D.C. United will advance to the semifinals of the first SuperLiga tournament tonight with a win over the Houston Dynamo.
But if United ties or loses in Houston against the hottest team in MLS, its fate will be decided by the Monarcas Morelia-Club America game, which is at Toyota Park in Chicago.
"There are too many scenarios that wouldn't work in our favor, so we have to take care of business, and we are going there to win as I'm sure they are," United coach Tom Soehn said.
United (1-0-1) and Houston (1-0-1) both have four points in Group B, while Morelia (0-0-2) has two points and Club America (0-2) zero. The top two teams advance.
"Everybody is in a situation now where they need a win," United midfielder Ben Olsen said. "That takes care of really worrying about any other team. It's about us and how we perform and what type of result we get."
Here are the scenarios that determine who advances:
c Both MLS teams will advance if Morelia loses or ties with Club America, which already has been eliminated.
c If Morelia wins and United and Houston tie, all three teams will have five points, and a tiebreaker would determine the outcome. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head results, followed by goal differential, total goals and finally the drawing of lots. The final situation comes into play if Morelia wins 1-0 and United and the Dynamo tie 1-1.
c If Morelia wins by two or more goals and United and Houston Dynamo tie, Morelia would finish first based on goal differential. The tiebreaker between Houston and United would be a drawing of lots.
United is buoyed by the return of forward Jamie Moreno to the 18-man roster. Moreno missed the last three games after a hamstring injury against FC Dallas on July 14.
The Dynamo have lost just once in their last 14 games — 9-1-4 since the beginning of June. United is coming off a 1-0 win over Club America on Sunday. United outshot Club America 16-2.
"The last two games the intensity was right, and that always has got to be there," Olsen said. "But when you can add that to managing the game in the right way and getting an early goal — that's a recipe for a championship. That's how you do it, and that's what we need to do against Houston. That right now is the best team in this tournament. They are on a roll and haven't lost in some time, so they are tough."
The eight-team SuperLiga includes the top teams in the Mexican league and MLS competing for a $1 million prize and the title of the best team in North America.