MLS Preview: Play-off places up for grabs
Sporting Kansas City and Colorado Rapids could kick-start a flurry of MLS play-off qualification in their respective games on Thursday.
Sporting, currently second in the Eastern Conference, will confirm their spot in the post-season if they overcome Houston Dynamo in Texas, who themselves will go within two points of making it with a win of their own.
A point is also likely to be good enough for Sporting, who hold an eight-point advantage over the sixth-placed Chicago Fire and head into the match with four wins from their last five MLS games.
Chicago travel to Dallas on Saturday and a defeat for Frank Klopas' side, coupled with a Houston win, will seal play-off spots for the top three in the Eastern Conference - Dynamo, Kansas City and New York Red Bulls, who are not in action over the weekend.
Montreal Impact can go a long way to making the trio a quartet should the Fire taste defeat, if they can come out triumphant from their home game with New England Revolution on Saturday.
However, currently winless in four, the Canadians will need to snap a recent dry spell in order to do so, with New England also desperate to claw their way into the top five, which they are just three points off.
In the Western Conference, Colorado Rapids will secure their post-season place, as well as that of Real Salt Lake, with a win at San Jose Earthquakes.
Rapids are currently in the final play-off qualification spot, one place and four points above San Jose, and have won three of their last four.
Seattle Sounders will guarantee their spot with just a point against Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday should San Jose lose, but will qualify with a win, whatever happens. Even if they are unsuccessful, they can seal the deal when they travel to Portland Timbers on Sunday.
Also on Saturday, DC United play host to Philadelphia Union.
The side from the American capital have just three league victories to their name all season, and a 3-0 reverse at home to Chicago Fire in their latest outing leaves them firmly bottom of the Eastern Conference.
But they proved they do have quality in their squad when they brought home the US Open Cup with a 1-0 success over Real Salt Lake on Tuesday and could be buoyed by that as they face the play-off chasing Union, currently in the last qualification spot in the Eastern Conference.