With only two matches remaining before MLS playoffs, Real Salt Lake has put themselves in the best possible position with seeding on the line by defeating LA Galaxy 2-1 at The Home Depot Center.
Sitting at 55 points (nine below near-inevitable Supporters Shield winners San Jose Earthquakes), RSL is three points ahead of a game-in-hand Seattle Sounders (52) and five ahead of LA Galaxy (50). With RSL heading to Seattle on Oct. 17 for its next-to-last match, they'll have a chance to move a clear three points ahead, or six points with a game in hand, over its closest rival in the Western Conference.
If RSL fails to win at Seattle, seeding will likely come down to the final day of the season when LA Galaxy host the Sounders at The Home Depot Center. Seattle holds a slight advantage over RSL in goals for, the first tiebreaker, and a distinct advantage in goal differential, the second tiebreaker.
With the margins tight between the three sides jockeying for positions, it remains to be seen who will be stuck with a qualifying play-in match against the fifth seed - either Vancouver Whitecaps (42 points) or FC Dallas (38 points).
Real Salt Lake, Oct. 17: Seattle v. RSL; Oct. 23: RSL v. Herediano (CCL); Oct. 27: RSL v. Vancouver Whitecaps
Seattle Sounders, Oct. 17: Seattle v. RSL; Oct. 21: Seattle v. FC Dallas; Oct. 24: Seattle v. Marathon (CCL); Oct. 28, LA Galaxy v. Seattle
Los Angeles Galaxy, Oct. 21: San Jose v. LA Galaxy; Oct. 25: Metapan v. LA Galaxy (CCL); Oct. 28: LA Galaxy v. Seattle
If It Ended Today
Western Conference playoff seeding, if the MLS season ended today, would put LA Galaxy (4) in a wildcard match against Vancouver Whitecaps (5), the winner of which would play San Jose Earthquakes (1). Real Salt Lake (2) would face Seattle Sounders (3).
If RSL (55 points) emerged from the Western Conference playoffs unscathed, it would hold hosting advantages over D.C. United (54), New York Red Bulls (53), and Houston Dynamo (50), but would travel to Sporting KC (59) or Chicago Fire (56).