The year 2020 has been nothing short of a gong show. With a global pandemic, natural disasters and social injustice, this has been a year nobody will ever forget. Aside from the NBA, MLS has been at the forefront of the Black Lives Matter movement in North America as far as sports leagues go. That was the case down in Orlando, Florida, and now following the NBA suit, five matches were postponed in protest of the Jacob Blake shooting in Wisconsin just over a week ago. While matches in the future are facing the possibility of postponement, there were matches that did take place prior.
With the league resuming play after the MLS is Back Tournament, which saw the Portland Timbers capture the title, teams were allowed to play at their stadiums. In this latest phase of play, teams are grouped together in a regional manner, to keep travel as minimal as possible. With this, fans will see more rivalry matchups. That has been the case so far, with the New York Red Bulls scoring a nice 1-0 win over their rivals, New York City FC through a 59th minute goal from Kyle Duncan. Just a few days later, the Red Bulls fell to the Philadelphia Union by that same scoreline. The Red Bulls rebounded in their last match, earning a point in a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution. The Union continued to roll, throttling D.C. United 4-1 at home. The Union were up 3-0 within the first 21 minutes and added a fourth in the 61st minute.
Another El Traffico and another Los Angeles FC loss to its crosstown rivals. While LAFC easily dispatched the LA Galaxy during the MLS is Back Tournament by a score of 6-2, that was not the case this time as the LA Galaxy took care of business. The focus was on the two Mexican stars for each side, Carlos Vela and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. Chicharito was out with a calf injury, but Vela was on the field for LAFC. However, after goals from Ethan Zubak and Sebastian Lletget giving the Galaxy a 2-0 lead, things went from bad to worse for LAFC. Vela went down with an apparent knee injury and had to leave the game. Not only did LAFC lose the game, it lost the reigning league MVP to injury. The LA Galaxy continued their solid run of form, knocking off the San Jose Quakes, 3-2, in a back and forth Cali Clasico match. Goals from Daniel Steres, Cristian Pavon and Lletget kept the Galaxy rolling.
Expansion side Inter Miami CF notched its first MLS victory with a 3-2 victory over Orlando City. Julian Carranza and Rodolfo Pizarro scored for the expansion side, but goals from Daryl Dike and Nani made things interesting. Inter Miami held on for its first win. In a Cascadia Derby, Raul Ruidiaz scored twice, and Kelvin Leerdam added another to give the Seattle Sounders a solid 3-0 victory over their Cascadia rivals, the Portland Timbers. The Sounders stayed hot in their next match, knocking off LAFC 3-1 at CenturyLink Field with a goal from Ruidiaz and two from Jordan Morris. The Timbers failed to capitalize on a two-goal lead late against Real Salt Lake, conceding twice in the 90th minute and beyond. Giuseppe Rossi scored his first MLS goal in the 90th minute, bringing RSL within one before Sam Johnson scored at the death to rescue a point for Real Salt Lake.
With play starting, Nashville SC notched its first MLS win as well with a victory over FC Dallas but drew just a few days later. Since those games, Nashville suffered two straight losses with Atlanta United and Orlando City showing Nashville that life in MLS isn’t easy before Nashville knocked off Inter Miami 1-0 at home over the weekend. Towards the top of the table, the Columbus Crew have gone 1-1-1 since play resumed. One of the hottest teams in MLS, the New England Revolution notched a win and two draws since the restart. Toronto FC has stayed hot, winning both of its matches over the Vancouver Whitecaps, since coming back from Orlando. The hot play has propelled Toronto FC to the top of the Eastern Conference. Staying in Canada, the Whitecaps have struggled, failing to score a goal in their three games back. The Whitecaps currently sit at the bottom of the Western Conference with just six points through eight games.
Below is the schedule for MLS clubs in action this week.
Upcoming schedule (Subject to Change)
Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact – 8 p.m.
Atlanta United vs. Inter Miami – 7 p.m. (FS1)
FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire – 7:30 p.m.
Columbus Crew vs. Philadelphia Union – 7:30 p.m.
New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United – 7:30 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. Minnesota United – 8 p.m.
New England Revolution vs. New York City FC – 8 p.m.
Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas – 8:30 p.m.
Nashville SC vs. Orlando City – 8:30 p.m.
Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders – 9:30 p.m.
Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy – 10:30 p.m.
Los Angeles FC vs. San Jose Quakes – 11 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City – 8 p.m.
Orlando City SC vs. Atlanta United – 8 p.m. (Fox)
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Toronto FC – 9:30 p.m.
San Jose Quakes vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m.
D.C. United vs. NYCFC – 7 p.m.
New York Red Bulls vs. Philadelphia Union – 7 p.m.
Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution – 7:30 p.m.
Columbus Crew vs. FC Cincinnati – 7:30 p.m.
Minnesota United vs. Real Salt Lake – 8 p.m.
Inter Miami vs. Nashville SC – 8 p.m. (FS1)
Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers – 10 p.m.
LA Galaxy vs. LAFC – 10:30 p.m.
As always, stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk as we take a look at the upcoming matches for FC Cincinnati against the Chicago Fire and the Columbus Crew.