- One of the top favorites for winning the MLS Cup, Toronto FC, was eliminated at home.
- Nashville’s Daniel Rios scored an extra-time goal to secure the hosts’ 0-1 win.
- Seattle Sounders and the New England Revolution posted wins as well.
Devastating Shock for Toronto FC
The No.2 seed came into Tuesday’s clash as the absolute favorites, and one of the biggest favorites for winning the trophy. However, they couldn’t manage to break the guests from Nashville, who eventually pulled out the biggest surprise of the entire MLS Cup playoffs so far.
However, the situation on the field didn’t show any of that, with the guests being far more dangerous. Nashville had several superb chances for scoring before Daniel Rios’ hit. Three of their goals were ruled out due to offsides, and apart from that, they wouldn’t allow the home team to have the initiative.
“As you can see, the fellas are going about their business, and they believe in what they’re doing. And I thought we thoroughly deserved to win the game tonight. Terrific overall performance,” guests head coach Gary Smith stated.
Rios hit the back of the net in the 108th minute. Hany Mukhtar tried his luck, but FC’s goalkeeper, Quentin Westberg, denied that shot, unfortunately for him, directly towards Rios. The 25-year old forward didn’t have any problems to execute in front of the empty net.
Toronto’s head coach Greg Vanney admitted that his side didn’t do well, and that Toronto’s players weren’t pressuring the rivals enough. Vanney would also add that Nashville had a small advantage, as they already tasted the playoff action, while on the other side, his team lacked games.
“We hadn’t played a game in (more than) 14 days. And I feel like we were a little bit sluggish and not sharp because of that,” he said following the contest.
This is a major disappointment for Toronto FC, who was hoping to repeat the 2017 season and win both the MLS Cup and the Canadian championship.
Revolution Makes One More Upset, Sounders as Planned
Another big surprise took place in Philadelphia, where the New England Revolution eliminated the Supporters Shield winners Union. Revolution beat the hosts 2-0, after suffering four straight defeats against them this season.
The pivotal figure of this clash was Carles Gil, a Spanish playmaker who had two assists, and was orchestrating the Revs’ midfield perfectly. He would find Adam Buksa in the 26th minute following a set-piece, and four minutes later, his pass reached Tajon Buchanan, who routinely beat Kai Wagner.
A few thousand miles to the West, Seattle Sounders didn’t allow any sensations, confidently defeating LAFC, 3-1, and clinching their spot in the semifinals.
The reigning MLS Cup champs took the lead in the 18th minute with Nico Lodeiro scoring, but a few minutes later, LAFC had a chance to respond. Carlos Vela missed the penalty kick, and that turned out to be the critical moment of the match.
Seattle doubled its edge in the 66th minute through Raul Ruidiaz, and even though they allowed Eduard Atuesta to score and cut the gap, the hosts firmly held everything in their hands. Eventually, Jordan Morris put an end to this match, pushing his team to the next round.