Major League Soccer does not, for a variety of reasons (awful TV deal, odd number of teams in the league, etc.), utilize the Survival Sunday format that closes out competitions such as the English Premier League each and every year. Real Salt Lake wrapped up their season this past Wednesday, for example. Games will take place at different times on both Saturday and Sunday of the final weekend of the 2013 MLS campaign.
The US top-flight league could really use a Survival Sunday this time around. The race for the Supporters' Shield (the trophy that goes to the MLS regular season champs) will not be decided until about 7:00 pm ET on the final evening of the campaign. Five Eastern Conference sides will be fighting for three available playoff spots over the weekend.
New York Red Bulls (56 points) and Sporting Kansas City (55) both have playoff spots clinched. As do RSL (56), Portland (54), LA Galaxy (52) and Seattle Sounders (51). Montreal Impact (49), Chicago Fire (49), New England Revolution (48), Houston Dynamo (48) and Philadelphia Union (46) are all still alive.
There's a lot more going on in the soccer world this weekend than El Clasico. Here's a brief breakdown of what to watch for on the final two days of the 2013 MLS regular season.
Saturday, October 26
Philadelphia vs. Sporting KC: Anything but a win kills Philly's hopes of participating in the postseason tournament. Only a victory will put KC above RBNY in the overall league table, but even a win doesn't guarantee Kansas City the Supporters' Shield.
Toronto FC vs. Montreal: Toronto have been eliminated from the playoffs since about July 4 (that's only a sight exaggeration, sadly). A win keeps Montreal safe, although a draw could be OK for the Impact if BOTH New England and Houston fail to win.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. FC Dallas: Not much to see here. The Earthquakes need to beat Dallas by eight or more AND have Colorado Rapids lose on Sunday. Don't hold your breath.
Chivas USA vs. Portland Timbers: Only Portland matter late on Saturday night. A victory over Chivas would put the Timbers atop the league table BUT only if KC stumble at Philly.
Sunday, October 27
DC United vs. Houston. Congrats, DC. You're the worst team in the league! A draw gets Houston the Wild Card berth ONLY if New England can't get a result on Sunday. The Dynamo are in if they win AND New England draw or lose against Columbus.
Columbus Crew vs. New England: Columbus will be looking to play the spoiler role. The Revs are in with a win UNLESS Houston win AND also blow DC out in a historic manner.
RBNY vs. Chicago: The last Eastern Conference contest of the season to kick off could also be one for the record books. New York will win the Supporters' Shield, the first meaningful trophy in franchise history, with a win. A draw would be good enough for the Red Bulls ONLY if KC draw OR lose. Chicago must win to remain no worse off than in possession of the fourth MLS East playoff spot. Otherwise, they will require EITHER New England OR Houston to not win.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Colorado: The Rapids would have to experience a drastic meltdown to lose their Wild Card berth. Colorado should be just fine.
Seattle vs. LA: Care about playoff positioning? This game is for you, then, because that's all that will be on the line when these sides meet on Sunday night. Forget a Survival Sunday. MLS needs a flex schedule option.
For more: MLS tiebreakers and more!