Week 31 movers and shakers in the 2018 MLS playoff race

As we close on the upcoming Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs, each week's results are amplified and the emotional swings feel more fluid, tending toward the extreme over the everyday. Here's how Week 31's Saturday action shook out for the key players.

Eastern Conference

In a heads-up contest, D.C. United put a five spot on the Montreal Impact, their blowout victory pulling them within two points of the playoff line -- with two games in hand.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Union and Columbus Crew SC fought to a scoreless draw, which leaves both holding position in their two-team race for the chance to host a home game this postseason.

Toronto FC took it to New England, a 4-1 victory keeping TFC's slim hopes alive. And Montreal's loss also kept Orlando City SC in play.

Indirectly, with New York City FC taking a loss at Minnesota, the New York Red Bulls clinched the conference's remaining Knockout Round bye, joining Atlanta as a guaranteed top-two seed.

Western Conference

FC Dallas managed a scoreless away draw against the Portland Timbers, which clinched FCD the West's first playoff spot (Sporting KC joins them with a Sunday victory vs. Real Salt Lake) and left the Timbers clinging to their current hold on a Knockout Round home game. Portland now sit just one point in front of rival Seattle, who crushed Colorado by a 4-0 margin.

LAFC took a surprise L in Chicago, where instead of rising to second in the conference, the expansion club are left sitting as close to fifth (a road Knockout Round match) as they are to first (and the accordant bye).

The LA Galaxy romped over Vancouver thanks to a 3-0 victory that pulled LA within one point of the playoff line before Real Salt Lake faced off against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.

RSL were able to extend that advantage to two points with a 1-1 draw against Sporting KC at Children's Mercy Park, denying the home side a chance to clinch a playoff berth. SKC sit one point up on LAFC for the second seed, as they look to avoid the Knockout Round.

Houston and Minnesota victories staved off potential elimination, with only an RSL victory necessary to send Houston on an early vacation.

Topics: