The “Relegation Bowl” is set for kickoff: D.C. United vs. Toronto FC

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This is “naughty me” at work, stirring up a stink among the set convinced that Major League Soccer will only be taken seriously once the concept of relegation-promotion is put to good and proper use.

Believe me, MLS has many laps to go before finishing this race – but relegation-promotion is not the rocket fuel that will propel things substantially faster.

It is simply unlikely to ever happen here; TV contracts being what they are, modern ownership being what it is, the domestic sports world simply may not allow it. At the very least, we are a decade-plus from anything that looks like relegation promotion.

But …

The match kicking off shortly at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., certainly is a case where relegation would pay off. Because if there was ever to be a “relegation six-pointer” in Major League Soccer, this bad boy would surely be it.

Toronto is 9th in the Eastern Conference standings; D.C. United is 10th. These are the only team in the East currently not relevant in playoff talk – a darn shame considering how tightly packed things are among the eight that are relevant.

As it is, there is no compelling reason for many folks beyond these two markets to care about what happens tonight at RFK, other perhaps than the subplot of United’s attack being led by two for Reds, Dwayne De Rosario and Luis Silva (pictured). Silva’s bright performance at RFK surely has Toronto fans wondering, “Uh, remind us why we let that guy go?”

There’s also Ryan Nelson, TFC’s coach, returning to the stadium where he made his MLS bones.

Otherwise, just hold out for better games tonight. Of course, that would be a little different if top-flight survival was on the line. See … me being naughty again. Consider yourself agitated.

FYI, the “Relegation Bowl” headline was inspired by my friends at Black and Red United and Waking the Red. (And apologies for getting the TFC blog’s name wrong last week.)

The lineups are here.