The MLS Cup 2019 is heating up, with Friday big game putting the Los Angeles rivals one against the other. In a match with 8 goals, it was Carlos Vela’s team who got the ticker to the Conference final.
LAFC will face Seattle Sounders, who defeated Real Salt Lake. In the East Conference final, the reigning champions Atlanta United will face the former winners Toronto FC.
Check out the current brackets and our highlights of the Conference semifinals matches.
LAFC 5 – 3 LA Galaxy
The Los Angeles Derby, better known as El Trafico, went head-to-head between LAFC’s Carlos Vela (with the MLS-record 34 goals this season), and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (with 30).
Carlos Vela put LAFC up front early with a cross from Diego Rossi (16’). Vela went on to double his team’s lead with an assist from Brian Rodriguez later in the first half (40’).
A minute later, Ibrahimovic passed to Cristian Pavon, who scored the Galaxy’s first goal (41’). Ibrahimovic then equalized with his own, scoring off an error by LAFC’s goalkeeper Tyler Miller (55’).
Carlos Vela cooked an assist for Diego Rossi who again put LAFC in the lead (66’), and two minutes later Rossi sent a cross to Adama Diomande who doubled LAFC’s lead (68’).
Galaxy’s Rolf Feltscher took a ball off a free-kick and headed it in from close range (77’). But by then the night and 2019 playoffs belonged to LAFC, with Adama Diomande’s great finish for LAFC’s fifth and final goal of the match (80’).
LAFC will host Seattle Sounders for the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday, October 30th.
NYCFC 1 – 2 Toronto FC
In the 2016 MLS Audi Cup Playoffs, Toronto beat young NYCYC 7-0 on aggregate (2-0 at home and 5-0 in New York).
Again in 2019, Toronto FC knocked New York FC out of the playoffs. Although having the home-field advantage in Yankee Stadium, and coming as the #1 seed in the East (Toronto being #4), the hosts let the Canadians clinch a spot in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals.
Toronto was the better team in the first half, still, New York’s goalkeeper Sean Johnson made four saves and kept a clean sheet until halftime.
Early in the second half, Toronto’s Alejandro Pozuelo lowered to the ground a header by New York’s Maxime Chanot’s and kicked to score the first goal of the match (47’).
NYCFC’s Ismael Tajouri-Shradi tied with an assist from Maxi Moralez (69’). But in the dying minutes, NYC’s Ronald Matarrita took down Toronto’s Richie Laryea in the box, and a late penalty was given to Toronto. Alejandro Puzuelo converted it to a late winner (90’).
Toronto faces MLS defending champions Atlanta FC in the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday, October 31st.
Atlanta United FC 2 – 0 Philadelphia Union
Philadelphia Union won its’ first-ever playoff match last week against the New York Red Bulls. However, the Union traveled to meet the defending champions, Atlanta United FC at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Friday, where Philly’s 2019 season came to an end.
Atlanta’s German midfielder Julian Gressel scored the first goal of the match, curling the ball over Philly’s keeper Andre Blake who came out too early for the challenge (10’).
The Union almost equalized, but Philadelphia’s Brenden Aaronson was denied by Atlanta’s goalkeeper Brad Guzan (16’). A double save from Andre Blake kept Philadelphia alive for about an hour into the game. But in the end, it was Atlanta’s Gressel’s to assist Josef Martinez who scored the insurance goal and sent the hosts to the conference finals.
Atlanta United FC will host Toronto FC for the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday, October 30th.
Seattle Sounders 2 – 0 Real Salt Lake
Seattle Sounders hosted Real Salt Lake in CenturyLink Field for the MLS Western Conference semi-finals.
This was the farewell game of RSL’s goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who retired after 17 years in the MLS. Rimando managed to keep his team alive for just over the first hour of the match, constantly battling the Sounders’ attempts, and making seven saves in his last game.
But then Seattle found Rimando’s net when Gustav Svensson headed in a ball from Nicolas Lodeiro’s corner kick (64’). Lodeiro then doubled the Sounders’ lead later (81’).
Frustration did get through to some of the visitors, and Real’s midfielder Everton Luiz was shown a red card and sent off for a foul on Gustav Svensson.
Seattle will travel to LAFC for the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday, October 30th.