New York City FC and Sporting Kansas City advanced to the quarterfinals of the MLS is Back tournament, after they eliminated two Canadian sides, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps.
City to Shock Toronto FC
In the first match of the day, New York City made a big surprise, eliminating Toronto FC, one of the biggest favorites for winning the competition.
Ronny Deila’s guys were more than convincing in their triumph, leading with three goals to nil at one point. In the end it was 3-1 for the Citizens who were the last team to advance to the knockout stage. NYCFC got the spot in the Round of 16 because LA Galaxy played 1-1 with Houston Dynamo. Cristian Pavon equalized in the last moment of the match, giving the team from the Big Apple unexpected chance to continue with their tournament.
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) July 27, 2020
This unexpected gift was justified in last night’s clash. After just five minutes of play, NYCFC took the lead, with Jesus Medina scoring a goal. He received the ball in the box, some 12 yards to the left, took a few steps toward the goal before hitting the back of the net.
That was it from the first half, with Toronto trying to level the score, but without notable success. The same scenario took place in the second half. Just ten minutes into the same, City netted and doubled the lead. Valentin Castellanos was scorer, using a superb assist from Maxi Morales, who would add one goal himself later.
The international from Paraguay was the best player on the field, and he crowned that with a hit nine minutes before the end of the event.
Toronto’s only goal came in the 87th minute when Patrick Mullins decreased the result to 3-1.
“We’re getting more and more together, and today was great team spirit, organization and discipline,” NYC head coach Deila said after the battle. “The boys really wanted to win, and if you have that in the bottom every game, then we can fight for titles. That has to be at the bottom if we want to win something.”
NYCFC will play its next game on August 1. They are awaiting the better from Portland vs. Cincinnati clash. The majority expects to see Timbers in the next round here, but that was also the case with Toronto, and we saw how that ended.
Sporting KC Advances After Penalties
Even though they had 36 goal attempts, and numerous scoring chances, Sporting Kansas City had to go through penalties before eliminating Vancouver Whitecaps. That was mostly because of ‘Caps’ excellent goalkeeper Thomas Hasal who was, without a doubt the best individual on the pitch. Six of his eight saves came in the first half, and the 21-year old definitely prevented SKC from rolling over the Canadians.
Unfortunately for the youngster, his team didn’t advance to the next stage, and a wonderful performance he had will soon be forgotten.
“Thomas needs to stay in his bubble, focus, keep working. And it’s the only way he’s gonna become better and better. But he showed great signs in the last 180 minutes,” stated Marc dos Santos, his head coach.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 27, 2020
Vancouver had some chances to strike from the counter-attacks, but their players were not focused enough in the crucial moments.
In the end, Hasal’s magic disappeared during the shootout, and Sporting broke the resistance of the stubborn underdogs after a thriller.
SKC will play against the Philadelphia Union on July 30. Their next rivals eliminated New England Revolution yesterday, 1-0 earning themselves a spot in the top eight teams.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.