The soccer news starts with DC United’s Decision Day scenario. DC enters the final day of the 2019 MLS regular season in 4th-place, unable to finish any higher but capable of falling to 6th. That’s the difference between hosting the 4th vs 5th playoff game, being the away team in that game, or facing the 3rd-place team away. The spot is DC’s to lose, considering that they’re home to last place FC Cincinnati. United is on a four-game undefeated streak with three of them wins, so there shouldn’t be any feeling that this is a problem.
Yet this is the same DC team that lost three games in a row in August leading up to that undefeated streak. Sunday’s draw at the Red Bulls wouldn’t have made a difference in improving their position, but it’s New York a point behind them in 5th-place and the likeliest threat to pass them on Decision Day.
New York plays at Montreal, a team that exited the playoffs and has its own issues coming to a head in the last week of the regular season. The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal went into detail with the Impact’s problems. They’re not rolling into their finale with momentum, to say the least.
6th-place Toronto is home to Columbus, another team out of the playoffs with the Reds well aware that they could improve their situation. Assuming the table stays the same, they’re facing an away date at Philadelphia. Given the state of the Union, that’s not necessarily a huge challenge. Toronto won their on June 8 when Philadelphia posed an even bigger obstacle. 7th-place New England could still improve its position two points behind Toronto.
It’s a safe assumption is that the Eastern Conference table stays the same. This is still MLS, so “safe” is a relative term in this league. Should it end as expected, DC would be hosting the latest meeting in the Atlantic Cup, a game that gets a tepid response these days amid conversations about whether or not it still counts as a derby. Though every game in the playoffs is now a knockout, DC vs New York or vice-versa carries extra meaning in the postseason for a simple reason. We’ve seen these two play games that count so many times before. In a league still short on history, being around from the beginning matters.
American Soccer Now’s Brian Sciaretta’s look at MLS week 30. Pro Soccer USA’s Joe Tansey on the Philadelphia Union’s situation in a fight for 2nd-place on Decision Day. Soccer America’s Paul Kennedy reports on Mexico’s national team program recruiting in California.
The Mirror’s John Cross didn’t see a lot to like between Manchester United and Arsenal. The Manchester Evening News’ Stuart Brennan stresses the competitive imbalance between Manchester City and Manchester United. The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards looks at Newcastle’s problems. BBC Sport’s Emlyn Begley asks about the continued importance of Ronaldo and Messi. The Liverpool Echo’s Paul Gorst talks to Liverpool coach and throw-in specialist Paul Gorst.
🐐 x 🐐
Two final home games.
Two final home W’s. pic.twitter.com/891O6qivFp
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 30, 2019
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