The Audi MLS Cup Playoffs kicked off on Wednesday, with the start of the Knockout Round. Throughout the rest of the week, four teams would be eliminated and the Conference Semifinals would kick off. Here is a wrap up of all the recent action and a look ahead at the upcoming games.
Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union
Toronto FC hosted the Philadelphia Union for the first match in the Knockout Round. Toronto came in ranked 3rd, with Philadelphia ranked 6th. Toronto FC came out strong, with a goal by Giovinco to open scoring in the 15th minute. The Union would get one back thanks to Alejandro Bedoya, but they would drop the match 3-1.
LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake
LA Galaxy hosted Real Salt Lake later that night, with LA coming in as the higher seed. Alan Gordon opened scoring in the 14th minute for the Galaxy, and assisted both of the later goals in the game scored by Emmanuel Boateng. Real Salt Lake wasn’t able to create much on the offensive or defensive side of the ball. The Galaxy moved onto the next round with a 3-1 victory.
D.C. United vs. Montreal Impact
On Thursday night, D.C. United hosted the Montreal Impact to solidify the next round for the Eastern Conference. Laurent Ciman opened the scoring early for Montreal, knocking a goal into the back of the net off a corner kick in the 4th minute. D.C. United would go down 2-0 nothing in the first half, and increase it to 4-0 by the 83rd minute. D.C. managed to get two goals back in the dying minutes, but it wasn’t enough to mount a comeback. Montreal won 4-2 and moved on to the next round.
Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting Kansas City
The Seattle Sounders hosted Sporting Kansas City for the last match of the elimination round. The game was heated, with both sides displaying the spirited passion that got them into the playoffs at the end of the season. The deciding factor was a goal in the 88th minute by Nelson Valdez that sent the Seattle Sounders on to the next round.
Conference Semifinals- First Leg
Montreal Impact vs. New York Red Bulls
In the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Montreal Impact hosted the New York Red Bulls. The Impact came in with a defensive mentality, bunkering down in the back to shut down the Red Bulls offense. The lone goal of the game came from Matteo Mancosu in the 61st minute. Now, the two teams will travel to New York, where the Red Bulls will get a chance at redemption.
LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids
In the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals, Galaxy superstar Giovani dos Santos was the difference maker. The Galaxy hosted the Rapids in a match that highlighted both teams’ strong points-- the Rapids defense showed off their strength, but it was not enough to stop the Galaxy offense. The Rapids had a chance to equalize but the shot from Jermaine Jones was blocked brilliantly. The Galaxy took the first round, and now the team’s will travel back to Colorado.
Toronto FC vs. New York City FC
Toronto FC hosted New York City FC in what proved to be an incredibly defensive match. Both teams held each other scoreless through 84 minutes, but New York City FC slipped up, letting Toronto FC score twice in the last ten minutes. Toronto FC garnered a convincing win and proved that they can keep going through the full 90-- they will now travel to New York for the second leg.
Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas
In what was arguably the most surprising match of the day, the Seattle Sounders hosted FC Dallas and took advantage of even the slightest sign of weakness. The Sounders found all of their three goals in ten minutes, with Valdez opening up scoring and Valdez putting away two more. It’s too soon to say that the Shield Winners are out, but they will have to mount a history-making comeback in Sunday’s match if they expect to move on.
Looking Ahead: Conference Semifinals-Leg Two
The 2016 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs will continue on Sunday, November 6th. Action kicks off at 2:00pm on ESPN when the Colorado Rapids host the LA Galaxy. The Rapids are undefeated at home this season, but they’ll have to make up for the goal they gave away in LA.
At 4:00pm on ESPN, the New York Red Bulls will host the Montreal Impact. With a fantastic home record of their own, the New York Red Bulls definitely have a chance to use their offensive skill and take back this round. But the Montreal Impact have been on a hot streak, and they won’t be easy to stop.
At 6:30pm on Fox Sports 1, New York City FC will host Toronto FC. Toronto took a convincing lead in the first round, and proved that they can keep momentum going through the full 90 minutes. New York City FC will have to create some offensive magic to keep them in play.
The last match of the night will kickoff at 9:00pm on Fox Sports 1, as FC Dallas hosts the Seattle Sounders. No team has ever come back from a three goal deficit and moved on to the final round-- which only means that the Shield winners will have to make history if they want to move on to the next round. The Sounders have shown that they want to be here, and despite their struggles this season, they can compete with the best for the MLS Cup.
Don’t miss any of the action this Sunday, November 6th on ESPN and Fox Sports 1.