MLS News and Notes: Tournament providing exciting matches

The MLS is Back Tournament has delivered some exciting matches in the last week. Chris Asbrock examines some of the more noteworthy matches.

The MLS is Back Tournament has given soccer fans a much needed breath of soccer during the past week. Since kicking off last week, the tournament has provided some entertaining games which have featured late equalizers and winners. The defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders got their campaign up and running against the San Jose Quakes, which ended in an uninspiring scoreless draw. The two Los Angeles clubs were in action, and only Los Angeles FC secured a point. Reigning MLS MVP Carlos Vela chose to sit out this tournament during the COVID-19 pandemic, but LAFC proved it can score goals without Vela. In a back and forth battle between LAFC and the Houston Dynamo, LAFC had to come from behind from 1-0 and 3-1 deficits. Brian Rodriguez scored his first goal with LAFC. Also on the score sheet, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Diego Rossi scored for LAFC in the thrilling six-goal draw. On the other side, Memo Rodriguez scored twice for the Dynamo in the first 30 minutes, giving the Dynamo a shocking 1-0 and 2-1 lead.

The other Los Angeles club, the Los Angeles Galaxy, have seen the start of their MLS campaign a little rough, and it continued in the MLS is Back Tournament. After a draw and a loss to open the season, the Galaxy looked to rebound in Orlando. The league’s highest-paid player, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, had yet to find the back of the net this season, and his struggles continued with a poorly taken penalty in the first half. Things went from bad to worse for the Galaxy as Jeremy Ebobisse and Sebastian Blanco each scored in a seven-minute span, giving the Timbers a 2-0 lead in the second half. Chicharito finally got the monkey off his back and scored his first goal for the Los Angeles Galaxy in their 2-1 loss to the Portland Timbers.

Rivalry was the theme for the weekend matchups. Florian Valot got the New York Red Bulls up and running just four minutes into their matchup against Atlanta United. That would be all the Red Bulls would need in a 1-0 victory. Adam Jahn nearly equalized for Atlanta United at the death, but Red Bulls goalkeeper David Jensen saved the day with a huge sprawling save. The late game saw FC Cincinnati get its teeth kicked in by the Columbus Crew in a 4-0 blowout. Sporting Kansas City thought it had bagged a full three points against Minnesota United, but two goals in stoppage time, including an own goal to stun Sporting. Sporting keeper Tim Melia was sent off in the 74th minute, changing the entire game and forcing Sporting Kansas City to finish with 10 men. The other matchup in Group D was the Rocky Mountain Cup matchup with Real Salt Lake downing the Colorado Rapids. Albert Rusnak got the scoring going in the 27th minute, and Real Salt Lake never looked back. Damir Kreilach doubled the lead in the 76th minute, giving Real Salt Lake its fourth straight victory in the Rocky Mountain Cup.

Toronto FC and D.C. United battled to a 2-2 draw in another exciting match. Toronto had a 2-0 lead at the break through two Ayo Akinola goals. After D.C. United was forced to 10 men following Junior Moreno’s second yellow in the first half, Federico Higuain gave D.C. United some hope with his 84th minute goal. Frederic Brilliant scored on a header in the 91st minute, giving D.C. a point and sending Toronto away with disappointment. In other action on Tuesday, the Chicago Fire knocked off the Seattle Sounders 2-1 and Orlando City moved on to the knockout stage of the MLS is Back Tournament with a 3-1 victory over New York City FC. The Philadelphia Union joined Orlando City in the knockout stage with a 2-1 win over winless expansion side Inter Miami.

Below is the schedule for the MLS is Back Tournament for the upcoming week.

Upcoming schedule (Subject to change)


Atlanta United FC vs. FC Cincinnati – 9 a.m. – (ESPN)
Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC – 8 p.m. – (FS1)
New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew SC – 10:30 p.m. – (FS1)


D.C. United vs. New England Revolution – 8 p.m. – (ESPN)
Sporting KC vs. Colorado Rapids – 8 p.m. – (ESPN2)
Real Salt Lake vs. Minnesota United – 10:30 p.m. – (ESPN)


Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. – (ESPN)
Los Angeles FC vs. LA Galaxy – 10:30 p.m. – (ESPN)


Chicago Fire vs. San Jose Quakes – 8 p.m. – (FS1)
Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – 10:30 p.m. – (FS1)

Monday, July 20

Inter Miami vs. New York City FC – 9 a.m. – (ESPN)
Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City – 8 p.m.
New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew SC – 10:30 p.m. – (FS1)

Tuesday, July 21

Toronto FC vs. New England Revolution – 9 a.m. – (ESPN)
Atlanta United vs. Columbus Crew – 8 p.m.
Montreal Impact vs. D.C. United – 10:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 22

Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting KC – 9 a.m. – (ESPN)
FC Cincinnati vs. New York Red Bulls – 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Colorado Rapids vs. Minnesota United – 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)

As always, stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk as we take a look at FC Cincinnati’s run in the MLS is Back Tournament.

@iamchrisasbrock for @CincySoccerTalk

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