The MLS playoffs got off to a roaring start with plenty of dramatic endings, referee confusion, and big plays from Americans in the league. Some of the matches went as predicted while others had surprises in store for fans. All in all, only one away team managed a win, while the home sides won six of the seven games.
Matt Turner moves on
New England beat Montreal to advance to the second round of the playoffs. I don’t talk much about Matt Turner here, he’s a good goalkeeper and made four saves in the 2-1 win.
Maybe they should re-name it Amateur
There weren’t exactly a lot of high points for the Americans in the Orlando vs. NYCFC playoff match, but the shootout was exciting. After 22 minutes, Orlando City came out on top following their starting keeper Pedro Gallese being sent off, Brian Rowe trying to come on as a substitute and being prohibited from coming in after being allowed to come in and a field player making a game winning save eventually. Apparently, Allan Chapman made the right call, but won’t be allowed to referee for the rest of the playoffs by PRO. Great work everyone.
Four goals for Yanks in Columbus
The Crew and Redbulls combined for five goals in Ohio and Americans scored four of them. Caden Clark opened things up as the 17 year-old scored in the 23rd minute.
Caden Clark gets us on the board first. The 17-year-old only scores massive goals. pic.twitter.com/fNEX9LlY1h— Red Bull New York (@NewYorkRedBulls) November 21, 2020
The Crew answered back with a penalty converted by Pedro Santos and the suddenly prolific Darlington Nagbe added a second in the 46th.
Nagbe puts it away less than 30 seconds into the second half! 2-1!#CLBvRBNY // @Audi #MLSCupPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/zqhgk5U8bS— Major League Soccer (@MLS) November 21, 2020
Gyasi Zardes scored the third, and it would turn out game winning, goal for the Crew in the 68th minute.
USMNT striker Gyasi Zardes (29) on the mark for Columbus in the MLS playoffs today. It’s his 14th goal of the season.— OneGoal (@OneGoalUS) November 21, 2020
Finally, Brian White scored a too little, too late goal for New York in the 90th minute.
A wild ending and wilder shootout in Kansas City
SKC and the San Jose Earthquakes teamed up for a game with plenty of last minute drama. Gianluca Busio had a huge match for SKC as the midfielder contributed an assist and scored the seemingly game winning goal in the 90th for the home team.
GIANLUCA BUSIO IN THE 91ST MINUTE pic.twitter.com/J9ZBimRSmD— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 22, 2020
Busio’s goal was assisted by Khiry Shelton and centerback Jaylin Lindsey went what would be the full 120 for SKC.
I said “seemingly” because Chris Wondolowski would not let his team go down that easy. The all-time MLS goal scorer would find a way to bring the score to 3-3 in the 90 +7th minute.
90+1': Sporting KC 3-2 San Jose (Busio)— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 22, 2020
90+7’: Sporting KC 3-3 San Jose (Wondolowski)
MLS playoffs are WILD
Follow @MLS for more pic.twitter.com/QsocLH29L7
After a scoreless extratime period, the game went to penalties and that’s when a wild game met an appropriate end when Tim Melia saved all three of San Jose’s penalty tries.
Tim Melia is the first goalkeeper in MLS history to record a shutout in a penalty shootout, per @OptaJack— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 23, 2020
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Aside from Shelton, Busio, Wondo, Lindsey and Melia, Nick Lima and Jackson Yueill played the full 120. Cade Cowell and Tommy Thompson came off the bench 33 and 18 minutes respectively.
All smoke and no fire for the Rapids
The Colorado Rapids lined up with an aggressive starting lineup including Cole Bassett and Jonathan Lewis in midfield. Kellyn Acosta started at left back and Keegan Rosenberry was on the right with William Yarbrough in goal. Alas, the promise and potential that the Rapids showed in 2020 ended in a 3-0 defeat in Minnesota.
A late goal costs the Timbers
The Portland Timbers held a late lead against FC Dallas thanks to a goal by Jorge Villafana but lost it in the third minute of injury time after a goal by Ricardo Pepi. The subsequent extratime was fruitless for both sides and after 15 penalties, Villafana’s try was saved and Dallas emerged with a win. As far as Yanks in the game of note, Jeremy Ebobisse came off the bench for just over 30 minutes, Jesus Ferreria went 61 minutes, Bryan Reynolds played 120, and Tanner Tessmann subbed on for 59.
Quick work for Nashville
Inter Miami didn’t put up much of a fight against Nashville as the expansion teams faced off in the playoffs. MLS Defender of the Year Walker Zimmerman helped keep a clean sheet in the 3-0 win. Dax McCarty scored the final Nashville goal in the 57th minute and the team from Tennessee are onto the next round.
Looking good, @NashvilleSC! pic.twitter.com/VFwwu0rXix— Major League Soccer (@MLS) November 21, 2020