Day two had two matches. NYCFC took on Philadelphia in an early morning match, and Montreal played New England in the evening. Both matches produced some fiery moments.
Before we get to the games, there was some major news off of the pitch.
MLS announced the withdrawal of Nashville SC this afternoon due to the team’s confirmed COVID-19 cases. This is the second team that was dismissed by commissioner Don Garber; Nashville SC joins FC Dallas on the sidelines for this tournament. The most important thing is everyone’s safety. While these teams wanted to compete, this choice is one that was made for the greater good of the affected teams.
For more on the Nashville news and what it means for the format of the tournament check out our in-depth look at the situation:
Now onto the matches from day two!
NYCFC vs Philadelphia Union
This match was one that featured two eastern conference heavyweights. Before the match even began, it was clear that one team was 100% healthy and the other team was not. New York had their starting 11 together. This team is practically the same one that won the East last season. As for Philly, they were missing a key striker. Sergio Santos was out of this match for Philly with a minor leg injury. This meant the Union had to play supersub Illsinho from the start and as a second striker. The stage was set, and the Union used it to make a statement.
Philadelphia unveiled that they had names of the victims of police brutality on the backs of their jerseys for their first match. This is an amazing gesture showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. For more on this, check out our article on this:
During the match, NYCFC had most of the possession, but couldn’t put the ball in the net, due to the major work of Union keeper Andre Blake. Philly looked to counter and was able to take one of their counter-attacks into a few looks at goal. After that sequence fell to Alejandro Bedoya in the box, he placed a shot that New York keeper Sean Johnson has trouble with. The Union scored the only goal and took all three points. For an in-depth look at this match, have a look at our match recap:
Due to the shift in the groups, all the teams in Group A played their first match during the first two days of the tournament. Here’s a look at their standings:
Montreal vs New England
The evening match featured two eastern conference teams kicking off play in Group C. As the match kicked off it was clear both teams had some rust to shake off, but there was gesture off the field that took the spotlight.
Montreal Impact Coach, and former legendary player, Thierry Henry knelt in his coaches box for the first eight minutes and forty-six seconds
Back to the play on the field, Henry’s Montreal side showed more rust than Bruce Arena’s New England team. Montreal held most of the possession but failed to find that decisive pass to spring a real attack. On the occasion they were able to muster shots, they were easily blocked or stopped. New England was solid in defense and did well to break on the counter-attack. The Revolution had the majority of the changes in the first half, just missing twice. As the game transitioned to the second half, New England found that breakthrough.
New England came out firing in the second half. After 10 minutes of pressure, the Revolution had the chance to score again and took it. Carles Gil whipped in a ball to the feet of Gustavo Bou. Bou faked a shot with his right foot, cutting it back to his left and making a defender miss. He then rifled a shot into the top left corner of the goal. This gave New England the lead, and then they looked to smother the game.
Henry’s Impact failed to live up to their name after going down a goal. He tried to push the game with attacking subs, Romell Quioto, Zachary Brault-Guillard, and Ballou Tabla. The only that looked to really make a difference was Tabla, who was able to get a great look at goal in the sixth minute of stoppage time. New England keeper Matt Turner read it well though and made an impressive save to secure the three points for New England.
New England is now on the top of Group C, while Montreal is at the bottom. DC and Toronto are still yet to play, they’ll do so Sunday morning.
Men of the Matches
Union goalkeeper Andre Blake took the man of the match honors from the Philly-NYC match. He made seven saves, none bigger than the fingertip beauty to preserve all three points
Revolution DP playmaker Gustavo Bou is always a dangerous player. His moment of brilliance that gave New England their win earned him man of the match honors.
What’s on deck for Day 3?
On the first Friday of the MLS is Back Tournament there is only one match and it kicks off in the evening. Seattle Sounders take on San Jose Earthquakes in the first Group B match. The match kicks off at 9:00 p.m. EST.
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Peace out Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union & Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports