MLS Round of 16 Defined

The group stage of the Returning Tournament of the United States Professional Soccer League (MLS) closed, leaving the classification of 16 teams, of the 24 that started the competition, classified to the round of 16, with duels between LAFC versus Sounders FC and Toronto FC against New York City as centers of attention.

Without forgetting the one that will star in the Columbus Crew, the only team with three wins, against the surprising Minnesota United and the Orlando City, leader of Group A, against the Montreal Impact, which passed as second best third, since it occupied in the C.

LAFC, as second in Group F, will play next Monday against Sounders FC, who also finished in second place in Group B, where the Eathquakes of San Jose were the revelation as leaders and will seek the pass to the rooms against Real Salt Lake, who finished third in Group D.

Despite the absence of Mexican striker Carlos Vela, LAFC have not missed her by having the young Uruguayan striker Diego Rossi as their leading scorer, who scored four in the game against Galaxy, which they won 6-2, in addition to the veteran English striker. Bradley Wright-Phillips.

While the current MLS Cup champions, the Sounders, have gone from less to more and with the Latin connection of Nicolás Lodeiro and the Peruvian Raúl Ruidíaz they are again a winning team, as they were when last year, both, they faced in the end of the Western Conference that took the equipment from Seattle.

Toronto FC, with the Spanish Alejandro Pozuelo as the undisputed leader, and the scoring nose of the young 20-year-old Ayo Akinola, goalscoring revelation, reach the eighths as leaders of Group C and will face New York City, the last to qualify, thanks to the final draw that the Houston Dynamo had against the Galaxy, which left the Texan team out.

New York City, which ranks fourth best third, a position it held in Group A, remains unconvincing under the leadership of its new Norwegian coach Ronny Deila, who replaced Spanish Domenec Torrent in office.

The team that has convinced and demonstrated that its reconstruction is seriously under the direction of coach Caleb Porter was the Crew, winner of the three games he played in Group E, where he finished with seven goals in favor and none against.

Their duel in the second round against the revalued Minnesota United, second in Group D, will be one of the most interesting of the round of 16.

Other group leaders such as Sporting Kansas City, which was in D; and the Portland Timbers, in the F, will face the Vancouver Whitecaps and FC Cincinnati, respectively.

Among the 16 teams are not some of those who came to the tournament as favorites to fight for the title, such as Atlanta United, the Red Bulls, both last in Group E; the Los Angeles Galaxy at F and the Chicago Fire at B.

Two other teams, FC Dallas and Nashville SC, had to withdraw from the tournament before it began due to the number of players and staff from their respective delegations testing positive for the coronavirus.

The competition schedule for the round of 16 round has already been established with days of two games each starting on Saturday, July 25, which will be played at night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

Complete schedule of round of 16:

July 25: Orlando City (A1) – Montreal Impact (C3).

July 25: Philadelphia Union (A2) – New England Revolution (C2).

July 26: Toronto FC (C1) – NYCFC (A3).

July 26: Sporting Kansas City (D1) – Vancouver Whitecaps (B3).

July 27: San Jose Earthquakes (B1) – Real Salt Lake (D3).

July 27: Seattle Sounders (B2) – LAFC (F2).

July 28: Columbus Crew SC (E1) – Minnesota United (D2).

July 28: Portland Timbers (F1) – FC Cincinnati (E2).

The MLS Return Tournament has served as a preparation for the teams after the break generated since last March 12, due to the coronavirus pandemic, in the regular season when they had played two days, of the 34 that have the calendar full.

In addition, the winner of the tournament will take points that will add up to the general classification of the regular season, will have a guaranteed place in the Concacaf Champions League and $ 1.1 million in cash prize to be distributed among the players of the team champion.