Reviewing Day Nine, 10, 11 & 12 of the MLS is Back Tournament

Have you missed any of the action of the MLS is Back Tournament over the last few days? There have been many telling games to show who will be continuing on in the knockout rounds of this tournament and who will be going home in just a few short days. Here’s a look back at days nine, 10, 11 and 12 of the MLS is Back Tournament.

Mandatory Credit: MLSSoccer.com

Day Nine:

Atlanta United v.s. Cincinnati FC

The morning match of day nine was a wild match between two teams who are usually at opposite ends of the table. Cincinnati was determined to sit deep and try to deflect Atlanta attacks. It looked like Atlanta would find a way through, but Jack Mulraney received a pair of early Yellow Cards that put Cininatti up a man after the 26th minute. Atlanta seemed to still be on the front foot, but they couldn’t find a goal.

In the second half, Atlanta still had the lions-share of possession, but there was Moment FC Cincinnati was able to break out to string a few passes together. In the 76th minute, Frankie Amaya found himself on the ball in a pocket of space just outside the Atlanta box. He was able to shoot and placed a great ball past Brad Guzan to give Cincinnati the improbable lead. As the match progressed Atlanta tried to find the equalizer, but could not breakdown Cincinnati. The match ended 1-0 in favor of Cincy!

Man of the Match

Frankie Amaya won man of the match honors for his lone goal to keep FC Cincinnati in contention of the MLS is Back Tournament heading into their final matchday of the group stage.

Montreal Impact v.s. Toronto FC

Another rivalry was renewed in the MLS is Back Tournament as the Canadian Classique took place between Montreal and Toronto. The thriller of a match had seven goals split between the two teams! The first half both teams went back and forth scoring. Toronto scored four first half goals and Montreal scored three. The defense optional match sured up a bit in the second half, but some goals still followed.

Toronto’s Ayo Akinola had already scored twice in the first half, after already scoring twice in TFC’s first match of the tournament. Akinola found a way to score a third goal late in the match to put Toronto up 4-2. His hattrick ended up being the game securing goal as Montreal scored a late penalty shot. The match ended 4-3, and Toronto got their first three points of the Tournament, while Montreal still looks for their first points.

Man of the Match

Ayo Akinola secured Man of the Match honors, and looks to be a true contender for the golden boot with all the goals he is scoring!

Columbus Crew v.s. New York Red Bulls

A pivotal match in Group C saw high-flying Columbus Crew and New York Red Bulls. These two teams were in the position to take a hold of Group E, but it seemed Columbus was the one who would take control of their group. After dominating the first 20 minutes Columbus found their breakthrough. The Red Bulls fell asleep on a Columbus throw-in. Pedro Santos controlled the throw-in and played a perfect ball forward to Gyasi Zardes. He was in on goal and scored the opener.

As the match progressed the Red Bulls had a lot of trouble breaking down the Crew. The match went to halftime, and the Crew came out firing in the second half. Lucas Zelarayan made a perfect run and took a shot first time and placed it perfectly past the outstretched keeper. The Red Bulls couldn’t find their way past the organized Columbus side, as the match ended 2-0.

Man of the Match

The Crew’s Gyasi Zardes won man of the match honors for his efforts! Columbus dominated the match and took all three points; they secured their spot in the knockout rounds with a win, while the Red Bulls will be in a fight for the knockout rounds in their last match vs FC Cincinnati.

Day 10:

DC United v.s. New England Revolution

A much-anticipated match between DC and New England saw the potential for the Revolution to secure a knockout round place with a win. DC having fought their way to a draw vs Toronto were in a position to look for a win to keep their momentum. The first half of the match was back and forth for both sides but neither were able to find a goal. As the match rolled to the second half, things opened up a bit more and goals came!

In the 51st minute, New England was on the attack; Cristian Penilla sent a cross into the box that was deflected. Luckily for the Revolution, Adam Buksa was able to rise up and get his head to the ball. His header was enough to give New England the lead! After a spell of 20 minutes, New England proved they could not hold onto their lead. Antonio Delamea hit a wayward pass right to DC United Substitute Federico Higuaín. Higuaín was in on goal from their and slotted home the equalizing goal. The match ended with both teams frantically trying to find the winner, but not being able to.

Man of the Match

New England’s Adam Buksa was named man of the match, as New England was able to stay atop the Group C standings, but now tied at the top with Toronto FC. DC put themselves in a position to need a win in their final match to make it out of the group.

Sporting Kansas City v.s. Colorado Rapids

Moving to action in Group D, Sporting Kansas City and Colorado Rapids were looking to get their first win in the group. It looked like Colorado may be the team to do that early on in the match. A cool finish from Kellyn Acosta put the Rapids up in the 6th minute of the match. The scored stayed the same for the first half, and as the match progressed to the second, all hell broke loose.

In the 61st minute, Colorado’s Danny Wilson was shown a red card for a denial of a goal-scoring opportunity. Four minutes later Khiry Shelton tied the match for SKC. As the match went on Colorado kept getting in their own way. They were already down a mand when they gave up a penalty that Kansas City’s Alan Pulido slotted home. Not a minute after SKC took the lead, Colorado suffered another self-inflicted wound. Jack Wilson was shown a red card for foul and abusive language; Colorado was down to nine players on the pitch but did not stop fighting. In the last six minutes of the match, Colorado was able to find an equalizing goal from substitute Jonathan Lewis. With that emotional high, Colorado now had to hold fast for a point. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t do this as Graham Zusi netted the winning goal in stoppage time of the second half.

SKC won the thriller 3-2, and their striker Khiry Shelton won man of the match honors. This was a massive three points for SKC and a devastating blow for Colorado!

Man of the Match

Real Salt Lake v.s. Minnesota United

In a match between the top two teams in Group D, one thought the match would be one that was open and full of attacking instances. This was not the case for RSL or Minnesota United. This was a 0-0 match, with very few chances. Each team had ten shots; Salt Lake had only two on target, while the loons had three. Minnesota looked the better of the two teams as their three shots on target were lethal.

Fortunately for Real Salt Lake, they had Zac MacMath in goal. MacMath made all three of those saves in impressive fashion. His efforts secured a point for his side, but RSL’s lack of attack was concerning. MacMath won man of the match honors and kept RSL tied atop the group.

Man of the Match

In Group D the final matchday will be huge for all teams. Every single team still has a path to make the knockout rounds and three teams have a chance to win the group!

Day 11:

Portland Timers v.s. Houston Dynamo

Portland and Houston met each other in their second match in Group F play. Both teams looking to take a stride forward in the group. In the first half, it was Portland who struck. Sebastian Blanco hit a great through ball to Jeremy Ebobisse, he moved through the Houston defense and slotted home a shot from a difficult angle. Portland was up 1-0 after 35 minutes. Houston tried to get back into the match but could not get into the match in the first half.

In the second half, Portland picked up where they left off, and in the 61st minute Diego Valeri finished off a nice sequence with a perfectly placed shot off the post and in. While Portland enjoyed the comfort room from being up 2-0, Houston still pushed to get in the game. The Dynamo won a PK that was converted by Alberth Elis in the 86th minute. It proved to be too little too late, as Portland took all three points. Portland put in a strong defensive effort led by Man of the Match Larrys Mabiala to secure the three points.

Man of the Match

LAFC v.s. LA Galaxy

The El Trafico rivalry match that everyone was waiting for in Group F was an interesting affair, that started as a back and forth contest and ended as a one-sided beat down. Both teams needed a positive result after their first matches, and it was clear both teams were flying from the start. LA Galaxy started strong by moving the ball forward and putting getting the game’s first goal when LAFC’s Latif Blessing accidentally kicked the ball into his own net in the fifth minute. LAFC came roaring back as they were a PK in the 13th minute which was converted, Diego Rossi. The teams went back and forth for the next 20 minutes until the Galaxy went up again; Cristian Pavon converted a penalty in the 31st minute. Just before halftime, Rossi scored again for LAFC to make the match tied going into half time.

In the second half, it seemed like the Galaxy was gassed, and LAFC was just getting started. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored in the 56th minute to put LAFC up. LA Galaxy could not find their shape and LAFC pounced after getting the lead. Rossi completed his hat-trick in the 75th minute, but he and LAFC were not done scoring yet. Mohamed El-Munir scored five minutes after Rosi to make it 5-2, and in stoppage time of the second half, Rossi scored his fourth goal of the match. It ended 6-2 in favor of LAFC, solidifying that LA is definitely Black and Gold.

Man of the Match

Rossi took home man of the match for obvious reasons, and LAFC took a jump to second place in the group two points behind Portland, who are locked into the knockout rounds! LA Galaxy and Houston are in a tough place to make a wildcard spot.

Day 12:

Chicago Fire v.s. San Jose Earthquakes

Chicago Fire was looking to build off their win their first match against Seattle Sounders in the club’s second match v.s. San Jose. The Earthquakes, have already played two matches and racked up four points, a win for them would put them in the knock out rounds. This match was back and forth in the first half as both teams tried to feel the other out. A goalless first half went to halftime, with both teams hungry to get a goal in the second half.

as the second half started, San Jose took the step forward. They controlled possession and looked more dangerous with the ball. In the 56th minute, Jackson Yueill played a perfect through ball to Cristian Espinoza who put home the chance to give San Jose the lead. While the Earthquakes were up, Chicago woke up and thought they had the equalizer, but it was whistled off due to a foul in the build-up play. Late in the match, San Jose brought on all-time MLS goalscorer Chris Wondolowski. In the 83rd minute, he drifted into the box and was unmarked as a ball flew into the box. He headed home the chance to make it 2-0. Chicago’s loss is a big hit to them in the standings. San Jose, and Man of the Match Jackson Yueill, secured their place in the knockout rounds on seven points!

Man of the Match

Seattle Sounders v.s. Vancouver Whitecaps

Seattle came into their match against Vancouver in a place where they needed a win to stay alive in the tournament. Vancouver felt the same, but since this was their second match, they knew they still would cling to life if this match went south for them. Early on, it was clear Seattle wanted this match more. A 16th minute PK was converted by Nicolas Lodeiro to give the Sounders the 1-0 lead. Seattle scored a second in the first half when Jordan Morris scored. Vancouver seemed lost, and could not sting the passes together to get a legitimate attack as the match went to half time.

10 minutes into the second half, Jordan Morris found Raul Ruidiaz who put home the chance to make it 3-0. Seattle then put the clamps down on Vancouver and rode out a three-goal win. Vancouver seemed to never have a chance after the first goal by Seattle.

Man of the Match

Jordan Morris won the Man of the Match honors, as Seattle now has to wait to see if they will finish in second or third place as Chicago and Vancouver still need to play each other to finish play in Group B.

What Comes next?

Now that all teams have played at least two matches, we will shift our focus to how the groups finish. Group A concluded last night, and Group C does today. Be sure to check Philly Sports Network for recaps on the groups, who will be moving on, and who will be going home!

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