This Sunday is 2019 Decision Day presented by AT&T: Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoff Berths and Home-field Advantage are on the line
NEW YORK (October 1, 2019) – It all comes down to the final 90 minutes of MLS regular season action this Sunday, October 6, as 2019 Decision Day presented by AT&T sets the stage for who is in, and who is out of the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs. And this year, there is so much more on the line.
At 4 p.m. ET this Sunday, all 12 intraconference matches kick off simultaneously as teams not only battle for playoff berths, but also home-field advantage. Beginning this season, the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs will follow a new straight bracket, single-elimination format, awarding home-field advantage to the highest seeded teams, further intensifying the fight for points, wins, and goals before the final whistle blows.
On Sunday, four teams will battle for the two remaining playoff spots in the West and ESPN’s coverage of Decision Day presented by AT&T will feature a live broadcast of one of the defining matches of that playoff race: Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes.
It’s a win and you’re in scenario for both the Timbers and the Earthquakes this week. San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski, Major League Soccer’s all-time leading goal scorer with 158 goals, will look to push his team over the playoff line while the hosts, Portland Timbers, will look to capitalize on home-field advantage in the newly renovated Providence Park for this season-deciding game.
In addition, alongside the 11 regional broadcasts available nationally on ESPN+, the MLS Decision Day presented by AT&T whip-around show will bring fans all the highlights and top moments from the final 90 minutes of 2019 MLS regular season action.
MLSsoccer.com will set the stage from 3-4 p.m. ET with Matchday Central: Decision Day presented by AT&T Pregame Show, an interactive digital pregame show that includes playoff scenarios, match previews, predictions, and more. Before the matches even kickoff, representatives from 2020 expansion clubs Nashville SC and Inter Miami FC will be in-studio to make decisions of their own, as the show hosts the 2019 Expansion Priority Draft.
Matchday Central: Decision Day presented by AT&T Postgame Show kicks off at 6:30p.m. after the dust has settled to breakdown the games and look ahead across the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs landscape.
Fans following the action on social media can join the conversation on Instagram and Twitter using #DecisionDay and visit the MLSsoccer.com Standings page for live standings, updated every 30 seconds throughout Decision Day.
STILL IN THE HUNT
Four Western Conference teams are still battling for just two remaining playoff berths. The Colorado Rapids are hanging on by a thread and will need a win against Carlos Vela and LAFC, as well as poor results from both FC Dallas and San Jose Earthquakes, to see their way above the playoff line. FC Dallas control their own destiny and are guaranteed to be in with a win this Sunday against Sporting Kansas City. The real battle of the weekend will be the Portland Timbers vs. the San Jose Earthquakes (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, 4 p.m. ET) as both teams know the stakes: win and you’re in.
INTEGRAL HOME GAMES IN THE WEST
While LAFC, the 2019 Supporters’ Shield winners, have secured a Round One bye and home-field advantage through 2019 MLS Cup, the remainder of the teams who will host a match in Round One is still up for grabs. No. 2 seed Minnesota United and No. 3 seed Seattle Sounders FC are tied on points and face each other this weekend. With a win, a Round One home game is guaranteed; with a loss, either team could be bounced down to the No. 5 spot and be on the road indefinitely for the postseason.
The importance of home-field advantage is no more pronounced than in the West where, setting aside LAFC, who are guaranteed home games through MLS Cup, Western Conference Teams have struggled to find wins on the road.
Sunday’s results could ultimately decide who has the best shot of advancing not just past Round One, but all the way to MLS Cup.
HOME-FIELD IN THE EAST
Heading into the final week, only a single point is separating the Eastern Conference No. 4 seed D.C. United (49 pts.) and No. 5 seed New York Red Bulls (48 pts.) who are currently straddling the home-field advantage line. Both teams know that there is no room for error as No. 6 seed Toronto FC (47 pts.) could easily overtake them with a win against Columbus Crew SC on the final day of games.
GOLDEN BOOT PRESENTED BY AUDI AND A SHOT AT HISTORY
Through the final 90 minutes of action the fate of not only teams will be decided, but MLS history as well. With just one game to go, LAFC’s Carlos Vela will look for goal no. 32 this season, pushing him past the current MLS single-season scoring record set last year by Atlanta United’s Josef Martínez. While Vela currently sits in the lead with 31 goals this season, crosstown rival Zlatan Ibrahimović sits just behind him at 29 goals. No stranger to a hat trick, Ibrahimović could look to come from behind to lift the coveted Golden Boot presented by Audi and set the MLS record himself.