Earlier this week, the league announced that the playoffs will officially start on November 20 and include seven teams from both the Eastern and Western Conferences. The MLS Cup 2021 is scheduled for Saturday, December 11, a week after the conference finals.
This week is a busy week in the MLS as most of the teams have two games with a mid-week slot. In addition, the Seattle Sounders will play in the semi-finals of the Leagues Cup on Tuesday against Mexican side Santos Laguna.
The past weekend's games saw a shake-up in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, plus a return to action for Chicharito.
Miami win again, close in on playoffs
Inter Miami kept it rolling over the weekend with an impressive 1-0 win over the slumping defending champions Columbus Crew. Gonzalo Higuain bagged the only goal of the game in the 16th minute and the Miami defence held to ensure all three points.
Miami have now won five straight at home and they have 13 points from the last five games. The stretch puts Phil Neville's squad in ninth place in the East, just two points out of the final playoff spot. Miami could find themselves as high as fifth place by next weekend.
Dutch keeper Nick Marsman has made a huge difference since joining the Herons over the summer transfer window. He grabbed a clean sheet on Saturday with a diving save late in the game and then made another crucial save in stoppage time. He has three straight clean sheets as Miami's defence has stepped up over the last six weeks.
The next time Miami take to the field will be on Tuesday when they travel north to take on bottom-of-the-table Toronto FC. Planet Sport Bet has the Herons at 2/1 to take all three points. Toronto are 13/10, while the draw is 21/10.
No goal, but Chicharito returns
With Chicharito finally returning from injury, LA Galaxy stole a draw late on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids. Samuel Grandsir tied the game in the 80th minute after the Rapids scored 15 minutes earlier.
Colorado would have gone top of the table with a win, at least until Seattle had played later in the weekend. They got a headed goal from Michael Barrios, but William Yarbrough couldn't save the blast from Grandsir 10 minutes from time.
The game was the first for the Mexican star since late June and he played 62 minutes. He nearly scored on his return, too, with a header going just wide. Sebastian Lletget, just back from World Cup qualifiers, also came close for the Galaxy.
Jonathan Lewis and Barrios were dangerous all game long for the Rapids, but neither was able to find the net in the first half. The Rapids have at least one point in eight straight games and have a game in hand over Seattle.