Ranking this week’s MLS games from best to worst.
1. Columbus at Atlanta United, 4 p.m. Sunday: The race for the Supporters’ Shield is going to be fun to watch, and this game between two tactically astute teams is a reason why. Atlanta United leads the league in points (48), but has fallen behind New York Red Bulls in points per game (2.04 to 2.0). Columbus is a lock to make the playoffs, but its seed hasn’t been determined.
2. Portland at Sporting KC, 8:30 p.m. Saturday: Dallas leads the West, but the race is far from over because Sporting KC and Portland are within striking distance. Can Sporting KC’s defense find some consistency, and can Portland find a way to break them down?
3. New York Red Bulls at Vancouver, 7 p.m. Saturday: Red Bulls can put a lot of pressure on Atlanta United if they can go to beautiful Vancouver and snatch three points from the Whitecaps, who are fighting for their playoff lives in the West.
4. L.A. Galaxy at Seattle, 4 p.m. Saturday: Seattle is just three points out of a playoff berth in the West, and four points behind the fourth-place Galaxy.
5. Real Salt Lake at LAFC, 10 p.m. Wednesday: Two teams whose playoff futures aren’t rock solid. LAFC leads seventh-place Vancouver by three points. Real Salt Lakes leads the Whitecaps by just two points. Three massive points are on the line.
6. Portland at D.C. United, 8 p.m. Wednesday: The Timbers’ 15-game unbeaten streak was snapped last week, while D.C. United’s season may have received a franchise-changing boost from Wayne Rooney’s tackle and assist on the goal that beat Orlando. I don’t think D.C. United, which has just 21 points, will be able to make up its nine-point gap on the sixth-place team in the East, but it’s going to be fun to watch them try.
7. NYCFC at Philadelphia, 7 p.m. Saturday: Another important game in the chase for the Supporters’ Shield and the playoff seeding in the East. NYCFC (47 points) leads fifth-place Philadelphia by 17 points. Jim Curtin’s team is in fifth, tied at 30 points with Montreal and one point ahead of seventh-place New England.
8. Chicago at Montreal, 7:30 p.m. Saturday: Chicago looks dead, but can potentially ruin Montreal’s season with a win.
9. Minnesota at Dallas, 8 p.m. Saturday: This game seems like it should be more important, but this seems like a game that the inconsistent Loons will give away to a struggling Dallas side.
10. Real Salt Lake at Houston, 9 p.m. Saturday: Houston is free-falling in the West, while Real Salt Lake is holding on to its sixth-place hold in the West. A draw seems likely.
11. New England at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m. Sunday: A legitimate chance for three more points for D.C.
12. Colorado at LAFC, 10 p.m. Sunday: If LAFC doesn’t pick up three points on Wednesday, it had better do so in this game or it may not make the playoffs.
13. Toronto at San Jose, 10 p.m. Saturday: Two teams out of the playoff races in their conferences.
Note: Colorado played at L.A. Galaxy on Tuesday, for some reason, so it’s not included in the list.
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