Every team in MLS is playing today in the second-to-last round of regular season matches and most teams have everything to play for. Whether it's clinching playoffs, the Supporters Shield or good playoff seeding, several teams need wins to get where they want. Other teams are simply trying to avoid elimination. We already looked at the playoff scenarios for every team going into today, which you should check out here. But here is who we think is surging, who is falling apart and how we see each match shaking out.
New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew – 3 p.m. ET
The Red Bulls are looking to hold onto the lead in the Eastern Conference so they can skip the play-in round of the playoffs. Meanwhile, Bradley Wright-Phillips is trying to break past David Villa in the Golden Boot race by netting a few more goals. He has a good chance to do it because the Columbus Crew haven't been very good and they were eliminated from playoff contention a few days ago. The Red Bulls are unbeaten in 14 matches and should dominate.
Score prediction: Red Bulls 2-0 Crew
USA TODAY SportsNoah K. Murray
Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City – 3 p.m. ET
Here is another match where a lame duck is taking on a team with something worth playing for. Orlando are out of the playoffs but the Union are hoping to clinch. A win wouldn't guarantee the Union clinch, but would be crucial. The Union are winless in five, but so too are Orlando. The Union are the better team and have much more on the line, so it's hard to imagine they can't pull this win out, even if Alejandro Bedoya is still out.
Score prediction: Union 2-1 Orlando
USA TODAY SportsDerik Hamilton
D.C. United vs. New York City FC – 3 p.m. ET
This is likely the top match of the Eastern Conference today. D.C. United will be looking to clinch playoffs with a win, but they will have to get past a very strong NYCFC team. David Villa is in a tight race for the Golden Boot and will surely want to tally a few more. DCU have won their last three though, even if they did fall to NYCFC 3-2 in September. This could end up being a dogfight and it's hard to see one team having the edge.
Score prediction: DC 2-2 NYC
USA Today SportsGeoff Burke
Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC – 3 p.m. ET
A win would secure the playoffs for Montreal while Toronto just want to hold onto one of the top seeding positions for the play-in round of playoffs. The Impact are coming off back-to-back wins and Toronto are winless in four. However, Sebastian Giovinco may be back, which would improve Toronto's chances significantly, along with Jozy Altidore's recent great form. TFC coach Greg Vanney isn't going to give much away on Giovinco's status and squander any advantages in preparing game plans, so it's unclear if Giovinco will play, but we're going to predict he will and predict Toronto will win.
Score prediction: Toronto 2-0 Montreal
USA Today SportsEric Bolte
Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution – 3 p.m. ET
If the Revs don't win this one, they will be right on the edge of elimination and they will frankly deserve it. There is no reason for New England to lose. They have won four in their last six games and the Chicago Fire are the worst team in the league.
Score prediction: Chicago 1-2 New England
USA Today SportsGreg Bartram
Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 5 p.m. ET
The Western Conference is going to give us a few very good matchups, and this one is no exception. The reigning MLS Cup champs, the Timbers, have struggled all season long and a loss would put them perilously close to elimination. At home they've been pretty good but they have yet to even win a game on the road. Luckily, they face the red-hot No. 1 Colorado Rapids in Portland. The Rapids have won their last three while the Timbers are coming off back-to-back losses. We think the break and being at home will re-charge the Timbers, who will fight another day.
Score prediction: Timbers 1-0 Rapids
USA TODAY SportsTroy Wayrynen
FC Dallas vs. Seattle Sounders – 5 p.m. ET
Arguably the match of the week, the Sounders will be looking to complete a weeks-long turnaround that saw them go from the bottom of the table to a comfortable playoff position. They sit in fourth and will clinch with a win. But FC Dallas will be looking to regain their lead in the Supporters Shield standing and they have the best away record in the West. We think Dallas are just too good for Nicolas Lodeiro & Co., but Seattle will still walk away with some points.
Score prediction: Dallas 1-1 Seattle
USA TODAY Sports
Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City – 5 p.m. ET
This is a match with big playoff implications for each team since they only sit two points apart on the standings and neither of them have clinched yet. SKC have been slumping lately but RSL are winless in their last five. There's not much separating either side lately but you have to give RSL the edge being at home.
Score prediction: Real Salt Lake 2-1 Sporting Kansas City
USA Today Sports
Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy – 5 p.m. ET
The Dynamo are last in the Western Conference and the Galaxy are full of superstars. So it's pretty obvious what should happen here. Not everything goes how it should in MLS, and that's what makes this league fun/bonkers. The truth is, the Galaxy have been severely underperforming and they are thinner on talent than they've been in a long time, so much so that Landon Donovan came out of retirement. But even without Gyasi Zardes and Steven Gerrard, and even with Robbie Keane not playing very well, the Galaxy still have Giovani Dos Santos coming off a great break with Mexico, plus a solid core to get the job done.
Score prediction: Houston 0-2 LA
USA TODAY SportsTroy Taormina
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – 5 p.m. ET
This is the only match of the slate that features two teams that are already eliminated. It really doesn't matter who wins -- neither of these teams can spoil anything for anyone here. But we can hope that 15-year-old Alphonso Davies scores his first goal. That would be cool.