Locked in a heated race for first place in the Western Conference, Sporting Kansas City can punch their postseason ticket on Sunday night when the club visits Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place.
That's right, folks: with a win or a draw against Vancouver, Sporting will secure a berth in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs and return to the postseason for the 10th time in 11 years.
Needless to say, Sunday's match—slated for 9 p.m. CT on Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest, ESPN 94.5 FM and La Grande 1340 AM—carries utmost significance as Manager Peter Vermes' men continue their late-season push.
However, Sporting may have their playoff berth locked up even before they take the field in Vancouver. If Minnesota United FC loses or ties at Austin FC or the LA Galaxy lose to the Portland Timbers on Saturday night, Sporting will clinch their spot in the postseason.
As momentum builds toward the final MLS fixture of the weekend, we outline Sporting's playoff scenarios in the space below. It's worth noting that Sporting can also clinch a home playoff match and a top-four finish in the West—with a whopping five games to spare—if certain results go their way.
Sporting can clinch a berth in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs if...
- Sporting wins or draws at Vancouver on Sunday, OR
- Minnesota United FC loses or ties at Austin FC on Saturday (8 p.m. CT), OR
- LA Galaxy loses vs. Portland Timbers on Saturday (9:30 p.m. CT)
Sporting can clinch a home playoff match and a top-four finish in the West if...
- Minnesota United FC loses or ties at Austin FC on Saturday (8 p.m. CT), AND
- Real Salt Lake loses vs. Colorado Rapids on Saturday (8:30 p.m. CT), AND
- LA Galaxy loses vs. Portland Timbers on Saturday (9:30 p.m. CT), AND
- Sporting wins at Vancouver on Sunday
Sporting occupy second place in the Western Conference table, five points behind Seattle Sounders FC and a point ahead of the third-place Colorado Rapids. The top seven teams in the West will advance to the playoffs, with the top-seeded club receiving a first-round bye to the conference semifinals. Unfolding in a single-game, single-elimination format, the Audi 2021 MLS Playoffs will begin Nov. 20 and conclude with MLS Cup on Dec. 11.