There is no doubt that playing MLS games during the international break is a bit iffy. Nevertheless, four matches were played during the so-called “break.”
With only a handful of games left in the MLS season, each contest’s meaning has increased tenfold. For the seven clubs (Minnesota played twice) that participated during the break, here is how each affected their postseason chances and faired against their opponents.
The two most recent expansion sides squared off on Tuesday in Atlanta United’s brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Known as an impenetrable fortress, Atlanta had yet to lose in their new home beforehand. That all changed when the Loons rolled into town and took all three points. The match remained scoreless until the second half until when Minnesota’s Abu Danladi put Minnesota up by one in the 48th minute. Atlanta retaliated 20 minutes later by scoring back-to-back goals within five minutes. Minnesota decided to crash Atlanta’s party in extra time as Christian Ramirez and Kevin Molino scored two heartbreaking goals to give them the win.
The New York Red Bulls officially punched their ticket into the postseason after trampling over Western Conference leaders Vancouver Whitecaps. Goals were scored Daniel Royer, Bradley Wright-Phillips, and Felipe Martins. This win was the Red Bulls first victory since their contest against FC Cincinnati in the U.S. Open Cup.
Minnesota United FC 1, Sporting Kansas City 1
Minnesota United continued to grab points late in league play against Sporting KC. Having been down since Diego Rubio’s late first-half goal, Minnesota leveled the game in the 84th minute from a heroic header by Brent Kallman.
FC Dallas’ struggles continue to prevail as they drew away against the Colorado Rapids. After conceding an early goal to Stefan Aigner, FC Dallas was unable to level the score until the 54th minute. Dallas felt hard dealt by following the match due to their utter dominance. FCD totaled 17 shots, seven on target, and 66% possession. Although they were unable to pick up a win, their earned point from the contest was enough to put them in the sixth and final playoff spot.