Toronto FC 1 – New York City FC 3
Sporting Kansas City 0(3) – Vancouver 0(1)
Today we saw two more teams head through to the knockout stage. We also saw our first game go to penalty kicks. A couple of surprising games led to an exciting day of soccer.
This game was the first time we saw offensive fireworks in the group stage. Too bad it was just one team in this lopsided game. NYCFC were much more efficient than Toronto and moved on to the quarterfinals.
Toronto FC: C-
Toronto was able to outpossess and outshoot NYCFC, but only two of their shots ended up on target. Their play wasn’t all that bad but if you can’t make the keeper work, you’re going to have a bad time. Toronto will be happy to take their regular season points earned from the group stage and go home.
New York played a great game. They took advantage of nearly every Toronto mistake and were able to put seven shots on target. When you’re able to test the keeper that often, usually good things will come of it. NYCFC were able to score in the 5th minute and were able to cruise to a victory after that. They will face Philadelphia in the next round on Thursday.
Man of the Match: Maximiliano Moralez
Maxi Moralez was the spark of life that NYCFC needed after a pretty lackluster group stage saw them sneak in as one of the final wildcard teams. He was able to get a goal and an assist in this one and helped see the blues through to the quarterfinals. They will hope that he can continue to give this kind of effort for the rest of the tournament.
We got to see what happens when a team finishes tied after 90 minutes. It goes straight to penalty kicks. There is no extra time in the MLS is Back Tournament. This definitely gives underdog teams like Vancouver the chance to just hang in there and steal a win. It didn’t work out for Vancouver though.
Sporting Kansas City: A-
SKC played a fantastic game. They were far and away the better team today but couldn’t put it away until the very end. They constantly kept pressure on Vancouver and were able to tally up 36 total shots, 8 of which were on target. However, Thomas Hasal was able to save all 8 of them. If SKC continues playing this way, they will be a tough out.
Vancouver clearly played the underdog strategy in this one and it nearly worked. All they wanted to do was keep this game 0-0 so that they had a chance to win in PKs. Hasal did everything he could to make it end that way and even saved one of the KC penalty kicks, but his offense did absolutely nothing to help.
Man of the Match: Tim Melia
Melia saved nearly everything that came his way, including penalty kicks. He only allowed one of the four Vancouver PKs past him and was the only reason that SKC is moving on.