Group D showed four teams who were competitive with one-another. In the end this team produced three teams to make it to the knockout rounds of the MLS is Back Tournament. Who are those three teams, and who missed their chance to advance?
Sporting Kansas City: 6 Points
Sporting Kansas City ended up winning Group D, but their tournament started off on rocky ground. A 2-1 loss to Minnesota meant that this team would have to dig deep to get climb to the top. SKC rattle off two wins in a row on their way to the top; they beat Colorado 3-2 and Real Salt Lake 2-0. This was enough to claim the top spot of their group, which will be nice for head coach Peter Vermes’
Vermes has said that his team have not played to their full potential, now they will have to elevate their play to make a run in the knockout rounds of this tournament, they will face the wildcard team from Group B in the round of 16!
Minnesota United FC: 5 Points
The Loons had themselves an impressive tournament. Starting off with a win over group favorites Sporting Kansas City, it seemed like Minnesota would be flying high in this tournament. A nil-nil draw against Real Salt Lake followed up with a 2-2 draw against Colorado meant that Minnesota United would finish second in their group, which leads to a tough road ahead.
After finishing in second Minnesota learned their opponent in the knockout rounds would be Columbus Crew. A tough test is ahead of the loons as they make their way to win-or-go-home matches.
Real Salt Lake: 4 Points
RSL had an interesting road in the MLS is Back group stage. A 2-0 win over Colorado had them buzzing, then a scoreless draw knocked them down a bit. Heading into their final group match, they knew a win would set them atop the group; unfortunately, they lost the decisive match to SKC. Real Salt Lake had to settle for third place in the group, but their point total was enough for them to secure a wildcard spot.
Real Salt Lake gets to take on the winner of Group B, San Jose, in the knockout rounds. It should be a fun match, but RSL will have to be at their best to advance!
Colorado Rapids: 1 Point
Colorado were a dark-horse pick for many to win the MLS is Back Tournament. Unfortunately, the Rapids did not live up to that billing. An opening match loss to Salt Lake followed by a loss late loss to SKC meant that Colorado would need help to advance out of the group. With SKC’s win over RSL, Colorado was knocked out of knockout round contention before their last match against Minnesota.
While this is disappointing Colorado will be able to draw on the lessons learned and will have more time to train for the return of the MLS regular season in the coming months.
On to the Knockout Rounds
Group D is the only group to have their first, second and third place teams finish within a point of each other. SKC will face off against the Whitcaps in their knockout round match, Minnestota will play Columbus and RSL take on San Jose. These teams will have their work cut out for them in the knockout rounds,we’l lsee if any make deep runs. Stay tuned for out last group recap, coming out in a few hours.
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Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports