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MLS Monday: Everything you need to know about Matchweek 32

Miami climb into seventh place with a win, the Crew tumble into eighth with a draw, Seattle could miss the postseason for the first time ever

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MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Keep your eye on the ball.
Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The postseason picture is coming into focus, and Match Day 32 was packed with consequential games. Only six teams have clinched playoff spots: Philadelphia Union, CF Montréal, and New Jersey Red Bulls in the east, and LAFC, Austin, and FC Dallas in the west. Likewise, only six teams have been eliminated: Chicago Fire, DC United, and Toronto FC in the east, and Kansas City, Houston Dynamo, and San Jose in the west. Eight postseason berths are up for grabs — theoretically, any of the remaining 16 teams could take those spots, which makes every game extra juicy.

Top Games

DC United 2 - 3 Inter Miami
A tense and entertaining match was marred by DC United’s Taxi Fountas seemingly using the N-word late in the game. Referee Ismail Elfath stopped the match per MLS protocol to appraise DC head coach Wayne Rooney and Miami head coach Phil Neville of the situation. To his great credit Rooney immediately took off Fountas – the midfielder had scored shortly before to bring DC level with Miami, and his exit certainly dimmed his team’s hope of holding onto a draw or going for a win. It was a tough break for DC and their fans, but actions have consequences, and that kind of language and the racist mindset behind it have no place in MLS, or really anywhere in this society.

Orlando City 4 - 0 Toronto FC
The Purple Cobras Orlando City are zeroing in on their third straight playoff appearance after soundly beating Calico Toronto in Florida — and knocking the Canadian team out of the postseason. Orlando’s newfound run of excellence has taken place entirely on the watch of head coach Óscar Pareja, who transformed a club that finished dead last in the league two years in a row into a perennial contender. This is arguably the most competitive Orlando team ever — not only did they mute Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi, they scored early and often, logging goals in the 7’, 22’, 47’ (og), and 84’.

Real Salt Lake 1 - 2 FC Cincinnati
Cincinnati cruised to a professional away win over Real Salt Lake behind a brace from Brenner. The in-form striker has five goals in his last two appearances, and is a big reason why the once-inept club are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference and are on the cusp of making the playoffs for the first time since joining the league in 2019.

Vancouver Whitecaps 2 - 1 Seattle Sounders
Oh boy, what a hangover: While Cincinnati are poised to make club history by appearing in the postseason, Seattle Sounders are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time ever. Seattle dropped to 10th place in the Western Conference with 39 points after falling to a streaky Vancouver in Canada. To be honest, the Sounders haven’t looked the same since lifting the CONCACAF Champions League trophy. Was it losing Jao Paulo to an ACL injury in the CCL final? Or did the wear-and-tear of those international competitions early in the year take an unseen but profound toll on the squad? Seattle could still theoretically make the postseason, but they’re four points behind seventh-place LA Galaxy, and another loss will all but knock them out of the playoff picture.

Scoreboard

Saturday, September 17

NYCFC 2 - 0 New Jersey Red Bulls

Atlanta United 0 - 0 Philadelphia Union

Orlando City 4 - 0 Toronto FC

New England Revolution 0 - 1 CF Montréal

Chicago Fire 2 - 3 Charlotte FC

Sporting Kansas City 4 - 1 Minnesota United

Austin FC 1 - 1 Nashville SC

Real Salt Lake 1 - 2 FC Cincinnati

Vancouver Whitecaps 2 - 1 Seattle Sounders

LA Galaxy 4 - 1 Colorado Rapids

San Jose Earthquakes 1 - 1 FC Dallas

Sunday, September 18

Columbus Crew 1 - 1 Portland Timbers

DC United 2 - 3 Inter Miami

LAFC - Houston Dynamo

Tables