The MLS schedule regular season is coming to a close, and the MLS Cup Playoffs are getting closer. In 2019 the playoffs are changing, with 14 teams up from 12 in 2018. Plus, a single knockout format that will make things more exciting.
The Eastern Conference is set with seven teams having clinched a playoff spot. In the Western Conference, five teams already secured their place in the playoffs, and another four are fighting for the two remaining spots. This and more, in MLS week 30.
Colorado Rapids 3 – 0 FC Dallas
Colorado goalkeeper Tim Howard stood in the Rapids’ goal for one last time on Sunday. Howard went in style, helping his team maintain the lead with three stops, and a crucial save when the Rapids were still leading by 1.
Visitors Dallas FC sit above the playoff line, ranked 7th in the Western Conference, above 9th-placed Colorado. Jack Price scored his first MLS goal and brought the hosts up to an early lead (10’).
In the first half stoppage time, Diego Rubio doubled the Rapids’ lead by converting a free kick (45+4’).
After dominating most of the match, Colorado’s Kei Kamara launched together with Nicolas Mezquida a counterattack give-and-go. He scored for the hosts their third goal of the night (72’).
Colorado still has some playoff hopes remaining but will need to win against LAFC next Sunday to keep these hopes alive.
LA Galaxy 3 – 4 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Yeah, the Galaxy did already clinch their playoff seat and are ranked comfortably in fourth place in the West. Still, a home loss like the one on Sunday to bottom of the table Vancouver Whitecaps was definitely not in Galaxy’s plans.
Vancouver’s Doneli Henry got to a corner kick delivery and scored the first goal of the match (20’). Minutes later, Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalized with a Christian Pavon assist (23’). Right before halftime, Whitecaps Theo Bair took a loose ball inside LA’s box, scored and put his team up front again (41’).
Goals kept on coming, with Galaxy’s Urial Antuna chipping a ball into the guests’ net (58’). Then, Whitecaps Tosaint Ricketts scored into LA’s bottom corner. It did seem as if the hosts will win, with a late goal by LA substitute Chris Pontius (86’).
However, this crazy night finished with the Galaxy loosening up their defense a few minutes earlier than the whistle. They paid for it a heavy price – giving the guests’ Fredy Montero plenty of room to sail through, setting up the winning goal for Michaell Chirinos (90+3’).
LA Galaxy will have to take this inconsistency into account and think about it long and hard in preparation for the playoffs. Vancouver Whitecaps took this win as a nice ending for a long and frustrating season.
Minnesota United FC 1 – 1 LAFC
Minnesota United hosted on Sunday Los Angeles FC for a meeting between the two top teams of the Western Conference.
Both top the table, LAFC and runner up Minnesota are seeded high in the playoffs. Their tight competition kept going on Sunday, with a tie scored within a late, five-minute window.
LA’s Carlos Vela scored the first goal of the match (70’), curling a left-footed kick into the far corner of Minnesota’s goal.
This is Vela’s 31st goal of the year, tying him with Atlanta’s Josef Martinez for single-season MLS goal record. Minutes later, Minnesota’s Michael Boxall equalized with a header (75’).
More MLS Action
Toronto FC wiped out Chicago Fire’s playoff hopes on Saturday. A 2-2 tie eliminated Chicago and leaves the Canadians in the playoffs.
In an Eastern Conference bottom faceoff, eleventh-placed Orlando City FC met twelfth and last place FC Cincinnati. The 1-1 tie wasn’t enough for Orlando to keep in the race for the postseason. Both teams are out of the playoffs.
Coming into their Saturday match already eliminated from the playoffs, Columbus Crew managed to put a dent into Philadelphia Union’s season joy. A 2-0 victory for the Crew ends the Union’s hope for a top seed at the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Eastern Conference second-placed Atlanta United FC visited on Saturday Montreal Impact who are ranked ninth. The meeting ended with a 1-1 draw.
The top and bottom seeds for the Eastern Conference playoffs met on Saturday. Number 7 New England Revolution hosting number 1 NYCFC.
The Revs handed the conference leaders a 2-0 loss. New York still remains the conference leader, due to Philadelphia’s defeat to Columbus.
Two more Eastern Conference playoff-ticket holders met on Saturday. New York Red Bulls hosted D.C. United, ending with a scoreless 0-0 draw.
The New York Red Bulls are placed seventh. D.C. maintains its fourth place on the conference table.
The MLS table gets its last decisions on Sunday, the 6th of October. Stay tuned.