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2019 MLS Cup Playoffs

The single-elimination game of the first round of the MLS playoffs were phenomenal this weekend. Three games went to overtime in an action filled weekend in the league that saw a total of 27 games scored in 6 games. We look at how it unfolded. 

The Champions still stand

Atlanta United move on to the next round and will face Philadelphia Union. The 2018 MLS Cup champions passed the Revs 1-0 thanks to a goal from Escobar at the 70th. Philadelphia Union battled back a 2-0 and then 3-1 deficit at the break to level in regular time at 3-3. Marco Fabian put the final push to complete a phenomenal comeback 4-3. 

Atlanta’s striker Josef Martinez on advancing: 

“It’s not easy to defend a title because every team gives you their best shot. Every team tries to play the game of their life against you. We know it’s not going to be easy. In these games, you have to try to minimize your mistakes. It’s really important in these playoff games. And then you have to take the chances that you’re given.” 

Rooney Ends MLS Story in Shock

Wayne Rooney’s career in the MLS bitterly ended for the former Manchester United and English international. His team D.C United was well in the game at Toronto 1-1 at the end of regular but then impressively collapsed in the overtime. The team from the capital conceded 4 goals to crush Rooney’s dream at a MLS title. 

D.C. coach, Ben Olsen, on the collapse: 

“It’s hard to process that. A lot of emotion to tie it up there late. We played what I thought was a pretty good game, better chances than them really in regular time…didn’t put them away. And then early in the overtime you give up two goals and the wheels come off. They came out with a better mentality after the break, they punished us for it.”

 

Best Player on the Pitch: Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs. Carlos Vela

LAFC had a bye week after winning the Western Conference and best record in the league. LA Galaxy traveled to Minnesota and won 2-1 despite a later surge for the locals. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will now have a chance to square the rivalry off with the El Trafico showdown.

Ibrahimovic comments on his first ever MLS Playoff match:

“It was a difficult game, it was a different game, more physical and more sacrifice”. Goals from Lletget and Dos Santos sent the Galaxy to the semifinals.