Decision Day 2017 - Landing Page - pregame show

Golden Boot, playoffs on the line during Decision Day presented by AT&T

This Week in MLS – October 16, 2017
  • Golden Boot, Postseason positioning on the line during Decision Day presented by AT&T
  • East sides jockeying for second place, coveted first-round bye in Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs
  • Three teams battle for one final playoff spot, Cascadia rivals square off for top seed in wild Western Conference
  • Final MLS game set for RFK Stadium as historic run comes to an end
  • Atlanta United’s Andrew Carleton, USMNT U-17s charge in to FIFA U-17 World Cup Quarters
  • Sweet Tweets
  • Week 33 Game Previews
 
Golden Boot, Postseason positioning on the line during Decision Day presented by AT&T
It’s the final week of the MLS regular season, and heart-pounding drama is set to unfold during Decision Day presented by AT&T on Sunday, October 22. The annual sports spectacle has become an MLS tradition, as the regular season grand finale features all 22 teams in action during 11 simultaneous matchups – all kicking off at 4 p.m. ET. In the wild Western Conference, the stakes couldn’t be higher with two teams in contention for the top seed and three others fighting for the final spot in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs. In the East, four clubs are racing to second place for a postseason bye, and the Golden Boot winner will finally be revealed once the dust settles.
 
Digital pregame coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET with MLSsoccer.com’s hour-long “Decision Day Live presented by AT&T,” which resumes after the action from 6:30-7:30 p.m. (YouTube/Facebook/Twitter/AT&T Facebook).
 
 
East sides jockeying for second place, coveted first-round bye in Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs
The script couldn’t have been drawn up much better heading into Decision Day presented by AT&T. Four Eastern Conference sides enter this Sunday jockeying for a coveted first-round bye in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs, with New York City FC, the Chicago Fire, Atlanta United and Columbus Crew SC all having a chance at the runner-up position in the standings.
 
Second-place NYCFC (16-9-8, 56 points) host fifth-place Crew SC (16-12-5, 53 points) on Sunday at Citi Field in Queens (4 p.m. ET). If Columbus notches a road win, it would corral the victories tiebreaker over New York and open a number of potential scenarios in determining the East’s second-place finisher, which would secure a conference knockout round bye. Columbus is in the midst of a current league-high nine-game unbeaten streak and is coming off a 1-0 road victory against Orlando City SC, while NYCFC fell 2-1 to the New England Revolution.
 
Waiting in the wings are the third-place Chicago Fire (16-10-7, 55 points), led by MLS Golden Boot frontrunner Nemanja Nikolic. Following his hat-trick performance and 3-2 Chicago win against the Philadelphia Union, Nikolic is atop the goal-scoring leaderboard with 24. That total ties for sixth all-time among MLS single-season performances, and he is three shy of matching the MLS record of 27 held by Bradley Wright-Phillips, Chris Wondolowski and Roy Lassiter. Nikolic and Chicago visit the Houston Dynamo on Sunday at BBVA Compass Stadium.
 
Also still in the mix are Atlanta United (15-9-9, 54 points) who host Supporters’ Shield winners Toronto FC (20-5-8, 68 points) in one of the league’s biggest blockbuster matchups of the season at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta announced on Oct. 5 that it has broken its own league record attendance of 70,425, set earlier this year against Orlando.
 
Fans should be in for a treat with Toronto (72 goals) and Atlanta (68 goals) touting the top two offenses in MLS. In fact, this represents the strongest attacking duo since the 1998 MLS season when the LA Galaxy posted a league-record 85 goals and D.C. United touted an MLS Cup runner-up squad that registered 74 regular-season tallies.
 
From the second-place standings dash to the Golden Boot race, the Eastern Conference preps for plenty of high-flying Decision Day drama.
 
 
Three teams battle for one final playoff spot, Cascadia rivals square off for top seed in wild Western Conference
Three clubs will be battling to extend their season on Decision Day presented by AT&T, as FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake and San Jose’s postseason hopes come down to one final match. The Earthquakes control their own destiny and will clinch the sixth and final postseason spot in the Western Conference with a victory over Minnesota United FC at Avaya Stadium on Sunday (4 p.m. ET, MLS LIVE). FC Dallas needs a victory when hosting the LA Galaxy at Toyota Stadium (4 p.m. ET, MLS LIVE) along with a San Jose loss or tie to lock up its fourth consecutive appearance in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. RSL, meanwhile, needs a victory over Sporting Kansas City on Sunday at Rio Tinto Stadium (4 p.m. ET, MLS LIVE) and draws or losses from both San Jose and Dallas to lock up back-to-back postseason appearances.
 
At the top of the conference, Vancouver Whitecaps FC take on Cascadia Cup rival Portland Timbers at Providence Park (4 p.m. ET, TSN/MLS LIVE) for the top spot in the Western Conference. A win by either club would guarantee home-field advantage through the Western Conference Final and a first-round bye. MLS MVP candidate Diego Valeri’s recent run of form has seen the Timbers win five straight matches at home. Last week, the Argentine became only the second player in MLS history to score 20-plus goals and record 10-plus assists in a single season (Sebastian Giovinco, 2015).
 
Sporting Kansas City and Seattle Sounders FC both remain in contention for the second spot in the Western Conference, and the accompanying guaranteed first-round bye. Rounding out the West is current fifth-seed Houston Dynamo, who last week secured their spot in the postseason for the first time since 2013.
 
A wild Decision Day in the Western Conference is on tap, with Sunday’s action being the final chance for three clubs to extend their season and holding major postseason implications for the already-clinched squads.
 
 
Final MLS game set for RFK Stadium as historic run comes to an end
The curtain will come down on a significant chapter in Major League Soccer history on Decision Day presented by AT&T, when the final league game ever to be played at RFK Memorial Stadium in Washington, D.C. will take place as D.C. United play host to their arch-rivals, the New York Red Bulls (4 p.m. ET, MLS LIVE).
 
From its first MLS game on April 20, 1996, RFK Stadium has seen its share of milestone moments in the league's history. The host for three MLS Cups and one MLS All-Star Game, games at RFK Stadium have featured one of the most passionate fanbases from the league’s inception, the stands along the far touchline bouncing up and down with the support of the Screaming Eagles and Barra Brava.
 
The only home D.C. United has ever known, RFK Stadium is the final stadium from the inaugural season of 1996 still in use in the league. United have posted a 184-98-64 record in their league home games, the fifth-most home wins of any club in MLS history, also winning MLS Cup '97 there before a crowd of 57,431. United are set to move into new Audi Field in southwest Washington for the 2018 MLS season.
 
 
Atlanta United’s Andrew Carleton, USMNT U-17s charge in to FIFA U-17 World Cup Quarters
The United States Men’s National Team have booked a place in to the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. The stars and stripes will take on the winner of England vs. Japan on Saturday, October 21 (10:30 AM ET, FS2/Universo).
 
The USMNT team blew past the round of 16 with a 5-0 win over Paraguay. With eight MLS affiliated starters, the American team came out firing. Atlanta United's Andrew Carleton was at the head of the attack again when he provided a beautiful through ball to Toronto FC’s Ayo Akinola who assisted Timothy Weah’s first goal. Carleton scored his second goal of the tournament and added two assists in the second half of the game. The Homegrown star's team-leading three assists are the second most amongst all players in FIFA U-17 World Cup. 
 
MLS Homegrown and academy players have now contributed to eight of the ten USMNT goals in this tournament, scoring four goals total and assisting on another five scores. Carleton, Akinola, D.C. United’s Chris Durkin, and Atlanta United’s Chris Goslin have either scored or assisted during this World Cup. 
 
 
Sweet Tweets
 
 
Week 33 Game Previews
 
Sunday, Oct. 22
Toronto FC at Atlanta United, 4 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time. Hector Villalba scored a pair of goals, the second early in the second half, pulling Atlanta United back into a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC at BMO Field on April 8.
  • Atlanta United had their winless streak extended to three games with a second draw in that time, reaching a goalless result with the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena.
  • Brad Guzan was credited with three saves in recording his fifth consecutive personal shutout, now 482 minutes since his last goal conceded, the 10th-longest shutout streak in MLS history. It was a fifth defensive shutout in the last six matches for Atlanta United, and the seventh shutout in the last nine matches, dating back to Sept. 10.
  • Toronto FC won their second game on the trot, defeating the Montréal Impact by the game’s lone goal at BMO Field. It was TFC’s 20th victory of the season in league play, equaling the sixth-most victories in a season by one team in MLS history, also equaling the most by a team since the end of the shootout era (since 2000), matching the 2014 Seattle Sounders FC.
  • With the victory, Toronto FC has also reached 68 points for the season, equaling the most points by a team in a single season in the league’s history (Los Angeles Galaxy, 68 points in 32 games in 1998).
 
New York Red Bulls at D.C. United, 4 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. On Sept. 27 at Red Bull Arena, Tyler Adams scored twice and a late penalty kick gave the Red Bulls the lead, but an own goal in stoppage time gave United a share of the points in a wild 3-3 draw. On April 15, also in Harrison, Alex Muyl and Bradley Wright-Phillips scored goals on either side of halftime, leading the Red Bulls to a 2-0 win.
  • United have a five-game undefeated streak in the series alive at RFK Stadium, with three wins in that span, winning 2-0 there last May 13, before the teams played to a 2-2 draw on Aug. 21.
  • D.C. United suffered a second consecutive defeat as their winless streak reached three games, falling 4-0 to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park.
  • United were shut out at the attacking end for a second consecutive game, their 17th shutout of the season, matching the all-time MLS single season record for offensive shutouts, first set by D.C. United in 2010.
  • The Red Bulls gained a second consecutive result, reaching a goalless draw with Atlanta United at Red Bull Arena. It was a second consecutive shutout for the Red Bulls, the third time this season they’ve recorded clean sheets in back-to-back games, now 180 minutes since their last goal conceded.
  • The Decision Day finale will be final MLS game ever at RFK Memorial Stadium, the final stadium from the inaugural Major League Soccer season of 1996 still in use in the league. United have a 184-98-64 record on their home ground over their 22-year history, the sixth-best overall in MLS history.
 
New England Revolution at Montreal Impact, 4 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Lee Nguyen scored the game’s lone goal to give the Revolution the victory, Sept. 9 at Gillette Stadium.
  • The Revolution have won the last three meetings between the teams, over the past two seasons, snapping a five-game undefeated streak for the Impact in the all-time series and also ending a three-game Montréal winning run.
  • The Impact saw their losing run extended to four matches, falling 1-0 to Toronto FC at BMO Field. The four-game losing run matches the Impact’s longest losing streak of the season, set from Aug. 27-Sept. 16. The Impact have lost eight of their last nine matches, dating back to the start of the first four-game losing slide.
  • The Revolution concluded the home portion of their 2017 season by extending their long undefeated run at Gillette Stadium, defeating New York City FC 2-1. The Revolution end the year with an eight-game home undefeated streak, winning seven of those matches, dating back to July 22.
  • Diego Fagundez scored a pair of goals, his first goals since June 3, now with six goals for the season. It was the second two-goal game for Fagundez this season, also netting a brace May 21 vs. Columbus, and the third of his MLS career, the first coming May 11, 2014 vs. Seattle.
 
Columbus Crew SC at New York City FC, 4 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Jack Harrison scored a pair of goals, the second in the 76th minute, as NYCFC overcame a second-half deficit for a 3-2 win April 29 at Mapfre Stadium.
  • NYCFC have won the last two meetings between the clubs, including a 4-1 win on Decision Day last year, at Yankee Stadium. Crew SC had a four-game undefeated streak alive in the series prior, winning two of the first four meetings, with two draws.
  • NYCFC had their four-game undefeated run put to an end, falling 2-1 to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.
  • Crew SC won their third game on the trot, defeating Orlando City SC 1-0 at Orlando City Stadium. The win extended Crew SC’s undefeated streak to nine matches overall, the club’s longest since a nine-game undefeated skein April 11-June 14, 2009. The club record is 19 games without loss, set in 2004-05.
  • Ola Kamara scored his 17th goal of the season, surpassing his total from a season ago when he netted 16 in his first MLS campaign. Kamara sits in a three-way tie for fifth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings. Kamara has scored eight goals over the last 11 matches, since July 29.
 
Orlando City SC at Philadelphia Union, 4 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Cyle Larin scored a pair of goals, one on either side of halftime, as Orlando City claimed a 2-1 win March 18 at Orlando City Stadiium.
  • Orlando City SC have won the last two meetings between the clubs, including a 2-0 victory last Oct. 16 at Talen Energy Stadium in the last matchup in Chester, which ended a two-game Union home winning streak in the series.
  • Union had their long away winless run extended in their road finale, falling 3-2 to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Union will end the season with a 12-game road winless slide, the longest in club history. Union end the 2017 campaign with a road record of 1-10-6 (nine points), one of three teams this season with a single away victory, and currently the 26th team in MLS history to end a year with one road win or fewer.
  • Orlando City SC concluded their home season by seeing a brief two-game home undefeated run come to an end, falling 1-0 to Columbus Crew SC on Sunday afternoon.
 
LA Galaxy at FC Dallas, 4 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Maxi Urruti and Kellyn Acosta scored for FC Dallas, around a Giovani dos Santos penalty kick for the Galaxy, all in a 22-minute span in the second half, as FCD claimed a 2-1 win in the season opener on March 4 at StubHub Center.
  • The win in the first meeting ended a nine-game home undefeated streak in the series for the Galaxy, their first loss to FC Dallas in Carson since Sept. 12, 2009, having gone 7-0-2 over that stretch.
  • FC Dallas had their three-game undefeated run put to an end but had their winless run extended to three games, suffering a 4-0 defeat to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. FCD will end the 2017 regular season with an eight-game road winless streak, with losses in six of those matches, dating back to Aug. 5.
  • The Galaxy put an end to their six-game winless run overall, defeating Minnesota United FC 3-0 at StubHub Center. The Galaxy concluded their 2017 home campaign with a 3-9-5 record at StubHub Center, equaling the second-fewest home wins for a season in MLS history (record: 2, Tampa Bay Mutiny, 2001).
  • Romain Alessandrini scored a pair of goals, his second and third goals over the last four games, now with 13 goals in his first MLS season. It was his third two-goal game this season, his first since May 14. Alessandrini also recorded his 11th assist of the season, his first since Sept. 10, the first time he was involved in three goals in a game since coming to the Galaxy and MLS.
 
Sporting Kansas City at Real Salt Lake, 4 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Benny Feilhaber, Dom Dwyer and Gerso Fernandes all hit the back of the net, giving Sporting a 3-0 win April 29 at Children’s Mercy Park. On July 22, Feilhaber and RSL’s Luis Silva traded goals on either side of halftime, leaving the teams in a 1-1 draw at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • The SKC win in the first meeting snapped a seven-game winless streak in league play in the all-time series (0-4-3), their first victory since 2013. Each of the last two meetings in Sandy have ended in draws.
  • Real Salt Lake saw their three-game undefeated run put to an end, falling 1-0 to the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Real Salt Lake had their road winless streak extended to four games, dating back to Aug. 19. RSL return to Rio Tinto Stadium for their 2017 regular-season finale riding a seven-game home undefeated streak (dating back to July 22), with wins in their last four games in Sandy.
  • Sporting Kansas City saw their winless run reach four games with a second draw in that time, playing to a goalless result with the Houston Dynamo at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • Andrew Dykstra was credited with two saves in recording the shutout, his first in an MLS game since posting clean sheet in back-to-back games April 5-12, 2014 for D.C. United. Dykstra has eight shutouts in 33 career league starts in MLS.
 
Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Portland Timbers, 4 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season, and the Timbers have won the first two. Darlington Nagbe and Darren Mattocks each found the back of the net as the Timbers took a 2-1 win April 22 at Providence Park, then on July 23, Sebastian Blanco and Jeremy Ebobisse each had a goal and an assist in a 2-1 Timbers victory at BC Place.
  • The Timbers win in the last meeting ended a three-game Whitecaps FC winning streak at BC Place, over the last two seasons, their only league wins at home vs. the Timbers. The Timbers now have a five-game home undefeated streak alive in the series, with three wins and two draws. The last Vancouver win in Portland came June 1, 2014, a 4-3 victory.
  • The teams first met on May 16, 1975 in the old North American Soccer League, the Timbers winning 2-0 at Empire Stadium in Vancouver. The teams have met 89 times in all, across a number of competitions – the Whitecaps hold a 37-34-18 advantage in the all-time record between the clubs. The teams met twice in the NASL playoffs, in 1978 and 1980, each team advancing on one occasion. Whitecaps FC have won four times in 21 all-time MLS meetings between the teams, all coming in the last 13 meetings.
  • The Timbers won their fifth consecutive game at Providence Park, rolling to a 4-0 win against D.C. United on Sunday afternoon. The five-game home winning streak equaled the second-longest of the club’s MLS history.
  • Diego Valeri scored his 21st goal of the season, now sitting in second place in the MLS Golden Boot standings, three goals behind Nemanja Nikolic of the Chicago Fire. Valeri also added a pair of assists, now with 11 assists for the season, becoming just the second player in MLS history to record at least 20 goals and 10 assists in a single season (along with Sebastian Giovinco of Toronto FC in 2015).
  • Whitecaps FC will end their home campaign with a seven-game undefeated streak at BC Place, after being hauled back into a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes in their regular season finale in Vancouver.
 
Minnesota United FC at San Jose Earthquakes, 4 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time. Florian Jungwirth scored the game’s lone goal in the 54th minute, leading the Quakes to the victory at TCF Bank Stadium on April 29.
  • The Quakes gained a second consecutive result, coming back for a 1-1 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place.
  • Vako Qazaishvili scored his fifth MLS goal, his second in as many games, his first goals since Aug. 27. Qazaishvili has been involved in each of the Quakes’ last four goals, and in six of their last 10, dating back to Aug. 19.
  • Chris Wondolowski collected his seventh assist of the season, his second in as many games, his first two since May 6. The seven assists match his single-season career-high in his 13 MLS seasons, also set in 2012. Wondolowski has a goal and two assists in the last three matches.
  • Minnesota United FC saw their brief two-game undefeated run put to an end, falling 3-0 to the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center on Sunday afternoon.
 
Colorado Rapids at Seattle Sounders FC, 4 p.m.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Clint Dempsey scored a pair of goals and set up a third from Will Bruin, who also added an assist, as Sounders FC rolled to a 3-1 win July 4 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • The win in the first meeting ended the Rapids’ three-game winning streak in the series, including wins in both meetings a year ago. The Rapids winning streak had come on the heels of a five-game Sounders FC winning streak in the series, over the 2014 season and first two meetings in 2015. The Rapids have won the last two meetings at CenturyLink Field, the club’s first wins ever in Seattle.
  • Sounders FC extended their home undefeated streak to 12 games, rolling to a 4-0 win against FC Dallas at CenturyLink Field. The 12-game undefeated run at home is the second-longest in the club’s MLS history, after a 14-game run set in 2013.
  • The four goals scored by Sounders FC matches their single-game high, achieved twice previously. Sounders FC have outscored FC Dallas 12-0 in their last three meetings at CenturyLink Field.
  • Will Bruin scored a pair of goals, his first since Aug. 5, the fourth time in his seven MLS seasons he’s reached the double-digits mark in goals. It was the ninth multiple-goal game of his MLS career.
  • The Rapids extended their undefeated run to three games with a second win in that time, closing out their home season with a 1-0 win against Real Salt Lake at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids end their home campaign with a four-game undefeated streak in Commerce City, the win capping a three-game homestand.
 
Chicago Fire at Houston Dynamo, 4 p.m.
  • The Fire have never won at BBVA Compass Stadium. In five meetings there all-time, the Dynamo have won two, with three draws, including a 1-1 result last July 3 in the only meeting between the teams. Chicago hasn’t won in Houston since the 2007 season, now nine consecutive visits without a victory – after the Fire won on their first two visits there ever, the Dynamo have won five meetings since, with four draws.
  • The Dynamo saw their two-game winning streak come to an end but still extended their undefeated run to five matches, reaching a goalless draw with Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park.
  • The Dynamo end the 2017 campaign with a road record of 1-9-7 (10 points), one of three teams this season with a single away victory, and currently the 26th team in MLS history to end a year with one road win or fewer.
  • The Fire extended their undefeated streak to three matches with a second victory in that time, defeating Philadelphia Union 3-2 at Toyota Park.
  • Nemanja Nikolic scored a hat trick, his first in his first MLS season. Nikolic now has 24 goals, leading the MLS Golden Boot standings by two ahead of Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers. Nikolic became the eighth player in MLS history to reach 24 goals in a single league campaign, tied for the sixth-most in a season all-time in MLS.
 
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