Your Friday Kick Off

Playoff lines sharpen, Week 34 Preview, Dario Benedetto …
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Kick Off: RSL nears playoff berth | Crucial Week 34 slate from East to West Here is everything you need to know about MLS and North American soccer this morning:

Rout takes RSL clear above the playoff line

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Despite going without several key regulars, Real Salt Lake moved to the brink of securing a playoff spot thanks to a 4-1 cruise past Friday night guests New England. Damir Kreilach notched a goal and two assist, while Corey Baird and Sebastian Saucedo chalked up one of each. RECAP

Shield fight down to the wire

Atlanta United can make sure they carry the Supporters’ Shield lead to closing day with a win in Sunday’s home game against Chicago (3 pm ET | ESPN – Full TV & streaming info). The Fire haven’t won away in league play since May, but they did post a U.S. Open Cup upset in Atlanta back in June. PREVIEW

The New York Red Bulls will bid for a Supporters’ Shield lead in Sunday’s tough test at Philadelphia (3 pm ET | TV & streaming info). Though they were dumped out of the U.S. Open Cup in Philly earlier this year, the Red Bulls are 3-1-1 in their last five league visits. PREVIEW

Western crown up for grabs

West leaders FC Dallas will fight off a challenge for the summit from Sporting KC on Sunday (5 pm ET | TV & streaming info). Though Peter Vermes has engineered victories in four of SKC’s last six road games, he hasn’t won one at Dallas since 2011. PREVIEW

If FC Dallas and Sporting KC draw, LAFC can go top with a victory in Sunday’s home tilt with Vancouver (5 pm ET | TSN – Full TV & streaming info). Bob Bradley’s bunch are 4-0-1 in their last five at Banc of California Stadium, with three of the wins by shutout. PREVIEW

The race riding the Eastern playoff line

D.C. United will wager their four-game win streak in Sunday’s home duel with New York City FC (3 pm ET | TV & streaming info). Now that they’ve punched their postseason ticket, Andrew Wiebe takes a look at the wild ride that has been D.C. United’s season. READ MORE | PREVIEW

Meanwhile, Montreal needs help from NYCFC and a win in Sunday’s home derby with Toronto FC to have any shot at reaching the postseason (3 pm ET | TVAS, TSN – Full TV & streaming info). An Impact win would also give them their first clean regular-season series victory over TFC. PREVIEW

Sorting the rest of the Wild West

Form side Seattle will try to tighten the top of the West when they head south to Houston on Sunday (5 pm ET | TV & streaming info). On our list of the best personnel moves of the year, Seattle were one of two teams placing two players in the top 10. READ MORE | PREVIEW

Also Sunday, Portland and guests Real Salt Lake will stage a battle for fifth place in the West (5 pm ET | TV & streaming info). The visitors, who can clinch their playoff invite with a win, have only lost once in their last seven trips to Providence Park. PREVIEW

The LA Galaxy will try to keep their playoff hopes alive when they visit Minnesota United FC on Sunday (5 pm ET | TV & streaming info). According to Marca, the Galaxy are showing interest in Boca Juniors manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto for their head coaching vacancy. READ MORE | PREVIEW

Crew SC headed to Orlando

Scuffling Columbus will hope to improve their playoff position in Sunday’s trip to face Orlando City (3 pm ET | TV & streaming info). The Lions haven’t won since July, and are also winless in the last six series meetings (0-4-2). PREVIEW

Elsewhere, San Jose will aim to halt a six-game losing skid in Sunday’s home contest against Colorado (5 pm ET | TV & streaming info). The Earthquakes have posted five straight shutouts in this fixture, winning four of those matches. PREVIEW

MLSsoccer.com Must Watch

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Wondo Watch: Chris Wondolowski’s top 5 goals MLS

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