have been lately in Salt Lake. At least they got a win.
So, did we learn anything?: The collection of Western Conference teams hovering around 41 to 43 points are essentially the exact same teams with different colors and I’m done trying to figure them out when they play each other.
What happened?: It looked for a moment like Portland blew a huge opportunity against the worst team in the conference. But Felipe Mora saved the day with a 71st-minute winner and Portland earned their fifth win in their last six games without defeat.
So, did we learn anything?: Portland are sixth in the West now. There’s a genuine chance they end up with a home playoff spot. We’re looking at one of the great in-season manager changes of all time if they pull that off. It’s been a wholly different team since the Gio Savarese era ended.
What happened?: Mathew Hoppe rescued a point late for the Quakes. It wasn’t enough to get them out of a Wild Card spot though.
So, did we learn anything?: Nashville could have had more, but cross-country road trip points are good points. The Coyotes basically have seventh place locked down at this point. It feels like they’re the only team that isn’t in first place that already knows what playoff spot they’ll be in.
- Atlanta United said their return to the playoffs is “just the beginning.”
- New England have a weight off their shoulders after clinching a playoff spot.
- Sporting KC “gave everything” in a critical win.
- A wild win in D.C. kept New York’s playoff hopes alive.
- Lucho Acosta scored one of the goals of the season.
Good luck out there. Don’t waste time.