MLS Decision Day explainer: Andrea Pirlo and Bastian Schweinsteiger target play-off place on final day | Football News


Last Updated: 16/10/17 6:00pm

Andrea Pirlo will play his final regular-season game for New York City on Decision Day

Andrea Pirlo will play his final regular-season game for New York City on Decision Day

Will Andrea Pirlo bow out with silverware? Will Bastian Schweinsteiger make the play-offs? It’s Decision Day in MLS on Sunday, with every team in action in the final round of regular-season matches.

Every MLS team will play at the same time, creating high drama heading into the play-offs and all matches kick-off at 9pm UK time.

To help keep you up-to-date as the goals fly in you can watch our MLS Goals Zone, with every goal and every major incident from across the fixtures.

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There’s one play-off place left to play for, while the other 11 confirmed post-season teams will be jostling for seeding.

AC Milan and Brazil legend Kaka has already bid farewell to MLS after playing his final game for Orlando City, but this is the start of Pirlo’s goodbye run with New York City FC, while Schweinsteiger is bidding to win silverware in his debut season with Chicago Fire.

Here’s all you need to know ahead of an exciting Decision Day…

Who is playing?

All 22 clubs face off against each other on the final day of the season, with every game starting at the same time.

MLS Decision Day fixtures

Atlanta United v Toronto FC
DC United v New York Red Bulls
FC Dallas v LA Galaxy
Houston Dynamo v Chicago Fire
Montreal Impact v New England Revolution
New York City v Columbus Crew
Philadelphia Union v Orlando City
Portland Timbers v Vancouver Whitecaps
Real Salt Lake v Sporting Kansas City
San Jose Earthquakes v Minnesota United
Seattle Sounders v Colorado Rapids

The state of play

Toronto FC snapped up the Supporters’ Shield on September 30, which means they will be top seed in the Eastern Conference play-offs and will have home advantage throughout.

They can cap off an impressive season by setting an MLS points record. LA Galaxy hold the record of 68 points in 1998 and Toronto only need a draw on the final day to beat it.

Patrick Vieira’s New York City currently sit second in the East with a play-off place guaranteed, but remaining in second would secure an automatic berth to the Conference semi-finals.

Atlanta United, Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew and New York Red Bulls have qualified from the East too.

MLS Eastern Conference play-off picture

W D L Points
Toronto 20 8 5 68
New York City FC 16 8 9 56
Chicago Fire 16 7 10 55
Atlanta United 15 9 9 54
Columbus Crew 16 5 12 53
New York Red Bulls 13 8 12 47
No other teams can make play-offs

In the West, Decision Day will be highly significant as San Jose Earthquakes, FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake all compete for the final play-off spot. Minnesota, Colorado Rapids and LA Galaxy are mathematically out of contention.

Three sides could still top the West, with Vancouver Whitecaps in pole position from Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders.

MLS Western Conference play-off picture

W D L Points
Vancouver Whitecaps 15 7 11 52
Portland Timbers 14 8 11 50
Seattle Sounders 13 11 9 50
Sporting KC 12 13 8 49
Houston Dynamo 12 11 10 47
San Jose Earthquakes 12 7 14 43
FC Dallas 10 13 10 43
Real Salt Lake 12 6 15 42

What’s at stake?

The top six teams in each conference qualify for the play-offs.

The top two in the West and top two in the East receive a bye through the first round of play-off matches, while the other eight sides play for a place in the Conference semi-finals.

The fourth-placed team in the conference plays the fifth-placed team while the third-placed team plays the sixth-placed team. The higher-ranked side hosts the one-off match, with the winners going through to the semi-finals.

Watch highlights from Kaka’s final game for Orlando

Watch highlights from Kaka’s final game for Orlando

What stars will be involved?

Decision Day marks the beginning of Pirlo’s final hurrah as he will be retiring following the conclusion of his contract in December. The 38-year-old will be aiming to end his career with a piece of silverware with New York City.

Pirlo will look to help NYCFC alongside David Villa and England U21 international Jack Harrison to a Decision Day win against Columbus Crew to finish the campaign as the highest seed possible.

Elsewhere, former Juventus midfielder Sebastian Giovinco will lead high-flying Toronto to Atlanta United off the back of 15 goals and six assists this season.

Ex-Bayern Munich and Manchester United midfielder Schweinsteiger is currently in a race to be fit in time for Chicago Fire’s game against Houston Dynamo after picking up a calf injury on September 2. Fire might even decide to rest Schweinsteiger with one eye on the play-offs.

We take a look at some of Jack Harrison’s goals in MLS so far this season.

We take a look at some of Jack Harrison’s goals in MLS so far this season.

How can I watch?

You can stay across all of the Major League Soccer Decision Day action on Sky Sports, with Atlanta v Toronto live and the goals as they go in on MLS Goals Zone.

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