MLS is Back Tournament Recap 7/17/20!

D.C. United 1 – New England 1

Sporting Kansas City 3 – Colorado 2

Real Salt Lake 0 – Minnesota 0

Tonight was the first night that there were two games on at the same time, so Producer Seal and I decided to split up the watching and Seal got the exciting game… Such is life sometimes. The games were pretty competitive at least, and they really have been the entire tournament so far. Hopefully this keeps up.

Game 1:

D.C. United and New England both really wanted to get points out of this game, but it was pretty imperative for D.C. to come away with something.  This group is still up in the air aside from Montreal officially being unable to finish top 2.

D.C. United: C

Neither team had any energy in the first half of this game and it went to halftime at 0-0. D.C. came out in the second half but still couldn’t stay at the level of New England. That was, of course, until the 69th minute when they decided to bring in Federico Higuain. For a second straight game, Higuain came in and gave them the spark needed to get away with a point.

New England: C

This was a pretty even game all around. A few of New England’s numbers look a little better than D.C. but I wasn’t quite able to give them any higher of a grade. However, they are set up with a chance to get a win against Toronto in the next game and move on as the winners of the group.

Man of the Match: Federico Higuain

For the second straight D.C. United game, Higuain comes out of it with my man of the match. He’s really been the only bright spot for D.C. even though he hasn’t played that many minutes. As he continues to round into form he should be able to play more minutes and help D.C. to more wins.

Game 2:

This game was presumed to bring the fireworks and it did just that with the help from a pair of red cards. An aggressively fought match the whole game turned chippy in the ending minutes and made for quite a finish in this one!

Kansas City: B-

Sporting KC didn’t do a whole lot in this match up to the first red card. Even though they were able to maintain possession for most of the first half and had a couple great looks, they weren’t able to find the net. Much of the same story to start the second half minus giving up the early goal. It looked as if Colorado had a lock on the goal and SKC didn’t know the password. This password was obviously on the red card given to Danny Wilson after VAR in the 61’. Scoring two goals, in 11 minutes after the red card, SKC never looked back. With another win next match against Real Salt Lake, SKC can secure an extended stay in the bubble.

Colorado: C

It was all looking so great for Colorado. They were handling the tough attack of SKC with great sliding takeaways and clear outs. Defending their lead perfectly in set pieces and checking every man at all times. And then it all came crashing down on a very subjective call that VAR turned a yellow card into a red card. Within minutes their 1-0 was flipped to 1-2 and they couldn’t seem to keep their composure as Jack Price received the second red card in 12 minutes. Down two men, Colorado was able to find the equalizer. But in the end 9 players wasn’t enough to stop the repeated attacks. The Rapids had a great game plan and were executing it perfectly on the way to three points, and then the wheels fell off. Colorado looks to bounce back and spoil a chance for Minnesota to make it to the knockout stage. 

Man of the Match: Graham Zusi

Not only did Zusi secure the victory with the winning goal in stoppage time, he was all over the field tonight denying countless attacks from Colorado. In a tournament that had seen a lot of fatigue late in matches, Zusi didn’t seem to lose much steam as the match came to a close. In a match to control your own destiny, Graham Zusi took full control in every aspect.

Game 3:

Another game with lack of scoring, but not without lack of skill. Both of these teams were playing at a high level and knew that they only needed a draw to be in a good spot to make it out of the group.

Real Salt Lake: B

Real Salt Lake has had a pretty impressive start to this tournament for me. They have held their structure well and controlled possession tonight against a very good team. They just need to figure out how to get the ball into the back of the net. RSL has a huge matchup next game against Sporting Kansas City where they will need at least a point to finish in the top two of the group. Even without a win against SKC, this group looks like it will bring three teams to the knockout stage.

Minnesota United: B-

This was a very evenly played game, but one that only true soccer fans can enjoy as it finished without a goal. Minnesota looked like a team that understood that all they needed was a single point with Colorado looming ahead of them. They should certainly feel good about their chances of making it to the knockout stage. This was really a tale of styles clashing in such a way that provides a slow moving scoreless draw. Much like RSL, Minnesota will look at ways they could have done better to get the ball into the back of the net but will ultimately be happy with this game.

Man of the Match: Tyler Miller

This was really a toss-up for man of the match as neither keeper was really tested in keeping their clean sheet. I decided to give it to Miller because he stayed a little more active than Zac MacMath. Although MacMath had one more save, Miller had to deal with more crosses and did well to punch a couple of balls away from danger areas.

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