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Playoff Scenarios Part 3: Clinching a Home Game

With six Western Conference games being played simultaneously, Sunday was an evening filled with an array of red cards, last-minute game-winners and results that once again left spots two through seven in the West wide open for the taking.

Here are all the results from a busy night in the Western Conference:

Minnesota United 1 – 1 LAFC
Colorado Rapids 3 – 0 FC Dallas
LA Galaxy 3 – 4 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
San Jose Earthquakes 0 – 1 Seattle Sounders
Real Salt Lake 2 – 1 Houston Dynamo
Sporting KC 2 – 2 Portland Timbers

A 1-1 draw between Minnesota United and LAFC means that the Loons will have to wait until this Sunday’s Decision Day game at CenturyLink Field against the Seattle Sounders to potentially secure a first-round home playoff game at Allianz Field. With the Sounders winning through a 94th minute Jordan Morris goal, Minnesota and Seattle are now level on 53 points heading into this weekend.

The Western Conference table with every team who is still mathematically in playoff contention is as follows:

  1. LAFC – 69 points, 33 games played, 19 wins, +44 goal differential
  2. Minnesota United – 53 points, 33 games played, 15 wins, +10 goal differential
  3. Seattle Sounders – 53 points, 33 games played, 15 wins, +2 goal differential
  4. LA Galaxy – 51 points, 33 games played, 16 wins, +1 goal differential
  5. Real Salt Lake – 50 points, 33 games played, 15 wins, +4 goal differential
  6. Portland Timbers – 46 points, 33 games played, 13 wins, +1 goal differential
  7. FC Dallas – 45 points, 33 games played, 12 wins, +2 goal differential
  8. San Jose Earthquakes – 44 points, 33 games played, 13 wins, -1 goal differential
  9. Colorado Rapids – 42 points, 33 games played, 12 wins, -3 goal differential

What Now?

With LAFC, Minnesota United, Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake all clinching playoff berths before the final game of the season, the focal points of Decision Day will be these five teams vying to host a first-round playoff game, as well as Portland, FC Dallas, San Jose and the Colorado Rapids all attempting to claw their way above the playoff line.

Minnesota United will secure the second seed from the Western Conference in the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs on Decision Day if:

MNUFC wins by any score vs. Seattle Sounders

OR

MNUFC ties vs. Seattle Sounders AND
LA Galaxy ties vs. Houston Dynamo

OR

MNUFC ties vs. Seattle Sounders AND
LA Galaxy loses vs. Houston Dynamo

If MNUFC fail to take any points away from Century Link Field, the Loons will still secure a home playoff game if:

LA Galaxy ties vs. Houston Dynamo AND
Real Salt Lake ties vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

OR

LA Galaxy ties vs. Houston Dynamo AND
Real Salt Lake loses vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

OR

LA Galaxy wins vs. Houston Dynamo AND
Real Salt Lake loses vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

OR

LA Galaxy wins vs. Houston Dynamo AND
Real Salt Lake ties vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

OR

LA Galaxy loses vs. Houston Dynamo AND
Real Salt Lake wins vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

OR

LA Galaxy ties vs. Houston Dynamo AND
Real Salt Lake wins vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

OR SIMPLY

LA Galaxy loses vs. Houston Dynamo AND
Real Salt Lake loses vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

To put all of this into simple terms, a Minnesota United win in Seattle – by any score – would clinch second place for the Loons. On the other hand, if MNUFC draw or fail to get a result on the road, it will need the results from the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake games to go its way. While there are many ways that Decision Day could shape up, a positive result for Minnesota United and both LA Galaxy and RSL not taking full points would be the simplest situation.

Check out the schedule for this Sunday’s home playoff game race on Decision Day below:

Seattle Sounders vs. MNUFC
3:00 p.m. CT | FOX Sports North+

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Real Salt Lake
3:00 p.m. CT | MLS Live on ESPN+

Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy
3:00 p.m. CT | MLS Live on ESPN+

If Allianz Field were to host Minnesota United’s first-ever MLS playoff game, season ticket members would be guaranteed their season seats, so long as they did not opt out earlier. For everyone else, the best path to getting tickets right now is to join The Preserve, the official waiting list for season tickets at Allianz Field, or by signing up for our newsletters. Both those groups will get access to presales before tickets go on sale to the general public. Visit mnufc.com/preserve for more info on the former and mnufc.com/newsletter for more info on the latter.

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