Chicago 0 – San Jose 2
Seattle 3 – Vancouver 0
Tonight’s games saw the first team to clinch the number one spot in their respective group and it was a rather surprising one for me. Group B is not quite finished as Chicago moving into the group means that they still have one more game against Vancouver, but the top of the group is locked in and we will know exactly what is at stake when they take the field on Thursday.
Chicago coming into Group B with three western teams was expected to throw a wrench in the gameplans of every team as they see the Eastern team far less than they see each other, but San Jose was more than up to the task.
Chicago Fire: F
Chicago did not show up ready to play tonight and it showed. They did nothing right at all and that’s why they received the first “F” of the tournament. They were thoroughly outplayed in every aspect of the game. They had more goals allowed (2) than they had saves (1), and that is never a formula for a win. Somehow, despite this game, they can still advance out of this group in the second spot if they can find a way to beat an equally bad Vancouver team.
San Jose Earthquakes: A
What just happened? San Jose is not supposed to be a team that others should fear. I was in attendance for both of their LAFC games last season where they were outscored by a total of 9-0. However, the team they brought to this tournament has other plans in mind as they are totally buying into what Matias Almeyda is preaching to them. This is a much faster turnaround than I expected from them but if they can keep this up, they’re a real threat to win this entire tournament.
Man of the Match: Christian Espinoza
There weren’t a ton of moments to choose from, but a brilliant run from Espinoza was more than enough as it gave the Earthquakes a lead that they would never relinquish. Espinoza made a beautiful touch to center it on his left foot and fired a laser that the keeper could only watch as it hit the back on the net.
Seattle was the other Group B team that was finishing up their games today and they did everything that they needed to in order to almost assure themselves a spot in the knockout round. Vancouver… did not
Seattle Sounders: B+
I believe that a bit of an apology is in order for some of the words I said following Seattle’s game against San Jose. Seattle showed this game what they are capable of doing against an inferior team. Their passing needs to get a bit better, but this was dominated on every front as Seattle looked to advance to the knockout stage. Because of their positive goal differential, Chicago can only jump them with a win against Vancouver and, even then, Seattle should be one of the wild card teams.
Vancouver Whitecaps: D-
Another game and another big loss for Vancouver. They held possession of the ball but never pressured Seattle and never tested Stefan Frei. Simply put, Vancouver needs to make a lot of adjustments and they need to do it quickly as their game against Chicago will count toward the season standings. I doubt that they’ll do enough to advance as a wildcard team.
Man of the Match: Jordan Morris
It’s a bit of an odd night since there were two shutouts yet neither keeper won man of the match, but the keepers just weren’t tested at all. It came down to Lodeiro and Morris, who both had a goal and an assist, but Morris was the best player on the field the entire game. He was able to get clear time and time again to get shots for himself and others. If he plays this way, Seattle are tough to beat.