Ahead of the two Sunday matches (first Houston hosting New York, and then the LA Galaxy hosting the San Jose Earthquakes) it's time to see how the MLS playoff picture shifted yesterday. It made a big shift in favor of the Galaxy, who now can take first place in the Western Conference by winning their final two matches.
The big result for LA Galaxy fans was the Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake playing to a draw last night. Both clubs have clinched their place in the playoffs with one weekend to go, as the Galaxy can with a win or draw today. However, thanks to the draw, a win against San Jose would put LA first place in the Western Conference.
The Sounders' fourth straight loss means they can only clinch a playoff spot this weekend if the Galaxy defeat the San Jose Earthquakes. The only concern for all three teams at 51 points is the Quakes, so LA would lock up the playoff seeds with a victory today.
That Seattle loss potentially sets up a final weekend full of fireworks. At this point Portland are guaranteed at least second place but every other club can move multiple spots. With both Portland and Salt Lake finishing their seasons against Chivas USA they're sure to pick up points so even with a victory over the Quakes today, getting points in Seattle the last week of the season will be a must for finishing top two.
Sporting Kansas City had already clinched a playoff spot, but they took the lead in the Supporters' Shield race with a win over DC United. New York can take over that lead with a win over the Houston Dynamo today, but with Houston hosting that's no guarantee.
Right now, the Galaxy are the only team in the Western Conference that control their own destiny. Win out, and LA finishes first place in the West. It took an incredible collapse from Seattle and a favorable result between two top teams, but the opportunity is there now.