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Minnesota, Salt Lake, Orlando and Cincinnati reach MLS playoffs

Real Salt Lake, Minnesota United, FC Cincinnati and Orlando City captured Major League Soccer playoff berths on Sunday with victories on the final day of the regular season.

The table was settled with Los Angeles FC capturing the regular season crown and Western Conference title at 21-9 with four drawn for 67 points.

It was the same total as Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia, which lost the overall title on a most wins tiebreak after a 19-5-10 campaign that ended with a 4-0 blanking of Toronto.

LAFC ended the regular season with a 1-0 home loss to Nashville.

Nashville’s Hany Mukhtar won the MLS Golden Boot as the season’s top goal scorer, with the German striker netting 23 on the campaign.

Playoff chases came down to the final decision day matches, with Cincinnati securing a spot as Brazilian striker Brenner Souza da Silva’s hat trick powered a 5-2 triumph at MLS doormat DC United.

Derrick Etienne’s goal in the 38th minute put Columbus ahead at Orlando but Brazilian midfielder Junior Urso equalized in the 56th minute and Uruguayan Fecundo Torres netted the winning penalty kick in the 86th minute to lift Orlando City to victory and the last Eastern Conference playoff berth by two points over the Crew.

In the West, Minnesota grabbed the sixth seed with a 2-0 home victory over Vancouver on goals by Argentine striker Franco Fragapane in the 17th minute and Mexico’s Jonathan Gonzalez in the 77th.

At Salt Lake City, Real got goals from Venezuelan Jefferson Savarino and Americans Rubio Mendez and Bode Hidalgo in beating Portland 3-1 for the final Western Conference spot.

The MLS playoffs begin next Saturday.

In the East, Philadelphia will have a first-round bye into the conference semi-finals, where the union will meet either Cincinnati or the New York Red Bulls.

The other first-round East matchups send Inter Miami against New York City and Orlando against Montreal.

In the West, LAFC gets the bye into the conference semis and a date against either Nashville or the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Other West first-round matchups find Dallas facing Minnesota and Austin against Real Salt Lake.

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