With Toronto FC rock bottom of the Eastern Conference, Montreal and Vancouver Whitecaps are the sides flying the flag for Canada as the MLS regular season reaches a conclusion.
With just one match remaining for both sides, here’s a look at the situation for Montreal and Vancouver going into Decision Day on October 21.
Montreal have been floundering in recent weeks and a seven-game winless run threatened to dismantle all the hard work the Impact had put in earlier on in the season.
However, Montreal stopped the rot and picked up a valuable three points before the international break with a 4-1 victory over the Portland Timbers at Stade Saputo.
Sunusi Ibrahim, Mahala Opoku, Mathieu Choiniere and Mason Toye all got on the scoresheet to keep Montreal in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
With 41 points from 33 games, Montreal have a one-point advantage over D.C United, who have played a game extra.
Head coach Hernan Losada and his side can’t secure a direct path to the final series, but will land one of the Wild Card places if they win at Columbus Crew in their final match of the regular season on Decision Day.
Montreal are +600 to claim the three points on the road, with Columbus at -250 for the win. A draw is available at +375.
Columbus already have their place in the playoffs wrapped up, as they sit in fourth place, with one point between themselves and third-placed Philadelphia Union.
The Crew have New England hot on their tails, with the Revolution two points behind, so there is plenty to play for in their game against Montreal, while New England and Philadelphia also face off in their final game.
Montreal know they have their fate in their own hands, but a win against Columbus will be key, with the likes of New York Red Bulls, Chicago Fire, Charlotte FC and New York City all capable of leapfrogging The Impact.
Columbus are likely to prove a tough nut to crack, as they are unbeaten in their last five games, while they earned a 4-2 win at Montreal in their previous encounter last month.
Montreal require arguably their best performance of the year to extend their MLS season.
The stress levels are set to be much lighter in the Vancouver camp on Decision Day, as the Whitecaps have already secured their place in the playoffs.
Sat in sixth place in the standings, a four-point gap between themselves and FC Dallas and San Jose means the Whitecaps can’t drop into the Wild Card places on the final day.
However, Vancouver will be looking further up the Western Conference, as they have the Seattle Sounders, Houston Dynamos and Real Salt Lake all in touching distance.
The Whitecaps are on a four-match unbeaten run as they prepare to welcome Los Angeles on Decision Day to BC Place.
Vancouver are favorites at +130 to secure the three points on home soil, while LA are +175 to claim the victory on the road. A draw is +275.
Los Angeles have enjoyed a strong season and currently occupy second place in the Western Conference behind frontrunners St Louis City.
LA had a rough patch recently with goalless draws against St Louis and Philadelphia, before a 1-0 home defeat to Salt Lake.
However, Los Angeles were back to their scoring ways with a 5-1 win over Minnesota United backed up by a 4-2 victory at Austin last time out.
Denis Bouanga will be the man Vancouver must keep in check, with the 28-year-old scoring 19 goals in the MLS this season.
Vancouver have their own attacking threats, with Brian White the team’s top goalscorer this season with 15 goals to his name.
Scotsman Ryan Gauld has also made a strong contribution in the goalscoring department, finding the back of the net 11 times this term.
The Whitecaps know their season won’t come to an end whatever happens on Decision Day, but head coach Vanni Sartini will want to take some winning momentum into their playoff journey.
It should make for an interesting game at BC Place, between two sides that will have ambitions of going all the way to the MLS title this season.
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