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What you need to know

Three games today

Columbus faces Portland at 1 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, D.C. United hosts Inter Miami at 5 p.m. ET on MLS LIVE on ESPN+, and LAFC welcomes Houston at 10:30 p.m. ET on MLS LIVE on ESPN+.

FC Dallas clinch Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs spot

FC Dallas are into the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs, continuing their bounce-back season under first-year head coach Nico Estevez. FCD are the third Western Conference side to book a postseason spot, joining LAFC and Austin FC as entrants and leaving four slots up for grabs in the West.

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The Recap

NYCFC (2) vs. NEW YORK RED BULLS (0)

What happened: Alexander Callens scored in the first minute of the game and NYCFC cruised from there. Santiago Rodriguez added a goal in the 23rd minute and the Red Bulls only put one shot on target.

What it means: NYCFC are back? Maybe? We wondered if they’d be able to ride the momentum from their Campeones Cup win and this win may have given us an answer. At the very least, they’ve avoided a doomsday scenario where they lost out and missed the playoffs entirely, and they’re one step closer to hosting a home playoff game. They’re one point behind the Red Bulls heading into the final two games of the season.

ATLANTA UNITED (0) VS. PHILADELPHIA (0)

What happened: Atlanta played well and limited Philadelphia’s chances to a minimum, but Andre Blake is Andre Blake and you have to do something special to get the ball past him.

What it means: The Union clinched a place in the Concacaf Champions League with the draw, but they haven’t quite clinched first place in the Supporters’ Shield race or even in the East. They’re five points ahead of CF Montréal in the East with two games left. Atlanta are still alive in the playoff race, but they could have really used a win. They’ll need a lot of luck the rest of the way.

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (0) VS. CF MONTRÉAL (1)

What happened: Alistair Johnston found the net in the 72nd minute and that was that.

What it means: CFM are still alive in the race for first in the East. The Revs… are probably done. They have four teams above them in the playoff race with just two games to play.

ORLANDO CITY (4) VS. TORONTO FC (0)

What happened: A beatdown. Facundo Torres and Ercan Kara scored in the first half, while an own goal and a late Tesho Akindele goal gave Orlando a huge win in the standings and on the scoreboard.

What it means: For starters. Toronto are officially eliminated. They’ll be a favorite to make the playoffs in 2023, but it just didn’t come together this season. The defense will be the obvious point of focus this offseason. Orlando, however, are all but officially safe. They’re five points above the line and just four points below a home playoff spot with a game in hand.

CHICAGO FIRE FC (2) VS. CHARLOTTE FC (3)

What happened: Yikes, Chicago... After two first half goals from Chicago, Charlotte scored three times in the second half, including a 96th-minute winner from Karol Swiderski.

What it means: Chicago are officially eliminated and Charlotte are alive for another week. But mostly, it means “yikes, Chicago…”

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SPORTING KC (4) VS. MINNESOTA UNITED (1)

What happened: SKC rode their outstanding midsummer signings Erik Thommy and William Agada to a rout over the Loons. Thommy scored in the 41st and Agada added a brace.

What it means: It means SKC have a lot to look forward to in 2023. Agada especially seems to be a star.

For the Loons, it means that things are about to get very, very interesting. They’re floundering down the stretch and are now just two points above the playoff line with two games left.

AUSTIN FC (1) VS. NASHVILLE SC (1)

What it means: For Austin, their long march to second place in the West continues. For Nashville, they’re still in a home playoff spot for now. And they're four points above the line with two games left.

REAL SALT LAKE (1) VS. FC CINCINNATI (2)

What happened: The Brennersaince. Brenner’s brace led the way for FC Cincinnati.

What it means: Cincy are five points clear of the line in the East. RSL… are officially below the line in the West. They’re equal on points with LA, but have a game out of hand.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (2) VS. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (1)

What happened: Pedro Vite and Julian Gressel scored in the first half to give the Whitecaps the win.

What it means: Vancouver are kind of alive and three points below the line with two games left. Seattle are kind of actually dead for the first time in their club’s MLS history. Like really. They’re four points below the line with three teams ahead of them and three games to play. That might have been it.

LA GALAXY (4) VS. COLORADO RAPIDS (1)

What happened: The Galaxy probably saved their season. A Gaston Brugman brace led the way and Raheem Edwards and Chicharito added goals of their own.

What it means: The Galaxy are in seventh place and they have a game in hand on the two teams within three points of them. They even have a game in hand on fourth place Nashville and the gap is only four points. This was a massive result.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (1) VS. FC DALLAS (1)

What happened: Both teams traded early goals. Jader Obrian for Dallas and Jeremy Ebobisse for San Jose.

What it means: Dallas clinched a playoff spot! And they are five points ahead of fifth place. They should be a home playoff team.

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Three quick notes for three games

We had a lengthy recap, so we’ll take it gentle on the previews today. Here’s a quick note for each game.

Columbus Crew vs. Portland Timbers | 1 p.m. ET - ESPN, ESPN Deportes

Seventh-place in the East is set to take on sixth-place in the West here. It’s not quite a Thunderdome game where whoever loses is eliminated, but whoever wins is probably safe. Portland would jump into fourth place in the West with two games remaining and a five points gap between them and eighth-place RSL. Columbus would be four points clear of the line with three games left to play.

It may not be the prettiest game of the weekend, but it will definitely be one of the most important.

D.C. United vs. Inter Miami | 5 p.m. ET - MLS LIVE on ESPN+

Inter Miami have to take care of business here. I know D.C. have firepower here and there, but they’re heading straight for the Wooden Spoon. If Inter Miami lose this one, they could end this day five points below seventh-place Columbus with three games to go. But if you aren’t winning your easiest games, you may not deserve a spot in the playoffs anyway.

LAFC vs. Houston Dynamo FC | 10:30 p.m. ET - MLS LIVE on ESPN+

Philadelphia left the window open here with a draw against Atlanta yesterday. If LAFC win then they’re on top of the league thanks to having more wins than the Union. With Portland and Nashville waiting for them in their final two games, they better take all three points here if they want a second shield.

The Reading Rainbow
Full Time

Good luck out there. Take a second to enjoy something.

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