MLS Cup 2020 Play-Offs: Conference Semi-Finals Preview

Published on: November 26, 2020
Author: Daniel Hubert

Another GoalFest At Lumen Field?

On their way to the 2019 MLS Cup title, the Sounders can look back at the enthralling 4-3 extra-time victory over FC Dallas as the catalyst for their run to the championship, with Jordan Morris securing a hat-trick, with the winning goal in the 113th minute. With Dallas squeezing past the Portland Timbers last week, we look forward to another, hopefully, an intense meeting between the two sides, with Dallas looking to avenge the defeat from last year. Can Morris be the hero once again, or will the Texan side have the chance to exact revenge for last season’s defeat?

Orlando City – The Form Side Of The Last Eight?

In terms of their overall form regarding the MLS Season as a whole, Orlando City are right up there, having lost just twice in the last eighteen games played. Oscar Pareja’s side are an entertaining side, who have only had three shut-outs in that time, but the lack of defensive solidity has allowed his side to attack with impunity and score plenty of goals. The penalty shoot-out win over New York City in the latest round was not ideal, but they have a big chance against the New England Revolution to make it to the Conference final.

Can The Revs Turn Round A Poor Record In Florida?

The New England Revolution reached the last eight, thanks to a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union, having already beaten Montreal Impact in the Play-in match, five days prior, however, they must rewrite history to reach a Conference final, having failed to win in eight visits to Orlando City. Recent trips have garnered a draw and an extra-time defeat, but Bruce Arena’s team face a huge test here, but a victory for the Revs would give them huge confidence for the remainder of the tournament.

The Crew To Need Penalties To Break Down The Nashville Defence?

Columbus Crew will be hoping for a repeat result of the only meeting between themselves and Nashville SC when the sides meet in this Conference semi-final. Having won 2-0 in September, with goals from Pedro Santos and Gyarsi Zardes, they will be confident of another result, however, they face a Nashville side, who have four shutouts in the last six matches played. This match could go all the way to penalties and it may just be the Crew’s best chance of beating the in-form backline.

Shutout King, WIllis – Continues To Dominate For Nashville

Nashville goalkeeper, Joe Willis’s now has 11 shutouts in 25 matches for Nashville SC, with successive shutouts against Inter Miami and Toronto FC added to that list. Nashville’s defence was the third-best in the MLS during the regular season and is clearly the best of the eight sides remaining and could just propel the Tennessee side to a first season MLS title, with Joe Willis a candidate for MVP.

Ruidaz To Continue His Goalscoring Form?

If the Sounders are going to take another victory over Dallas FC, Raul Ruidaz will be a hugely important player for Seattle. The Peruvian international has hit 13 goals in 19 appearances this season, including 5 goals in the last 6 matches and alongside Jordan Morris, they are a formidable partnership. If Dallas wants to avoid defeat to the Sounders once again, stopping Ruidaz is pivotal.

Sporting Kansas and Minnesota To Go To Penalties?

Matches between Sporting Kansas and Minnesota United have always been close affairs, with the last five meetings decided by the odd goal and this last eight match-up is expected to be another tight battle, between two sides in good form. Sporting Kansas are unbeaten in five, while Minnesota are unbeaten in nine games, including a 3-0 win over the Rapids. So with two sides in confident mood, could this end up being a stalemate, decided by penalties? Only time will tell, but this looks one of the tougher matches to predict, with the winner having the potential to go all the way.

Molino On Fire For Minnesota!

Kevin Molino may ot be a household name, but he is heading there, having scored four goals in his last two matches for Minnesota United. The Trinidad & Tobago midfielder is usually a provider of goals, but recent performances have thrust him back into the spotlight in this huge, upcoming game. He has hit 11 goals so far, in 20 appearances and could be the player to ignite United’s game in this Conference semi-final match-up.