Tyler Miller Leads Minnesota Into Quarterfinals
United’s goalie was the man of the match, not only because he saved one penalty during the shootout, but also, because he prevented Columbus’ attackers from scoring on multiple occasions during the regular part of the game.
He would stop Chris Cadden’s shot in the third round of the shootout, which happened to be the crucial moment of the entire match.
Minnesota had a chance to finish the entire job in the regular part of the game, but one clumsy reaction of the center back Jose Aja prevented that from happening. He committed a foul in the box, which led to a penalty for the rivals. Gyasi Zardes used that to level the score eleven minutes before the end. Miller was on the ball in this penalty, but Zardes scored on a rebound from the same.
United took the lead in the 18th minute when Robin Lod scored after one corner-kick. It was the first, and eventually, the only goal Columbus allowed in this tournament. It turned out to be the reason for the elimination of one of the biggest favorites for winning the trophy.
“The most important people thought we had a chance, and the most important people are the players and our staff,” said Adrian Heath, United’s head coach. “But the actual belief is still growing. And I think there’s more to come.”
Minnesota is going against San Jose Earthquakes in the quarterfinals. Quakes defeated Real Salt Lake in their Round of 16 matchup.
Portland Stops Cincinnati After Penalties
A similar scenario had been seen in the second game of Tuesday’s program. Portland took the lead and then allowed Cincinnati FC to come back, but in the end, Timbers progressed to the next round.
Jaroslaw Niezgoda scored his second goal in this tournament, minutes after getting on the pitch. The Polish striker closely followed his team’s action, before eventually getting the ball from Sebastian Blanco, and executing from the six-yar box. Niezgoda’s goal came in the 67th minute of the match.
Jurgen Locadia would net an equalizer in the 81st minute, after a big mistake of the Timbers’ goalie Steve Clark whose poor decision-making led to a penalty for Cincinnati FC. The veteran Dutch forward scored, to give his team a chance to turn things around, yet that didn’t happen in the end.
Clark made up for his clumsiness, as he stopped Locadia’s shot during the penalty shootout, helping his team advance to the top 8 of the MLS tournament. Portland’s players have been calm when taking penalties, scoring all five of them.
“We knew that it was going to be the most difficult match we played so far,” Timbers’ head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “The way Cincinnati plays, it’s difficult to break them down. Credit to them. We knew it was going to be tough from the beginning to the end.”
Up next, Portland meets New York City Football Club in the quarterfinals. This will be a tough game, because the team from the Big Apple has no pressure. They are coming into this event as underdogs, and we already saw how they played against Toronto FC under the same circumstances.
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.