Nashville can officially clinch a spot in the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs in their penultimate game of the season.
With just two matches left to go in the regular season, the ‘Yotes are in fourth place in MLS’s Western Conference. They’re currently in position for a home playoff game, and are all but guaranteed a spot in the postseason. Here’s how they can officially punch their ticket for the playoffs this weekend:
- 1: Nashville SC win vs Houston Dynamo or
- 2: Nashville draw vs Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake draw or lose at LA Galaxy or
- 3: Salt Lake lose at LA Galaxy or
- 4: Portland lose vs LAFC or
- 5: Portland draw vs LAFC and Salt Lake draw at LA Galaxy
The Galaxy and Real Salt Lake face off late on Saturday evening, while Portland and LAFC kick off five hours before Nashville. Nashville will more than likely go into Sunday already knowing their fate.
On its own, a Portland draw or loss on Sunday would not mean they can’t pass Nashville. However, Portland travel to Salt Lake on Decision Day, meaning that at least one of the two will have to drop points. It’s a bit convoluted, since Nashville could officially clinch a playoff spot on the basis of a game that hasn’t happened yet, but the math adds up.
A draw between Salt Lake and LA would give Nashville a boost in their push for a home playoff game. It would cap LA’s maximum points at 50, although Nashville would need a win against either Houston or LAFC to ensure the Galaxy can’t pass them on tiebreakers.
Similarly, losses from Minnesota United in San Jose and Portland Timbers at LAFC would benefit Nashville. If both those teams lose, the ‘Yotes would go into their match against Houston knowing that a win would ensure they finish no lower than fifth.
And finally, if FC Dallas (currently in third place) lose to Colorado in their early Saturday match, Nashville would pass them in the table with a win over Houston on Sunday night.
The simplest takeaway from all this is that a win from Nashville on Sunday night or a Real Salt Lake loss on Sunday night will officially clinch a third-consecutive playoff spot for the Boys In Gold.