MLS is Back Tournament Quarterfinals Round-up
The MLS tournament favorites are out following the quarterfinal stage. Orlando City SC battled and prevailed over LAFC on penalties 1-1 (5-4) thanks to the winning penalty from Nani.
San Jose Earthquakes exploded against Minnesota United FC 1-4. As it stands the odds favor the home team Orlando City to take the trophy.
Orlando outlast LAFC
Orlando City SC won the biggest game in club’s history when they eliminated LAFC from the MLS is Back Tournament during the penalty shootouts. The former Manchester United star, Nani, converted the winning penalty to send his club to the semis in search of first silverware glory.
Coach Pareja comments on the win against all odds:
“We want to be protagonists, doesn’t really matter who we’re up against. We knew that they had a great team, they have very good forwards and midfielders.
But we also knew that we had great energy, starting with our front line, and pressing them from the get-go, because yeah, we are trying to make a statement here. We are trying to show the other teams that we’re coming out here to play, and to impose our game on them.
At the end players are the ones who make the things happen on the field, and they deserve it. They know that this is another step. We haven’t gained anything yet. But we played against a very good team. He has done a great job, Bob, and we respect that. But today we wanted to be protagonist, and they did.”
Minnesota United do not hide behind success
SJ Earthquakes were coming to the quarterfinal with a load of confidence beating down RSL 5-2. They were quickly down with back-to-back goals in just 2 minutes (20′, 21′). SJ then got back into the game but MUFC will net another two goals to seal their win onto the semis. Since MLS tournament favorites are out, MUFC have a shot to win it all.
Coach Heath has some words for doubters:
“I’ve probably got more faith in this group than anybody else, certainly more than you press people everywhere else, who continually seem to think that we struggle to get through.
Maybe I like them more than most because I work with them every single day. But I’m not the expert, you guys are the experts. I’ve only been doing it for 44 years.
We’re just trying to work hard for the person next to us. We’re all fighting for the common goal to win games, and we’ve done a good job of building good relationships and building team chemistry, so that always helps.
Now the expansion team can claim a piece of silverware in just their third season.
Portland and Philadelphia to battle first final spot
Portland overcame NYCFC in a come from behind victory 3-1. NYCFC went up in the first half at the 27th minute but the Timbers got back into the tie right before half-time. A dominant second half display earned two more goals for the Timbers and punched their ticket onto the semis.
Philadelphia Union outplayed Sporting Kansas in a great first half showdown scoring three goals in the first 40 minutes. The Union and Timbers are two favorites to win it all and will meet in the semis.
The MLS is back tournament has been a success as we come down to the final four teams seeking glory in Orlando.