Decision Day is here! Set up a few extra screens because every single team in MLS is playing today at 4 p.m. ET in one last push for playoffs. The Eastern Conference is almost nearly locked up, with the Philadelphia Union and the New England Revolution each vying for the final playoff spot. In the West, three spots are still up for grabs and the Supporters Shield, too. Here is how we think every MLS game today will shake out.
Colorado Rapids vs. Houston Dynamo
Well, let's see: The second-best team in the entire league vs. the second-worst team in the entire league. Yeah, the Colorado Rapids are the clear favorites here. The Rapids have already earned a bye for the play-in round of the postseason, but they are still chasing the Supporters Shield. On top of that, the Rapids have not lost at home this season. Unfortunately for the Dynamo, they are tied for the fewest goals scored in the entire league and it's hard to see them beating Colorado's stout defense. Ironically, the team Houston is tied with for fewest goals scored is Colorado. That's why we shouldn't expect a blowout, but the Rapids will win.
Score prediction: Colorado 1-0 Houston
USA TODAY SportsTim Heitman
Sporting Kansas City vs. San Jose Earthquakes
There is a lot of reason to believe Sporting Kansas City will prevail here. First, the match is at home for them. Second, they are fighting for a playoff spot and only a win would guarantee they are in regardless of other results. And lastly, the Earthquakes just aren't that great of a team. But the problem for SKC is that they haven't exactly been lighting it up themselves. They've won just one game in their last six played. The silver lining there? That win came against the Earthquakes. The Quakes, meanwhile, have nothing to play for, so you have to give SKC the edge.
Score prediction: Kansas City 1-0 San Jose
USA TODAY SportsBrace Hemmelgarn
LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas
This could've been a solid match-up for FC Dallas as they chase the Supporters Shield. After all, the Galaxy have looked shaky lately, with both Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard injured, and Landon Donovan not quite back to his pre-retirement fitness. But that was before FC Dallas' splendid win over the Seattle Sounders last weekend – one in which Mauro Diaz, their creative playmaker, went out with what is likely a season-ending injury. It also appears Kellyn Acosta picked up an injury too. That's not great and it could seriously hinder FC Dallas' chances at achieving a historic domestic treble of trophies.
Score prediction: LA 1-1 Dallas
New England Revolution vs. Montreal Impact
It's all but over for the Revs. They would need to not only beat Montreal, but they would need the New York Red Bulls to beat the Philadelphia Union by a goal differential of 13 or more. I mean, Bradley Wright-Phillips has been on fire, but he hasn’t been THAT on fire. For the Impact, they can secure a home game during the play-in round with a win, although other results will matter. It should also be the debut of "Didier Droga: cooperative substitute" after a dust-up where he refused to play last week because he wasn't starting. Maybe he will score off the bench just to make a point.
Score prediction: New England 1-2 Montreal
Eric BolteEric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
New York City FC vs. Columbus Crew
There isn't much on the line in this game, but for New York City, there's enough. If they win, they will clinch a bye to skip the play-in round of the playoffs. They will be gunning for that, and they will be led by David Villa, who was passed last week in the Golden Boot race. Villa is only two goals behind Bradley Wright-Phillips, which is hardly an insurmountable tally against the Crew (sorry, Columbus). There's no reason NYCFC shouldn't find a way to beat a Crew team with absolutely nothing to play for.
Score prediction: NYC 2-0 Columbus
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY SportsGreg Bartram
D.C. United vs. Orlando City
D.C. United are already into the playoffs and Orlando City are already out, but there is plenty for D.C. to play for. With a win, they will secure a home play-in game. But what's more, if they win, it will allow them to continue the excellent momentum they've had with the postseason around the corner. Orlando have been out of the playoff picture for weeks now, but that doesn't mean they aren't willing to play spoiler. They upset the Philadelphia Union last week with a 2-0 win, but to be fair, the Union have looked pretty bad lately. United look red-hot, and they should take this.
Score prediction: D.C. 2-0 Orlando
Brad MillsBrad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls
The Union reallllly need to figure things out. They haven't won a game since August and now if they don't get a result against the Red Bulls, they are at real risk of missing the playoffs. The Red Bulls have already clinched a play-in bye and sit comfortably at the top of the Eastern Conference. But that won't be enough for Bradley Wright-Phillips, who wants to win the Golden Boot. For that reason, we probably shouldn't expect the Red Bulls to go easy on this match, even if the team can't improve their position regardless of the result.
Score prediction: NY 3-1 Philadelphia
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY SportsAdam Hunger
Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake
This is a biggie. This is the only match between two teams still trying to make the playoffs. If either side wins or if RSL gets a draw, they are in. If either side loses or if the Sounders draw, then their fate is entirely up to whatever else happens on Decision Day. Both sides will be playing for victory and it should be a battle. The Sounders will again be missing Andreas Ivanschitz, which is a pretty big loss, and they will be hoping Brad Evans, Oalex Anderson and Chad Marshall will be 100 percent fit. While there is no complicated puzzle of absences for RSL, leading goal-scorers Joao Plata and Yura Movsisyan have been relatively quiet since August, the last time RSL even won a game. This one could go either way, but Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer has managed to get the most out of his roster, even in rough times.
Score prediction: Seattle 2-1 Salt Lake
USA TODAY SportsJennifer Buchanan
Toronto FC vs. the Chicago Fire
There is no reason for Toronto FC to lose, but crazy things happen in MLS sometimes. Still, TFC will be at home and they are far and away the more powerful team. Toronto have already beaten Chicago twice this season. For Toronto, an all-important bye of the play-in round is at stake if they beat the Fire. It's not entirely in their hands though, as they would need NYCFC to falter against the Crew, but you can bet Toronto will do what is in their power to avoid the first knockout round of the postseason.
Score prediction: Toronto 2-0 Chicago
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. the Portland Timbers
This is a tough one for the Timbers. After 16 tries, they haven't won on the road this season, despite being pretty darn good at home. Portland is a team with a severe identity crisis that they must try to sort out in the final match of the season or else miss the playoffs. The Timbers aren't necessarily out of the playoffs if they lose, but it would very likely be enough. The Whitecaps have long been out of the running, but they do have something at stake: The regional Cascadia Cup is still up for grabs, and although the Timbers look likely to get it, an emphatic thumping by Vancouver could change that. The Timbers will be missing two of their best defensive players and that may prevent a win. After all, the only team to concede more goals than Portland in the Western Conference is Vancouver, but now the Timbers look especially vulnerable. Both sides will probably give up goals, but the Timbers haven't shown they can shake the ghosts that are haunting them on the road.