(author’s note: This article was a lot easier to write Sunday morning after seeing the Seattle Sounders advance on Saturday. Thanks guys, let’s do that again okay? Now get some rest everyone and watch some MLS with us, as that was a stressful Saturday.)
Three big storylines
- The Philadelphia Union joined MLS in 2010 just one season after the Seattle Sounders and they are still looking for their first playoff win. The Union finished the MLS regular season in third place in the Eastern Conference while the New York Red Bulls followed up their record-setting regular season in 2018 with a disappointing sixth place finish in the Eastern Conference. The winner of this game will be at Atlanta United on Thursday. Philly were without key starters Alejandro Bedoya, Kacper Przybylko and Sergio Santos in their decision day loss but all three players are looking like they will be available for the start of the playoffs.
- The second game of the day sees Minnesota United hosting the LA Galaxy. This will be the first MLS playoff game in franchise history for Minnesota. The winner of this game will be at Los Angeles FC on Thursday night. The Galaxy will look to rely on Zlatan Ibrahimovic to provide the scoring after notching a third best ever 30 goals in the regular season. Just like United, this will be Zlatan’s first ever experience in the MLS Cup playoffs as the Galaxy missed the playoffs last year (even though they had Zlatan on a TAM deal essentially giving them four designated players).
- Saturday saw eight MLS teams enter the playoffs and four are already packing up for the offseason. Atlanta United beat the New England Revolution 1-0 to open the day. Then the Sounders notched a memorable 4-3 extra time win over FC Dallas. Toronto FC swept aside D.C. United and ended Wayne Rooney’s MLS career with a 5-1 extra-time win that was more complicated than the scoreline indicated as D.C. United scored a 93rd minute stoppage-time goal to force extra time only for TFC put up four goals in the first half of extra time. In the nightcap of the quadruple-header Real Salt Lake made it four home wins out of four games and eliminated the Portland Timbers 2-1 extending Nick Rimando’s career by one more game.
From a Sounders point of view
Well the Sounders finished ahead in the Supporters’ Shield standings of all four teams in action today, so home-field implications are out. I think we are cheering for both the away teams today just to set up both an LA and New York playoff derby. The Galaxy seems to have LAFC’s number, so we want them to advance to take on the favorites. The New York Red Bulls just seem a bit more fun to watch right now than the Philadelphia Union, and a New York versus New York playoff matchup is definitely more interesting for the neutrals.
National TV listings
Philadelphia Union v New York Red Bulls
Date/Time: Sunday, Noon
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
Minnesota United v LA Galaxy
Date/Time: Sunday, 5:30 PM PST
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Join the Discussion
This is your Sounder at Heart MLS playoffs Sunday open gamethread. Watch with us.