MLS News and Notes – Week 26

In MLS Week 26, Atlanta United added another trophy to its case, and two teams clinched playoff spots.

Another final and another trophy for Atlanta United to add to the trophy case. Atlanta United captured its first U.S. Open Cup with a 2-1 victory over Minnesota United. The Five Stripes were up 2-0 after just 16 minutes, through an own goal and another from Pity Martinez. Atlanta United survived the final 16-plus minutes with only 10 men after Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez was sent off. The U.S. Open Cup was the second piece of silverware already this season for Atlanta United after it captured the Campeones Cup.

Things didn’t get easier for the Five Stripes, as they had to face the Philadelphia Union in a battle for first place in the Eastern Conference. With first place on the line, Josef Martinez got things going just before halftime with a goal in a record 13th straight game. That is as good as things would get as the Union roared back for three goals in the second half to take over first place in the East. Brenden Aaronson tied the match in the 61st minute. Kacper Przybylko and Sergio Santos scored within two minutes of each other to knock off Atlanta United. With the victory, the Union became the first team in the Eastern Conference to clinch a playoff spot.

The Union weren’t the only team to clinch a playoff spot. New York City FC secured a playoff spot with a 3-1 road victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps. Heber got the visitors rolling just 10 minutes into the match. Just 16 minutes later, Gary Mackay-Steven doubled the lead for NYCFC, dashing any hopes of a comeback as the visitors were in control the entire match. With the victory, NYCFC moved to second place in the East, while the Whitecaps were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.

D.C. United took advantage of a rare home slip up by the New York Red Bulls to leapfrog them into the fourth spot in the East. In the first game as head coach of the Colorado Rapids for Robin Fraser, the Rapids left Red Bull Arena with a 2-0 victory with the help from two goals from Jonathan Lewis. The loss gave D.C. United a little room to move ahead of the Red Bulls. Ola Kamara scored twice in the first half, and Paul Arriola added another to put the Montreal Impact away before halftime. The victory gives D.C. United another three points without Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta in the lineup.

The San Jose Quakes have been one of the most impressive stories this season. Their solid 2019 season continued with an impressive 3-0 victory over Orlando City. Chris Wondolowski scored twice, and Magnus Eriksson added another as the Quakes stayed above the playoff line. The Western Conference playoff picture is one of the biggest things to watch this season. The Portland Timbers have struggled in taking advantage of their heavy home schedule in the second half of the season. Even with a 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake, the Timbers were unable to jump into the final playoff spot.

The weekend was a tough one for the two southern California clubs. Both Los Angeles FC and LA Galaxy suffered defeat on the weekend. The most eye-opening result was Minnesota United stunning LAFC at Banc of California Stadium. Mason Toye scored twice in four minutes to see off the Supporters Shield leaders. The win keeps the Loons at pace with Seattle and San Jose. The Sounders used a big second half to knock off the LA Galaxy at Century Link Field. Cristian Roldan, Raul Ruidiaz and Jordan Morris led the Sounders to a big three points, keeping them in second place in the West.

Below is the schedule for MLS clubs in action this week.

Upcoming schedule


U.S. men’s national team vs. Mexico – 8:30 p.m. (FS1) (International Friendly)


New York City FC vs. New England Revolution – 3:30 p.m.
FC Cincinnati vs. Toronto FC – 7:30 p.m.
Orlando City SC vs. Los Angeles FC – 7:30 p.m.
Canada vs. Cuba – 8 p.m. (CONCACAF Nations League)
Colorado Rapids vs. Seattle Sounders – 9 p.m.
Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City – 10:30 p.m.

As always, stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for all things FC Cincinnati as the club returns home to Nippert Stadium to face Toronto FC on Saturday night.

@iamchrisasbrock for @CincySoccerTalk

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