The day the decision was made brought his part of the drama with it.
Philadelphia Union won the Fan Shield, the first trophy in their history, and defeated the New England Revolution 2-0. At the other end of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Montreal Impact and Inter Miami won to earn silver in the generously expanded playoffs. In the West it was the Final Draw, but Jorge Villafana’s goal, scored by Portland Timbers, condemned the LAFK not only to a draw, but also to a delightful first-round tie against Seattle Saunders.
But let’s not go too far. There are 18 playoffs and everyone will feel like they have a chance to win the MLS Cup. But to paraphrase George Orwell, some are more equal than others.
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Why they all won: In a nutshell: Balance. Half a dozen players in the Union can contribute to the attack, from Casper Przybylko, Branden Aaronson, Sergio Santos and Anthony Fontana to the super submarine Ilsinho. And in Jose Martinez, Philadelphia, there’s a midfielder who can defend himself. A breakthrough in the protective shield of the fans will also give them a lot of self-confidence.
Why they could have gone home early: Despite all their success this season, the union is not the most talented team in the playoffs, which could make them vulnerable in the uniqueness of the post-season. And although goalkeeper Matt Freeze did well in the season finale, losing Andre Blake with a broken arm is a heavy loss, even though he could have come back.
Why they all won: The TFC certainly has the pedigree of the championship, the result of three performances in the MLS Cup finals and a balance between front and back. They also have the MVP candidate Alejandro Pacelo as the winner of the competition that can lead the team to the title.
Why they could have gone home early: The Reds are a bit carried away and while Josie Altidor is about to fully recover, Pablo Piatti, Justin Morrow and Marky Delgado are even further back. Toronto in particular needs Piatti in top form to make this valuable second choice attack for Pozuelo possible.
Why they all won: SKC is as hot as any team entering the play-offs, having been 6-1-1 in the last eight games. Johnny Russell is very strong in attack with six goals and four assists, while Gianluca Busio has come to his senses this year. The Roberto Punchek-led spiral line is also fixed.
Why they could have gone home early: Striker Alan Pulido’s health deteriorated significantly after a sprain prior to the regular season finale against Real Salt Lake. SKC 8-3-1 if it plays and 4-3-2 if it doesn’t play The last punch doesn’t collapse, but to dive in low season, the GKZ has to perform its PD.
Why they all won: Two MLS Cups in the last four years means that this site is used for printing the playoffs. Raoul Rudias and Jordan Morris are in great shape and the defense has improved over the season. There is, of course, the superiority of Nicolas Lodeiro, who tends to increase in low season.
Why they could have gone home early: If you think the shape will play a role in the end-season games, the inconsistent play of the Sounders – 2-2-3 in the past seven years, which has cost them a shot at the shield of the fans – raises the eyebrows. The lack of an international window and the resulting quarantine may mean that Seattle misses top players like Gustav Svensson and Javier Arreaga.
Why they all won: The attack of the Timbers this season has been remarkable and will remain so even without striker Jaroslav Nezgoda, who broke his ACL. Diego Valerie is getting older and Jeremy Ebobiss and Felipe Mora are more than capable of reaching their goals. Portland has been a productive set with 10 goals of Death Ball situations during the season.
Why they could have gone home early: Doubts remain about Portland’s defence capabilities. The setup was inconsistent and the tendency of the whole team to cough in the final moments did not inspire complete confidence.
Why they all won: It’s a team looking forward to its first post-season. Many things revolve around Mauricio Pereira’s playwright. When he’s free – like recently, when he wasn’t suspended for receiving yellow cards – Orlando clears out with Nani and Chris Mueller. Otherwise, the targets will begin to dry up.
Why they could have gone home early: Although Orlando has experienced players like Nani in the team and squad, this is the first time the Lions have reached the finals. Historically, the manager of Oscar Paray tends to rethink things out of season and make changes in tactics and composition. Lviv fans hope he’s learned from past mistakes.
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Nashville scored Orlando City 3-2 late, which means the Lions are in fourth place. Search for MLS on ESPN+.
Why they all won: There is a lot of talent in this area, with Darlington Nagbe, Lucas Zelarayan and Jassy Zardes all being able to mobilize the team. Eloy’s goalkeeper also looks lively lately and can make the difference between a deep run and an early exit. Arthur was a rather underestimated asset in midfield defense.
Why they could have gone home early: Columbus is simply not as unstable as at the beginning of the season, with injuries to Nagbe and Zelarayan disrupting the rhythm of the team. But even after their recent return, the crew, especially Jonathan Mensa, was not alone. Was the 2-1 victory over FC Atlanta on the day of the decision a mirage, an accident or a sign of what is to come?
Why they all won: No team in the league has more offensive firepower than LAFK, with Diego Rossi, Bradley Wright Phillips and Carlos Vela forming a completely devastating combination. Vela just got back from a knee injury, but the next international break should give her time to get back in shape.
Why they could have gone home early: While the addition of Jesus Murillo’s central back helped, the defence of black and gold has been inconsistent throughout the year, and Bob Bradley seems to be turning his back straight. Kenneth Vermeer’s goalie wasn’t big either. Because LAFK has made a big mistake all year round – only 6-1 – and will have to face the reigning MLS Cup champions Seattle in the first round.
Why they all won: Since the return of Maxi Morales to the team, the Cityzens have been an excellent team in every respect, with Valentin Castellanos helping the NYCFC to score the long-awaited goal. Anton Tinnerholm was a threat on the right flank and goalkeeper Sean Johnson had an excellent season.
Why they could have gone home early: The NYCFC was generally pretty sharp at all stages, but the victory on the Chicago decision day led to some pretty shocking breakthroughs in defense. Of course, the game didn’t mean much to the beginners, but if it isn’t removed, they might consider an early exit.
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Why they all won: With Emanuele Reynoso, Kevin Molino and Robin Lode, the Moons have the same dangerous attacking trident as any other player in the league.
Why they could have gone home sooner: health, or in this case her absence. Ike Opara stays out of the game as he has done most of the season. Osvaldo Alonso also has to fight traumas. Moreover, it remains difficult to make optimal use of the first plan. Striker Kay Kamara has scored only one goal since her arrival at the September sale.
There is a chance outside
Why they all won: The priests seem to be healing at the right moment, and Carls Gil and Gustavo Bow’s forwards have almost returned to full strength. The defensive triumvirate of goaltender Matt Turner and central defenders Andrew Farrell and Henry Kessler has been impressive throughout the season.
Why they could have gone home early: The jealous set parry was of poor quality, and last weekend they spit out another parry (albeit a second stage parry) against Philadelphia. Striker Adam Booksa has shown signs of confidence, but he will have to be even more consistent in the post-season.
Why they all won: An intoxicating mix of youth and experience. Red Bull, for example, has several veteran central defenders in the person of Tim Parker and Aaron Long, as well as central midfielder Sean Davis and offensive midfielder Kaku. They also do it with guys who, if not young, at least don’t have first-team experience, like Drew Godwood and Tom Barlow. But will the youngsters benefit from the fact that the team will probably pick up what we have to lose?
Why they could have gone home early: The youngsters have their limits, especially in the games department, where the chances that Red Bull created at 8am in each game were the second highest among the teams in the playoffs.
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The fate of Tom Barlow and Brian White Seal Toronto in their 2-1 victory over the New York Red Bull. Search for MLS on ESPN+.
Why they all won: Led by center-back Matt Hedges and Reto Ziegler, Dallas has one of the best defenders in MLS with 1.09 goals per game, a good indicator for sixth place in the league. Fafa Pico was one of the few who exceeded all expectations. Same goes for Ryan Hollingshead on the outside.
Why they could have gone home early: When it comes to attacking the team, manager Lucie Gonzalez seems to be constantly trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle that don’t fit together. Is Andres Rickaurte a starting player or the number 10? What is the best position of Jesus Ferreira? Three DP teams – Santiago Mosquera, Brian Acosta and Franco Jara – didn’t quite get the job done during the season.
Why they all won: The recovery of the rapids after the KOVID 19 flash shows the resilience of the team. In addition, a number of key players such as Kathleen Acosta again contributed to the team’s success, and Cole Bassett had a groundbreaking season in Robin Fraser’s three-man midfield. The rapids were also heavy on the road, with five road victories tied to the top places in the championship.
Why they could have gone home early: Given the disturbances caused by VIDOC, it is difficult to say which disturbances are caused by the disturbance and which are more systematic. All this indicates that the rapids are occasionally defended everywhere. It is also questionable whether they have enough quality game in front of them to hit a low shot.
Why they all won: Earthquakes are unpleasant for their rivals. They do this not only because of their human marking system, but also because of their ability to possess the ball and thus tire their opponents. And they have enough quality parts like Jackson Yuey, Christian Espinoza and the timeless Chris Wondolowski to threaten any team.
Why they could have gone home early: If earthquakes are good, they’re very good. But I give you my word, if they’re bad, they’re terrible and they’re probably gonna score at least three goals, if not more. It is unlikely that they will make it to the MLS Cup, but in any case it will be interesting to see.
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A second half with four shots gives Seattle a comfortable victory on the day of the decision. Search for MLS on ESPN+.
Glad to be here
Why they all won: In defense, Nashville has scored one goal this season and the 0.91 goal-per-game clearance is the best in the league. In the playoffs, where the games are usually heavier, it is unlikely that Nashville will ever give up.
Why they could have gone home early: What about the bombing of Nashville? With the addition of forward Johner Cádiz and a completion in the form of Daniel Rios, the NPC has scored three times in the past month. But in that sense, Nashville also had four play periods in which he scored only three times.
Why they all won: This team consists of top players, from Blaise Matuidi to Rodolfo Pizarro and Gonzalo Higuain. Add a winner of the MLS Cup like Leandro Gonzalez Pires, and Lewis Morgan and Miami seem to go a long way in the tournament.
Why they could have gone home early: Miami has struggled to meet expectations in almost every neighborhood. Higuane only had one goal and Matuidi didn’t have as much influence as expected.
Why they all won: Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Washington United showed the resilience of the team, especially as they played at home in the Red Bull Arena due to restrictions imposed by Covid 19. And with Bojan and Romell Kyoto on the ground, they can attack dynamically, especially in times of transition.
Why they could have gone home early: You can’t score at the speed of Montreal (1.83 per game, a draw for the third worst game in the league) and count on being able to dive deep into the playoffs.
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