The teams is Group C were all competitive and all had a chance to stake their case to win the group. DC United, Montreal Impact, New England Revolution and Toronto FC fought it out to make it to the knockout rounds of the MLS is Back Tournament, but who secured the top two spots and would the third place team make a wildcard spot?
Toronto FC: 5 Points
Toronto FC were the favorites in this group, and they did just enough to win the group. After letting DC United take away their lead in their first match, they buried their rivals Montreal in their second. In a final decisive match, TFC needed a win or draw over New England. They secured a scoreless draw and took first place.
While there have been question marks surrounding Toronto’s defense, their attack has been stellar. Ayo Akinola has scored five goals in three matches and with the creative midfielders Alejandro Pozuelo and Pablo Piatti behind him, he and TFC could make a run in win-or-go-home matches.
New England Revolution: 5 Points
New England Revolution has looked both legitimate and underachieving under Bruce Arena. The Revs have put together a team with a lot of talent, but they have not been able to find results in this tournament that instill much confidence. New England beat Montreal one-to-nothing, Drew DC United one-to-one, and then settled for a goalless draw against Toronto. Scoring only two goals with the attackers they have is not great, but their organization and stopping opposition has been stellar.
New England secured second place, but will likely be without playmaker Carles Gil who was seen in a boot and unavailable for the Revs last match. Can this team rise and be a legitimate threat or continue to underachieve as they have over the last few years?
Montreal Impact: 3 Points
The Montreal Impact under head coach Thierry Henry started the 2020 season well, and looked to ride that wave into the MLS is Back Tournament. It was clear that this side had some rust that needed to be shaken off. They started the tournament by losing to New England, then receiving a beat down by their rivals Toronto. Coming into their last match of the group stage, they needed a win to keep their hopes of making knockout round alive. Montreal pulled things together to get a win to knockout DC and put the Impact in wildcard contention.
After some matches finished in Group D, Montreal’s lone-win was enough to push them through to a wildcard spot. The Impact now has new life in a one-off match against the Group A winner Orlando City SC.
DC United: 2 Points
DC United had a rocky group stage in the MLS is Back Tournament. They fought hard in their first match to salvage a draw with Toronto in their first match, played to a tough draw against New England, and then came out flat in a decisive match against Montreal. DC had a chance to build off a good 2019 season in 2020. The pandemic break has seemed to slow things a bit for DC. Only taking two points over three matches does not look great.
DC United are mathematically eliminated from the knockout stages of the MLS is Back Tournament. Now they have time to revamp and improve for when the MLS regular season starts back up in the coming months.
On to the Knockout Rounds
As winners of Group C, Toronto will face off against a third-place wildcard team from either Groups A, B or F. New England coming in second means they will take on the second-place team from Group A Philadelphia Union. Montreal Impact took third place in the group, and because of results in other groups they clinched a wildcard spot and will take on the first-place winners from Group A, Montreal Impact.
We’ll have more breakdowns of the other groups that have finished later; stay tuned!
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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports