Sporting Kansas City 1 – Minnesota United 2
Real Salt Lake 2 – Colorado 0
Well I promised that the weekend would bring fireworks, didn’t I? I’m pretty sure today’s shenanigans count. The first use of VAR in the tournament, a goalie red card, the first own goal in the tournament, and a 97 minute winner. Oh yeah, and that was all in the same game. We didn’t even get to see Toronto vs DC United yet, hopefully tomorrow.
Sporting Kansas City: B
This is the first time this tournament that we saw the better team lose the game. SKC played great for 70 minutes before Tim Melia earned a red card. Khiry Shelton had an easy time on his goal in the 43rd minute as Tyler Miller decided to jump the non-existent cross while Shelton was still dribbling, so he just put the ball near post for the easy goal. Sadly for him, he gave that goal back 50 minutes later as SKC was scrambling to try to get the win with only ten men. It really wasn’t Shelton’s fault, but a very unfortunate circumstance. That would have been fine for SKC to only get a point out of this game, but in the 97th minute, Minnesota was able to score one more and steal the full three points away from SKC’s grasp.
Minnesota United: B-
Minnesota were doing everything they could to try to keep up with SKC and thought they had tied it with a goal that was taken back after VAR deemed them offside. It looked as if the Loons might not even be able to salvage anything with the man advantage until seven extra minutes were added to the end of the game. First, they were lucky that a cross bounced off of Khiry Shelton and into the net to tie. After that, they kept the pressure on constantly and were able to set Kevin Molinoup with a nice goal in the 97th minute to snatch away three points from a tough team and set themselves up nicely to get out of the group.
Man of the Match: Kevin Molino
Kevin Molino may have an unfair advantage in this tournament as he is familiar with playing in Disney’s Wide World of Sports. Molino was a two time USL Pro MVP for Orlando City before they became an MLS team. In 2014, Orlando had to play in the Wide World of Sports because of renovations to their stadium. He continued that MVP form tonight as he netted the winner to boost Minnesota to victory.
The late game of the night was the “Rocky Mountain Rivalry” and much like “Hell is Real” in Ohio, one team just isn’t up to par with the other. Real Salt Lake is a better team than Colorado right now and the game followed suit.
Real Salt Lake: B+
RSL never seemed to have any moments of uncertainty in the game tonight. Part of that is certainly that Colorado is simply not a good soccer team, but you have to give RSL credit for taking care of business. Truthfully, this should have been a bigger win for them but they missed a PK. Still, they will be very happy to sit atop the leaderboard of Group D.
Colorado Rapids: D+
Colorado should be thankful that Cincinnati has already played in this tournament or many fans would probably call them the worst team in the tournament. Nothing clicked for them. Kei Kamara was non-existent for the entire game and everyone was just slower to the ball than RSL was. Their grade here was redeemed by Clint Irwin for a nice PK block, but then he allowed a pretty simple goal in the second half that put the game out of reach. My guess is they’ll be all but eliminated Friday night by Sporting Kansas City if we end up making it that far.
Man of the Match: Damir Kreilach
The Croatian midfielder for Real Salt Lake doesn’t normally score a lot of goals, but he always seems to be in the middle of a play. Well tonight he scored a goal and it was the one that really put this game out of reach. Albert Rusnak would have been MOTM if only he didn’t miss a penalty kick…
All in all, this was definitely the most fun night of the tournament, even despite the fact that Colorado sucked a full load of rocky mountain oysters. Hopefully the best is yet to come as tomorrow night is finally the night that group F kicks off with LAFC and Houston followed by the team that likes to try to convince viewers that they are also in LA going up against Portland.