Sunday, October 25, 2015

It Happened in America Part I: Columbus grabs first round bye, Toronto drops to sixth

Four games went down in the early slate, with little more than seeding at stake.

New York City 1-3 New England Revolution
New England needed to lose, big, in order to miss out on the sixth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. They didn't waste any  time assuring they wouldn't get crushed. Lee Nguyen gave the Revs the lead inside two minutes. Charlie Davies doubled the lead in the 38th. Kellyn Rowe made it three on the 55th. David Villa would end NYC's season with a goal from the penalty spot at the end of this one, but it was only a consolation.

Columbus Crew 4-0 DC United
The winner here took the second of the first round byes. The Crew were on the front for in the beginning of the match and they got the first goal from Jack McInerney in the 26th minute. They kept attacking and in the 54th minute, Justin Meram received a perfect pass from Michael Parkhurst and slipped a shot beyond Bill Hamid to double the lead. The rout was on when Ethan Finlay scored twice in as many minutes. The first, in the 66th, came when Jack McInerney was sprung through on goal behind a flat footed DC back line. He later laid a simple pass to Finlay who could walk into the net. The second was, again, a result of lazy defensive work by United in the 67th. Aaron Schoenfeld put in a fifth, just for fun, in the 80th.

Philadelphia Union 1-0 Orlando City
Orando needed to put a real hurting on the Union in order to have a prayer at the playoffs. They didn't exactly do that. Sebastian Le Toux scored from the spot in the 41st minute for the only goal in this one. The frustration mounted fir Orlando acc they took it out with violent fouls. They were shown six yellows in the match and Cristian Higuita was sent oft with five minutes to play.

Montreal Impact 2-1 Toronto FC
Thus was the least meaningful match of this opening set. Sebastian Giovinco did what he does in the 45th minute when he assisted on Jozy Altidore's opening goal. In the second half, Montreal's star summer acquisition, Didier Drogba turned the match on its head. He drew them level in the 54th and have them the lead a minute later.

So the East playoffs are set. As for the first knockout match, two playoff debutantes well have the pitch. Montreal jumps all the way up to third place, thanks to today, and will host this same Toronto FC team, who only makes the playoffs because the field was expanded for this season. The STade Saputo is sure to be jumpin' on Thursday night. DC United, who dropped to fourth after today, will welcome New England to RFK Stadium in the other match on Wednesday. The first round byes go to New York Red Bulls and Columbus.

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