Chicago 2 – Seattle 1
New York City FC 1 – Orlando City 3
Philadelphia 2 – Inter Miami 1
Today was the first day that we were able to see teams play a second game and two tickets were already punched to the knockout stage of the tournament. Orlando City and Philadelphia have guaranteed that they will finish in the top two of Group A. All that remains is the matchup to see who will finish first in the group. Meanwhile, Seattle has a tall task ahead if they’re going to make the knockout stage.
Game 1: Chicago vs. Seattle
Chicago finally had their first game as they had to be moved to group B with FC Dallas and Nashville’s departure from the tournament. This group is a little bit weird standings wise as Seattle has already played 2 games while Vancouver has yet to even play their first.
Chicago Fire: B
I’m not sure if they were lucky, or just played their style to perfection, but Chicago was able to outplay Seattle with only 39% possession and a mediocre passing accuracy. Chicago likes to play this style of game, but normally a team like Seattle can pick that apart. When Chicago was able to get possession in Seattle’s third they usually got either a shot on target or a corner kick out of it. Jumping out to an early group lead will make Chicago very happy but there’s a long way to go to finish on top.
Seattle Sounders: C-
The goal was great. Other than that, Seattle has not put together a strong showing at all so far in this tournament. It seems like they are working some things out but these games count toward the regular season standings so they can’t afford to leave here with only 1 point. That means they are going to have to beat a Vancouver team that we have yet to see at MLS is Back. Jordan Morris came on at halftime and was able to provide the spark needed to get Seattle in gear, but they gave away the momentum and the points near the end of the game when they seemed to still be out of match fitness.
Man of the Match: Mauricio Pineda
The Chicago defender scored his first goal as a professional and it was the one that sent Chicago through to the victory. Pineda made a great far post run on a corner kick and was in the right place to score a great half-volley shot when the ball somehow got through everyone else.
Game 2: New York City FC vs. Orlando
Both of these teams were playing their second game of the group stage and NYCFC really needed a win. Sadly that didn’t happen and they now have four losses in their 2020 campaign dating back to before the stoppage of play in March.
NYCFC didn’t really play a bad game at all. They had 26 shots and 13 corner kicks. The problem for them was that they couldn’t get the ball into the back of the net. They also didn’t seem as hungry on the defensive end and were unable to stop Orlando from getting goals early. With 0 points through 4 games in the season it’s looking very bleak for NYCFC, but I’m not willing to write them off just yet. If they somehow lose to Inter Miami in their next game then I’ll be ready to call it.
Orlando City: B+
Orlando looked to improve on a relatively weak opening game where they kind of lucked out to be playing Miami. This game they played like the better team throughout and allowed their studs to shine while staying strong on the defensive end. With two wins in the group and only one game remaining, Orlando has assured themselves a spot in the knockout stages. They will want more though as Philadelphia hasn’t looked like world beaters themselves.
Man of the Match: Chris Mueller
I mentioned last game that I wanted to give the match ball to Mueller but just couldn’t with Nani scoring the game winner. Well Mueller took care of that problem today as he scored twice and made sure he was going to be in this spot. Orlando is putting trust in him to be a shooter and so far in this tournament he has delivered on that trust.
Game 3: Philadelphia Union vs Inter Miami
The last game of the night saw Miami have a legitimate shot at taking their first point of the season, but at least they’re ahead of NYCFC on goal differential.
Philadelphia were surprisingly outplayed by Miami in this one, but they are a tough team and they know how to get scrappy wins. Kai Wagner put them up before anyone was settled into the game, and that goal went a little bit forgotten as far as the gameplay and momentum went. Philadelphia has somehow pulled 6 points out of their first two group stage games and will be facing Orlando for a chance to come out on top, but they will need to play a lot better if they are going to win this entire tournament. Luckily for them, they have the talent to get there once they get into game shape.
Inter Miami: B-
This was the best game that I have seen Miami play, granted they only have four games in the lifetime of the team. They controlled the possession and were able to get plenty of crosses into the box throughout the night. Sadly, they still aren’t sure what to do with those crosses and their defense is very much lacking. On the bright side, they will be happy to be able to face another winless team in NYCFC which will give them their best shot (until they play Cincinnati) to get themselves a win.
Man of the Match: Kacper Przybylko
Part of me making this selection is that Przybylko scored a great counter-attack goal that proved to be the game winner. The other part was being able to smirk to myself as I think about you trying to read this name in your head and having no clue how to pronounce it. But funny name aside, Przybylko made a great run on the counter-attack and had the intelligence to cut the ball back at the top of the box and make a beautiful strike that ended up in the back of the net.