This Tuesday night was the most intense since the start of the MLS is Back tournament. Both games ended with a penalty shootout, with Minnesota United and Portland Timbers advancing to the next stage.
Minnesota delivered one of the biggest surprises of this tournament, as they defeated Columbus Crew, who was seen as one of the potential candidates for winning the trophy. Columbus had the initiative and was better throughout the entire match, yet in the end, it was 1-1 after the regular 90 minutes.
What disrupted their plans was Robin Lod’s goal in the 18th minute, and from that moment on, it seems that they became more nervous, while on the other side, United’s players gain confidence.
However, everything could have been changed in the late part of the match. Jose Aja, who assisted Lod for his score, made a reckless tackle in the box, which led to a penalty for the Crew. Gyasi Zardes did miss a penalty but was precise on a rebound, to level the score eleven minutes before the end.
At that point, Columbus had a swing, but United managed to survive until the end.
Eventually, the penalties later saw Minnesota’s goalkeeper Tyler Miller stopping one shot Crew’s players, which was more than enough for his side to advance.
Portland Timbers also advanced to the quarterfinals after penalties. The result of this matchus after 90 minutes was also 1-1. Jaroslaw Niezgoda, the Polish international, added another goal to his tally shortly after he stepped on the pitch. It was the 67th minute when he delivered the lead to Portland.
On the other side, we saw Jugen Locadia doing the same thing. The experienced forward executed a penalty in the 81st minute, nine after entering the game.
However, Locadia would miss the penalty in the shootout; to be more precise goalkeeper Steve Clark denied it. Meanwhile, Niezgoda became a hero, scoring the game-winning goal for 5-3. It seems that this guy might become one of the most important players of Portland’s team in the near future, after showing his potential over the recent few matches.
Portland will face New York City FC, who eliminated Toronto FC recently. On the other side, Minnesota plays against San Jose Earthquakes, who were better than Real Salt Lake, 5-2.