News and notes and statistical trends from around Major League Soccer
WILL HOME FORM HOLD FOR AUDI 2020 MLS CUP PLAYOFFS?
Even in a season unlike any other in Major League Soccer history, teams hosting games in 2020 have made their home field stand up. Now the time has come to parlay that advantage into a possible trip to MLS Cup.
Of the 18 teams that have qualified for the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs, seven have suffered one loss or less in home matches in 2020 – led by the Philadelphia Union, who became the first team in MLS history to go through an entire season undefeated and untied in every one of their home contests, winning all nine of their matches at Subaru Park.
In the first year of a straight single-elimination bracket format last year, the home team advanced in nine of 13 total matchups. That almost perfectly aligned with the historical average of home teams in single-leg ties in the MLS Cup Playoffs over the league’s first 24 seasons, which currently stands at 69.4 percent of host clubs advancing.
RECORD IN HOME GAMES, 2020 REGULAR SEASON (playoff qualifiers)
|Columbus Crew SC||9||1||.900|
|Seattle Sounders FC||7||1||2||.800|
|New York City FC||7||2||.778|
|Orlando City SC||6||1||3||.750|
|Los Angeles FC||7||2||2||.727|
|Inter Miami CF||5||2||2||.667|
|Sporting Kansas City||5||3||1||.611|
|San Jose Earthquakes||4||2||5||.591|
|New York Red Bulls||5||4||1||.550|
|New England Revolution||2||3||5||.450|
Bold: Home teams in Round One
Two teams enter the postseason with active home playoff undefeated streaks of five games of more, including Seattle Sounders FC, who currently hold the all-time MLS record with 13 consecutive home playoff matches without loss.
TEAM HOME UNDEFEATED STREAK LEADERS, POSTSEASON (active only)
|Seattle Sounders FC||13||11/10/2014|
|New England Revolution||5||10/30/2008|
|Real Salt Lake||5||11/7/2013|
|Columbus Crew SC||3||10/31/2017|
ARENA LEADS PLAYOFF-TESTED COACHES INTO 2020 POSTSEASON
Of the top 10 winningest coaches in MLS Cup Playoffs history, four have led their teams to the postseason this year.
Already the winningest coach in MLS postseason history, Bruce Arena will this year become the most experienced playoff coach when his New England Revolution take on the Montréal Impact in the Play-In Round opener of the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs on Friday evening.
The game will be the 51st in charge for Arena in the MLS Cup Playoffs, surpassing Sigi Schmid for the most of any coach in league history. Arena has seen his teams win 32 of the first 50 games at the helm, the all-time leader in postseason coaching victories.
Bob Bradley of Los Angeles Football Club has a chance to move into the top three in playoff wins all-time if he can lead his team to a playoff victory this year. Not far behind is Seattle Sounders FC bench boss Brian Schmetzer, who would move into a tie for third-most postseason wins all-time if his club can defend its MLS Cup title. LAFC and Sounders FC meet in a Round One matchup on Nov. 24 at CenturyLink Field.
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER POSTSEASON COACHING RECORDS
Italic: Coaching in Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs
A PATH TO PLAYOFF WINS? HIT FOR THE OPENING GOAL
Throughout the 2020 season, taking the lead in a match has proven to be a solid recipe for a victory. Of the 18 clubs in the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs, five have gone through the season without losing a single match after scoring the first goal – led by New York City FC, which won all 12 of their matches after scoring first (the 12 victories the club recorded over the 2020 regular season).
That trend proved to be a solid recipe for success a year ago, when 10 of the 13 games in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs were won by the team scoring the opening goal.
RECORD WHEN SCORING FIRST GOAL – 2020 REGULAR SEASON (playoff qualifiers)
|New York City FC||12||1.000|
|Seattle Sounders FC||10||1||.955|
|Columbus Crew SC||12||1||1||.893|
|Sporting Kansas City||10||2||1||.808|
|New England Revolution||7||1||2||.800|
|New York Red Bulls||8||1||3||.792|
|Los Angeles FC||7||2||1||.750|
|Orlando City SC||9||2||4||.733|
|San Jose Earthquakes||4||2||1||.643|
|Inter Miami CF||5||4||1||.550|
AUDI 2020 MLS CUP PLAYOFFS – LOOK AHEAD
E#8 NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION vs. E#9 MONTRÉAL IMPACT
Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
6:30 p.m. ET (FS1 / FOX Deportes, TSN 1 / 4, TVA Sports)
REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. AR1 (bench): Corey Rockwell; AR2 (opposite): Jose da Silva; 4th: Rubiel Vazquez; VAR: Alan Kelly; AVAR: Thomas Supple
MLS Career: 273 games; FC/gm: 23.0; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 43; pens: 86
MLS Cup Playoffs: 24 games; FC/gm: 24.3; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 3; pens: 4
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Impact 10 wins, 34 goals … Revolution 12 wins, 36 goals … Ties 3
AT NEW ENGLAND: Revolution 6 wins, 16 goals … Impact 4 wins, 11 goals … Ties 1
2/29: MTL 2, NE 1 (Quioto 36; Urruti 79 — Bunbury 12)
7/9: NE 1, MTL 0 (Bou 56)
9/23: NE 3, MTL 1 (Kessler 47+; Bou 49; Fagundez 65 — Lappalainen 86)
10/14: MTL 2, NE 3 (Sejdic 27; Tabla 92+ — Manneh 13; Bunbury 20; Buksa 52)
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: First meeting.
- The teams met four times during the regular season, with New England winning three. In the last meeting, Adam Buksa had a goal and an assist as the Revolution took a 3-2 win Oct. 14 at Red Bull Arena. The Revs won the previous two meetings, getting goals from three different players for a 3-1 win Sept. 23 at Gillette Stadium, also meeting in group play in the MLS is Back Tournament as Gustavo Bou scored the game’s only goal on July 9. On Opening Day (Feb. 29) at Olympic Stadium, Teal Bunbury gave the Revolution an early lead, but Romell Quioto and Maxi Urruti scored on either side of halftime to give the Impact the 2-1 win
- The Revolution win in the last meeting in Foxborough ended a two-game Impact winning streak at Gillette Stadium, which had ended a four-game Revolution winning streak there in the series dating back to 2016.
- The Revolution have reached the MLS Cup Playoffs for a second consecutive year, following a three-year postseason lapse. A year ago, they fell 1-0 to Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Round One.
- The Impact are making their return to the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2016,, when they qualified for the second time in club history, in back-to-back seasons. Their last participation in the postseason ended in a dramatic Eastern Conference Championship vs. Toronto FC, the series ending 7-5 on aggregate, the Impact winning 3-2 at home in the first leg before TFC took an incredible 5-2 win in extra time at BMO Field to gain a place in MLS Cup.
- The teams have never before met outside of MLS regular season play.
- The Revolution concluded their 2020 regular season with a 2-0 defeat by the Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park on Decision Day. They were victorious the previous weekend in their final home game, Teal Bunbury scoring two goals in a 4-3 come-from-behind win vs. D.C. United.
- The Impact claimed their berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs in dramatic fashion on Decision Day, overcoming a 2-goal deficit and hauling themselves back into a playoff spot in a 3-2 win at D.C. United. The game ended a three-game losing slide for the Impact.
REVOLUTION: Teal Bunbury, who led the Revolution with eight goals in the 2020 season, is also the club’s current leader in postseason career goals with four. … Revolution head coach Bruce Arena has the most wins in the MLS Cup Playoffs with 32.
IMPACT: Bojan Krkić scored his fourth goal of the season in the Decision Day finale, all four goals coming over the final 10 games of the season. … Romell Quioto scored his eighth goal in the season finale, a single-season career-high in his fourth MLS campaign. Quioto had five goals and five assists over his final 10 appearances, dating back to Sept. 13. Quioto added an assist, his sixth of the season, the fourth in MLS he had a goal and an assist in the same game.
E#7 NASHVILLE SC vs. E#10 INTER MIAMI CF
Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tenn.
8 p.m. CT (ESPN2 / ESPN Deportes, TSN 1 / 4, TVA Sports)
REFEREE: Ismail Elfath. AR1 (bench): Corey Parker; AR2 (opposite): Kyle Atkins; 4th: David Gantar; VAR: Daniel Radford; AVAR: Fabio Tovar
MLS Career: 160 games; FC/gm: 25.7; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 45; pens: 51
MLS Cup Playoffs: 10 games; FC/gm: 27.8; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 2; pens: 1
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Nashville SC 1 win, 1 goal … Inter Miami 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 1
AT NASHVILLE: Nashville SC 1 win, 1 goal … Inter Miami 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0
8/30: NSH 1, MCF 0 (Godoy 53)
9/6: MCF 0, NSH 0
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: First meeting.
- Both teams have qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs in their expansion seasons, the sixth and seventh clubs to reach the postseason in their first year. It’s the first time since 1998 two expansion teams have reached the same postseason; with the teams facing each other, it’s also a guarantee that an expansion team will advance in the playoffs for the first time since the 1998 Chicago Fire, who won MLS Cup.
- The teams met twice during the regular season, a home-and-home series over a week, their first-ever meetings in league play. Anibal Godoy scored the game’s only goal as Nashville SC took the victory Aug. 30 at Nissan Stadium; the teams then reached a goalless draw Sept. 6 in Fort Lauderdale.
- Nashville SC won the final game of their inaugural campaign, defeating Orlando City SC 3-2 at Exploria Stadium behind goals from Daniel Lovitz, Hany Muhktar and Jhonder Cadíz. The match previous, Nashville SC saw their nine-game home undefeated streak put to an end in a loss by the game’s only goal to FC Dallas at Nissan Stadium, which also snapped a five-game undefeated streak overall.
- Inter Miami secured their berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs on Decision Day, defeating FC Cincinnati 2-1 in Fort Lauderdale behind goals from Mikey Ambrose and Leandro González Pirez. Inter Miami CF have a four-game home undefeated streak alive, with wins in three of those.
NASHVILLE SC: Hany Muhktar scored his fourth goal of the season, now with three goals in his last two appearances, after netting a brace Oct. 14. Muhktar also collected an assist, the second time he’s had a goal and an assist in the same game (also Sept. 12). … Jhonder Cadíz scored his second goal in MLS, his first coming Oct. 20. … Daniel Lovitz scored the second goal of his MLS career in seven seasons (146 league appearances), the first coming Aug. 18, 2018 while with the Montréal Impact. … Alex Muyl collected his second assist since his joining Nashville SC via trade, both coming in the last four games.
IMCF: Leandro González Pirez scored his second goal since coming to Inter Miami, both coming in the last four games. … Mikey Ambrose scored the first goal of his MLS career in his fifth season (31 career league appearances). … Lewis Morgan collected his eighth assist of the season, one of five players tied for fifth in the MLS assist standings.
E#4 ORLANDO CITY SC vs. E#5 NEW YORK CITY FC
Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
12 noon ET (UniMás / TUDN, TSN 1 / 4, TVA Sports; FOX 35 Plus; YES)
REFEREE: Allen Chapman. AR1 (bench): Logan Brown; AR2 (opposite): Nick Uranga; 4th: Marcos de Oliveira; VAR: Guido Gonzales Jr.; AVAR: Jozef Batko
MLS Career: 175 games; FC/gm: 22.1; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 44; pens: 75
MLS Cup Playoffs: 10 games; FC/gm: 23.4; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 1; pens: 1
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Orlando City 6 wins, 21 goals … NYCFC 5 wins, 26 goals … Ties 5
AT ORLANDO: Orlando City 3 wins, 9 goals … NYCFC 2 wins, 11 goals … Ties 3
7/14: ORL 3, NYC 1 (Mueller 4, 10; Akindele 81 — Medina 38)
10/14: ORL 1, NYC 1 (Mueller 18 — Parks 43)
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: First meeting.
- Orlando City SC are making their MLS Cup Playoffs debut, in the club’s sixth season of play in Major League Soccer.
- NYCFC have reached the postseason for five consecutive seasons, missing out only in their expansion season of 2015, when they came in along with Orlando City SC. A year ago, NYCFC suffered a loss by the game’s only goal to Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium in the Eastern Conference Semifinals; just once have NYCFC advanced, that in 2018, when they defeated the Philadelphia Union in a wild card match before falling to Atlanta United in the conference semis.
- The teams met twice during the regular season. Chris Mueller scored early for OCSC and Keaton Parks netted after the break for NYCFC, leaving the teams in a 1-1 draw Oct. 14 at Exploria Stadium. The teams met earlier this year in group play in the MLS is Back Tournament, as Mueller scored a pair of goals to lead Orlando City SC to a 3-1 win on July 14.
- The win in the first meeting ended a six-game NYCFC undefeated streak in the league series, the teams reaching draws in their two meetings in 2019 following a four-game NYCFC winning streak. All four wins had come by shutout; the first OCSC goal last year ended a 458-minute shutout streak vs. New York City FC.
- NYCFC has come away with points on their last four trips to Orlando, OCSC last winning at home in the series in 2017.
- Orlando City SC saw a three-game winning run put to an end on Decision Day, falling 3-2 to Nashville SC at Exploria Stadium, their first loss at home in 10 regular-season matches this year.
- NYCFC concluded their campaign with a four-game winning streak, defeating Chicago Fire FC 4-3 at Soldier Field on Decision Day. Valentin Castellanos scored his fourth goal in two games, while Jesús Medina netted his third goal in four matches.
OCSC: Daryl Dike scored his eighth goal of the season, his fourth in the last five games, tied for 11th-most in MLS this season. Dike led all first-year professionals in MLS in goals. … Nani scored his sixth goal of the season, his last coming Oct. 18. Nani has 18 goals in 49 career appearances in MLS. It was his second career goal in MLS directly from a free kick. …. Chris Mueller collected his seventh assist of the season, tied for 10th-most in MLS this year. The seven assists equal his single-season career-high, also set in his rookie campaign in 2018; Mueller has a goal or an assist in each of the last three games, with two goals and one assist in that span.
NYCFC: Valentin Castellanos also collected his third assist of the season, a second consecutive game where he had at least one goal and one assist in the same game, the fourth time in his MLS career. Castellanos has six goals and three assists over his last seven games (dating back to Oct. 7). … Maximiliano Moralez collected a pair of assists, now with three assists over the last two games. It was the eighth multiple-assist game of Moralez’s MLS career (103 career appearances). … Alexander Callens netted his second goal of the season, both coming in the last seven games; the two goals equal his single-season career-high in MLS, set first in his first season in 2017. … Gary Mackay-Steven scored his second goal of the season, both coming in the last two games, his third in his two seasons in MLS.
E#3 COLUMBUS CREW SC vs. E#6 NEW YORK RED BULLS
Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, Mapfre Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
3 p.m. ET (UniMás / TUDN, TSN 1 / 4, TVA Sports; STOhio; MSG)
REFEREE: Alex Chilowicz. AR1 (bench): Brian Poeschel; AR2 (opposite): Eric Weisbrod; 4th: Fotis Bazakos; VAR: Edvin Jurisevic; AVAR: Gjovalin Bori
MLS Career: 41 games; FC/gm: 24.5; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 6; pens: 13
MLS Cup Playoffs: First game.
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Crew SC 30 wins, 93 goals … Red Bulls 30 wins, 103 goals … Ties 12
AT COLUMBUS: Crew SC 17 wins, 49 goals … Red Bulls 12 wins, 47 goals … Ties 7
7/16: CLB 2, NYR 0 (Zardes 22; Zelarayan 47)
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: Crew SC 5 wins (1 shootout), 12 goals … Red Bulls 2 wins (0 shootout), 9 goals … Ties 0
- Crew SC have returned to the postseason following a one-year absence, qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the 16th time in club history. Their last appearance ended in a loss to the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2018; they have reached MLS Cup on two occasions, winning in 2008.
- The Red Bulls have qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the 21st time in 25 seasons – the most of any club in MLS history. The Red Bulls this year extended their streak of consecutive playoff appearances to 11 years, second only to Seattle Sounders FC (12 in a row) in MLS history. A year ago, the Red Bulls saw their postseason run end at the first hurdle in a wild 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Union in extra time in Chester.
- The teams met once during the regular season. Gyasi Zardes and Lucas Zelarayán scored in each half as Crew SC took a 2-0 win in the opening match for each team in the MLS is Back Tournament on July 16.
- Crew SC have a six-game undefeated streak in the series in league play. The Red Bulls have not won in Columbus since March 28, 2015, a span of five games; Crew SC have won two of those, with three draws. The Crew have won the last two meetings in Harrison.
- The teams have met four times in all in the MLS Cup Playoffs, last in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2018. Crew SC won the first leg 1-0 at home, but the Red Bulls took the second leg 3-0 at Red Bull Arena, winning the series 3-1 on aggregate. It was the first series win for the Red Bulls vs. Crew SC, who won MLS Cup 2008 when the teams met.
- Crew SC concluded the 2020 regular season with a third consecutive home victory, defeating Atlanta United 2-1 at Mapfre Stadium on Decision Day, as Lucas Zelarayán and Gyasi Zardes scored on either side of halftime.
- The Red Bulls won for a second time in three weeks to cap their 2020 campaign, defeating Toronto FC 2-1 at Red Bull Arena on Decision Day. Brian White netted a goal for the fourth time in five games, coming in a third win (with three draws) over the final seven matches of the year.
CREW SC: Lucas Zelarayán scored his sixth goal of the season, his last coming Sept. 23. Zelarayán was named the 2020 MLS Newcomer of the Year. … Gyasi Zardes scored his 12th goal of the season, tied for second-most in MLS this season. It was a third consecutive season with double figures in goals for Zardes, with 44 goals over that span. … Artur recorded his fourth assist of the season, a single-season career-high in his fourth MLS season; he has two goals and an assist over the last five games.
RED BULLS: Tom Barlow scored his third goal of the season, all coming over the last 10 games, dating back to Sept. 27. … Sean Davis collected his first assist of the season; he has at least one assist in each of his six seasons in MLS.
W#1 SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs. W#8 SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kan.
3 p.m. CT (FS1 / FOX Deportes, TSN 3 / 5, TVA Sports)
REFEREE: Nima Saghafi. AR1 (bench): Andrew Bigelow; AR2 (opposite): Jeremy Kieso; 4th: Ramy Touchan; VAR: Jon Freemon; AVAR: Adam Garner
MLS Career: 71 games; FC/gm: 26.7; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 9; pens: 24
MLS Cup Playoffs: 2 games; FC/gm: 27.5; Y/gm: 2.5; R: 0; pens: 0
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Sporting 27 wins (4 shootout), 76 goals … Earthquakes 25 wins (3 shootout), 75 goals … Ties 8
AT KC: Sporting 21 wins (2 shootout), 49 goals … Earthquakes 8 wins (2 shootout), 32 goals … Ties 1
4/20: SJ 4, KC 1 (Hoesen 6, 12; Salinas 46; Eriksson 61 — Gutierrez 66)
8/17: KC 2, SJ 1 (Feilhaber 50; Smith 76 — Wondolowski 25)
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: Sporting 1 win, 5 goals … Earthquakes 2 wins, 5 goals … Ties 0
- Sporting are returning to the MLS Cup Playoffs after a one-year absence, a string of eight consecutive years in the postseason ended last year. In their last appearances, Sporting got past Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Semifinals, before falling to the Portland Timbers in the conference championship 3-2 on aggregate.
- The Quakes are making their return to the postseason for the first time in 2017, which was their first qualification in five years. In their last appearance, the Quakes suffered a 5-0 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the wild card match.
- The teams have met twice in the MLS Cup Playoffs. In 2003, the Quakes won 3-2 in extra-time in the Western Conference Championship, on their way to the second MLS Cup in club history. The following year, Kansas City overcame a 2-goal deficit from the first leg to win 3-0 at home on their way to an MLS Cup Final berth.
- The teams last met during the 2019 season, each winning at home. Danny Hoesen netted a pair of goals before the break as the Quakes eased to a 4-1 win on April 20 at Avaya Stadium, then Sporting took a 2-1 win Aug. 17 at Children’s Mercy Park.
- The Quakes win in the first meeting last year ended a six-game Sporting undefeated streak in the series, their first win in the series since 2016. Sporting have won the four three meetings in Kansas City; the last San Jose win at Children’s Mercy Park came in 2015, a 5-0 victory, which is the largest in the all-time series.
- Sporting concluded their regular season with a third consecutive victory, defeating Real Salt Lake 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Decision Day. Sporting won six of eight games (with one draw) to end the campaign, from the start of October.
- The Quakes had a two-game winning streak put to an end on Decision Day, dropping a 4-1 decision to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field.
SPORTING: Khiry Shelton scored his fifth goal of the season, a single-season career-high in his fifth MLS season, his first goal since Sept. 2. … Erik Hurtado netted his fifth goal of the season, equaling his single-season career-high in his eighth MLS season, first set in 2014 with Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Hurtado has three goals in his last seven games. … Jaylin Lindsey recorded his second assist of the season, the third of his MLS career in his third season.
EARTHQUAKES: Marcos López scored the San Jose goal directly from a free kick, his second goal of the season, his first coming Oct. 3. It was the second direct free kick goal scored by the Earthquakes this season – both coming from defenders (also: Oswaldo Alanis, Feb. 29 vs. Toronto).
W#4 MINNESOTA UNITED FC vs. W#5 COLORADO RAPIDS
Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Allianz Field, St. Paul, Minn.
6:30 p.m. CT (ESPN / ESPN Deportes, TSN 3 / 5, TVA Sports)
REFEREE: Ted Unkel. AR1 (bench): Jason White; AR2 (opposite): Cory Richardson; 4th: Drew Fischer; VAR: Chris Penso; AVAR: Jeff Muschik
MLS Career: 106 games; FC/gm: 23.6; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 33; pens: 54
MLS Cup Playoffs: 4 games; FC/gm: 24.0; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 0; pens: 0
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: MNUFC 3 wins, 10 goals … Rapids 3 wins, 11 goals … Ties 2
AT MINNESOTA: MNUFC 3 wins, 4 goals … Rapids 1 win, 3 goals … Ties 0
7/22: MIN 2, COL 2 (Finlay 36, 43 — Kamara 19; Lewis 59)
10/28: MIN 2, COL 1 (Lod 44; own goal 89 — Shinyashiki 69)
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: First meeting.
- The teams met twice during the regular season. An 89th-minute own goal was the difference as Minnesota United FC took a 2-1 win Oct. 28 at Allianz Field. The teams also met during the group stage of the MLS is Back Tournament on July 22. Ethan Finlay scored twice, but Jonathan Lewis came off the substitutes’ bench to net a second-half equalizer, leaving the teams in a 2-2 draw.
- The teams met twice a season ago, each winning by a 1-0 scoreline. Kei Kamara scored the game’s only goal in the 29th minute, leading the Rapids to the victory on June 8 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Darwin Quintero scored the only goal for the MNUFC win Aug. 14 at Allianz Field.
- Minnesota United FC qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in club history a year ago, suffering a 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy at Allianz Field in Round One.
- The Rapids have returned to the postseason for the first time since 2016, a 14th appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs in their 25 seasons. In their last qualification, the Rapids advanced past the LA Galaxy on penalty kicks in the Western Conference Semifinals, before falling 3-1 on aggregate to Seattle Sounders FC with a trip to MLS Cup 2016 on the line.
- MNUFC ended the season with an eight-game undefeated streak (4-0-4), winning for a third time in four games to close out the campaign in a 3-0 win against FC Dallas at Allianz Field on Decision Day behind a pair of goals from Kevin Molino and three assists from Robin Lod. Minnesota United concluded the season with an eight-game home undefeated streak in St. Paul.
- The Rapids won their third match to close out the 2020 regular season, defeating the Houston Dynamo 2-1 at BBVA Stadium on Decision Day as Younes Namli and Diego Rubio scored goals. The Rapids won five of their final seven games to put an end to the campaign.
MNUFC: Kevin Molino also added an assist, his fourth of the season, the sixth time in his MLS career he had at least one goal and one assist in the same game, the second time he was involved in three goals in a single game (also: April 1, 2017, 1 goal, 2 assists vs. Real Salt Lake). … The three assists for Robin Lod marked the first multiple-assist game of his MLS career. … Emanuel Reynoso scored the first goal of his MLS career, in his 13th appearance. He also recorded a pair of assists, the first multiple-assist game in his MLS career, now with assists in three consecutive matches.
RAPIDS: It was the third goal of the season for Diego Rubio, the first since hitting for a brace Sept. 12 vs. Real Salt Lake. Rubio has a goal and two assists over the last four games. … Younes Namli scored his second goal in MLS, his first coming on March 7. … Cole Bassett recorded his fifth assist of the season, ending the campaign with 5 goals and 5 assists in 14 appearances.
W#3 PORTLAND TIMBERS vs. W#6 FC DALLAS
Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Providence Park, Portland, Ore.
7 p.m. ET (ESPN / ESPN Deportes, TSN 3 / 5, TVA Sports)
REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): Cameron Blanchard; AR2 (opposite): Matthew Nelson; 4th: Victor Rivas; VAR: Timothy Ford; AVAR: Joshua Patlak
MLS Career: 151 games; FC/gm: 22.4; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 28; pens: 34
MLS Cup Playoffs: 5 games; FC/gm: 28.6; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 2; pens: 1
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Timbers 7 wins, 28 goals … FC Dallas 8 wins, 37 goals … Ties 7
AT PORTLAND: Timbers 6 wins, 16 goals … FC Dallas 1 win, 10 goals … Ties 3
4/13: DAL 2, POR 1 (Ferreira 9; Ziegler 60 — Paredes 67)
6/30: POR 1, DAL 0 (Fernandez 42)
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: Timbers 2 wins, 7 goals … FC Dallas 0 wins, 4 goals … Ties 1
- The teams last met during the 2019 season, each winning at home. Jesús Ferreira and Reto Ziegler netted goals as FC Dallas took a 2-1 win on April 13 at Toyota Stadium, then Brian Fernández scored the game’s only goal for a Timbers win June 30 at Providence Park.
- When FC Dallas won 3-1 at Portland on April 13, 2016, it was their first victory ever at Providence Park; the Timbers had won four of the first six league meetings there with two draws. The Timbers have won once in 12 league visits all-time to Toyota Stadium, in 2014.
- The Timbers have qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs for each of the last four seasons, now six times in their 10 years in MLS. A year ago, the Timbers were knocked out of the postseason at the first hurdle in 2-1 Round One loss to Real Salt Lake; that followed a trip to the 2018 MLS Cup, where they dispatched FC Dallas, Seattle Sounders FC and Sporting Kansas City before falling 2-0 to Atlanta United.
- FC Dallas have reached the postseason for a third consecutive year, now having qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs 18 times in the club’s 25 seasons. Each of the last two years FCD have seen their postseason end in the first time of asking, last year in a wild 4-3 loss in extra time to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field in Round One.
- The teams are meeting in the postseason for a third time. They last met in the Knockout Round in 2018, with the Timbers taking a 2-1 win at Toyota Stadium on their way to an eventual appearance in MLS Cup. They also met in the 2015 Western Conference Championship, the Timbers winning 5-3 on aggregate on their way to the first MLS Cup title in club history.
- The Timbers closed out the 2020 regular season with a late 1-1 draw with Los Angeles Football Club at Banc of California Stadium on Decision Day, the 90th-minute equalizer scored by Jorge Villafaña. The Timbers concluded the year without losing back-to-back games all season.
- FC Dallas had a three-game winning run put to an end on Decision Day, falling 3-0 to Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field. FCD concluded the year with a nine-game undefeated streak at Toyota Stadium.
TIMBERS: Jorge Villafaña scored his first goal in an MLS game since Oct. 25, 2015 (also the season finale), a span of 50 appearances in the league in between. It was his 10th career goal in his 12th MLS season. … Diego Valeri collected his seventh assist of the season; he has at least seven assists in each of his eight MLS seasons. … Andy Polo recorded his second assist of the season, equaling his MLS single-season career-high set in his fist season in 2018.
FCD: Phelipe Megiolaro made his MLS debut between the posts for FC Dallas, credited with six saves in the Minnesota United match.
W#2 SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC vs. W#7 LOS ANGELES FOOTBALL CLUB
Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.
7:30 p.m. PT (ESPN / ESPN Deportes, TSN 1 / 4, TVA Sports)
REFEREE: Kevin Stott. AR1 (bench): Eric Weisbrod; AR2 (opposite): Philippe Briere; 4th: Fotis Bazakos; VAR: Jorge Gonzalez; AVAR: Fabio Tovar
MLS Career: 360 games; FC/gm: 24.5; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 84; pens: 96
MLS Cup Playoffs: 38 games; FC/gm: 28.6; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 4; pens: 4
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: Sounders FC 2 wins, 9 goals … LAFC 4 wins, 11 goals … Ties 1
AT SEATTLE: Sounders FC 1 win, 4 goals … LAFC 1 win, 3 goals … Ties 1
8/30: SEA 3, LFC 1 (Ruidiaz 11; Morris 48, 49 — Rossi 60)
9/18: SEA 3, LFC 0 (Lodeiro 29, 33; Ruidiaz 82)
10/11: LFC 3, SEA 1 (Musovski 15, 83; Ginella 65 — Lodeiro 77)
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: Sounders FC 1 win, 3 goals … LAFC 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 0
- The defending MLS Cup champions, Sounders FC have reached the postseason for the 12th time in the club’s 12 seasons – the most consecutive appearances in league history. The Sounders claimed the club’s second MLS title last year in a third appearance in MLS Cup in four seasons, defeating Toronto FC 3-1 at CenturyLink Field.
- LAFC have reached the playoffs in each of the club’s two seasons of existence. A year ago, after earning the No. 1 seed overall in the MLS Cup Playoffs, they defeated the LA Galaxy 5-3 in the conference semifinals before falling to Sounders FC in the Western Conference Final.
- The teams met three times during the regular season. In the last meeting, Danny Musovski scored a pair of goals and set up the third as LAFC took a 3-1 win Oct. 11 at Banc of California Stadium. Sounders FC won the first two meetings; first, Jordan Morris scored a pair of goals in a 3-1 win on Aug. 30 at CenturyLink Field, then Nicolás Lodeiro converted a pair of penalty kicks to give the Sounders the 3-0 win Sept. 18 in Seattle.
- The wins this year were the first for Sounders FC all-time in league play. LAFC won the first three, before the teams played to a 1-1 draw April 28, 2019.
- The teams also met in the round-of-16 in the MLS is Back Tournament, and Los Angeles Football Club gained a measure of redemption with a 4-1 win, as Diego Rossi netted a pair of goals and Brian Rodríguez added a goal and an assist.
- When the teams met in the MLS Cup Playoffs last year, Raúl Ruidíaz scored a pair of goals, and Nicolás Lodeiro scored a goal and set up the other two, and Sounders FC claimed a remarkable 3-1 win on Oct. 29 at Banc of California Stadium in the Western Conference Final.
- Sounders FC concluded their 2020 season with a 4-1 win against the San Jose Earthquakes at CenturyLink Field on Decision Day, behind goals from Nicolás Lodeiro, Raúl Ruidíaz and Jordan Morris. Sounders FC ended the campaign with a 6-game undefeated run at home, which started with a 7-1 win against San Jose, scoring 20 goals over the span.
- LAFC ended their 2020 campaign with a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers at Banc of California Stadium on Decision Day. LAFC ended the season with two wins and two draws from their final five games.
SOUNDERS FC: Nicolás Lodeiro recorded his 10th assist of the season, tied for the MLS league lead (with Alejandro Pozuelo of Toronto and Darwin Quintero of Houston), and also added his seventh goal, the 10th time in his MLS career he had at least one goal and one assist in the same game. … It was a fourth consecutive season with 10 or more assists, equaling the third-longest such streak in MLS history. … Raúl Ruidíaz scored his 12th goal of the season, tied for second place in the MLS Golden Boot race, his seventh goal in his last eight league appearances (dating back to Sept. 10). Ruidíaz has hit for double figures in goals in each of his three MLS seasons, with 33 goals in that span. … Jordan Morris scored his 10th goal of the season, equaling his total of a year ago, the third time in five MLS seasons he’s had double figures in goals in a season. The 10 goals were tied for fifth-most in MLS this season; Morris had a goal or an assist in each of his last three games, with two goals and one assist in that span. … Cristian Roldan collected his fifth assist, his second in the last three games.
LAFC: Carlos Vela netted his fourth goal of the season; he has two goals and one assist in four appearances since his return to the LAFC lineup.
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