Decision Day: Sporting KC look to bounce back in season finale with No. 1 seed up for grabs

Sporting KC

Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes reacts to a foul during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Seattle Sounders, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Kansas City, Kan. (AP Photo/Nick Tre. Smith)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — No. 2 seed Sporting Kansas City host playoff-hopeful Real Salt Lake for the last game of the season at Children’s Mercy Park.

The club is coming off back-to-back road losses with the chance to secure the No. 1 seed for the third time in four seasons.

Sporting KC and the Seattle Sounders have been bouncing back-and-forth for the top spot with the third-place Colorado Rapids biting at their heels.

  1. Seattle Sounders – 59
  2. Sporting Kansas City – 58
  3. Colorado Rapids – 58

Real Salt Lake currently sit one place out of a playoff spot behind the Los Angeles Galaxy.

RSL and Sporting KC created a rivalry since the 2013 MLS Cup championship match when Kansas City defeated Salt Lake in a penalty shootout to be crowned champions.

Sporting loss the first meeting at Rio Tinto Stadium 3-1 on May 1.

Salt Lake is coming off a two-game losing streak at home and have lost three of their last four matches.

They are led by Croatian forward Damir Kreilach, who has 15 goals and nine assists on the season, and Albert Rusnák, who has 11 goals and 11 assists.

Despite scoring the second-highest amount of goals in the conference this season (54), they have allowed the same amount of goals, putting their goal differential at 0.

Sporting are led by Dániel Sallói (16 goals, 8 assists) and Johnny Russell (15 goals, 8 assists).

Russell has scored or assisted in 10 straight games, including the sole goal against Austin FC in their latest loss.

On Decision Day, Sporting KC needs some help from other teams to get the top seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs.

According to MLSsoccer.com there are three scenarios for Kansas City to come out on top:

  1. Sporting Kansas City wins over Real Salt Lake AND Seattle lose or tie against Vancouver
  2. Sporting Kansas City ties Real Salt Lake AND Seattle lose by more than 1 against Vancouver AND Colorado Rapids lose or tie against LAFC
  3. Sporting Kansas City ties Real Salt Lake AND Seattle lose by 1 against Vancouver AND Colorado Rapids lose or tie against LAFC AND Sporting Kansas City wins total goals scored against Seattle Sounders

The scenarios stem from the leagues’ tiebreakers, and with just one point separating the top three seeds, many of them will come into play.

MLS Standings Tiebreakers
Total number of wins
Goal Differential (GD) [Goals For – Goals Against]
Goals For (GF)
Fewest Disciplinary Points
Away Goals Differential
Away Goals For
Home Goals Differential
Home Goals For
If still two clubs tied – Coin Toss OR If still 3+ clubs tied – Drawing of Lots
*Total points determines seeding before tiebreakers take place

Despite positive results throughout practice this week, Mexican striker Alan Pulido will not likely be featured in the season finale, pushing his return back until the playoffs begin.

On Decision Day, all Western Conference teams kick off at 5 p.m.

You can watch Sporting Kansas City fight for first against Real Salt Lake on Bally Sports KC.

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