Playoff Roundup: Conference Quarterfinals
Unsurprising Saturday; crazy Sunday
The thing about playoffs is that pretty much anything can happen. Obviously, they are slanted in favor of the stronger teams over the course of the season, but that doesn’t mean they will work out that way. The regular season is a long hard slog; playoffs are win at all costs. This past weekend we got both. All four games on Saturday went to to the higher seed; the two on Sunday went to the lower seed, and in wild fashion.
Tampa Bay Rowdies 3-1 The Miami FC
It took 50 minutes to get the breakthrough, but Tampa’s Seba Guenzatti eventually got the first of this two goals in the game. Miami’s Joaquin Rivas tied it up 5 minutes later, but then a golazo by Nicky Law, followed by Seba’s second locked it up for the Rowdies. The game was not an especially entertaining affair, but then playoff games can be cagey at times.
Memphis 901 3-1 Detroit City
The same scoreline, and the same close play for even longer: Memphis sub Chris Allan opened the scoring in the 72nd minute, only to see Detroit’s Yazeed Matthews score just 5 minutes later. Memphis finally took the lead in the 88th minute when Graham Smith netted on a header that Nate Steinwascher would normally have stopped, and finished with an open goal score by Phillip Goodrum just as time expired.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks 3-0 Rio Grande Valley Toros
A much more dominant performance by the home team in this one, which once again ended up with 3 goals. Again, all 3 were scored late: after the 83rd minute in fact, starting with Jairo Henriquez and a brace by Aaron Wheeler. Rio Grande’s impressive close to the season comes to an end, and they didn’t look like they really had much of a chance in this game.
Sacramento Republic 2-0 New Mexico United
Back to even contests in this one, and another game with no score in the first half. Maalique Foster changed that 2 minutes into the second half, and Keko Gontan added a second in the 74th, although it probably took a deflection off Luther Archimede’s arm and shouldn’t have counted. In the end it made no difference as despite their efforts, New Mexico managed just 1 shot on goal all night.
Birmingham Legion 2(7)-2(8) Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Well, you all know how this one went, and we’ll have a more in-depth look at it later.
San Diego Loyal 0-3 Oakland Roots
The only first half goal of the round was scored by Oakland’s Charlie Dennis in the 36th minute. Lindo Mfeka added a second in the 52nd. The Roots were clearly the better team all night, and then late on the wheels came off completely for the Loyal. In the 76th San Diego’s Thomas Amang and Oakland’s Jose Hernandez both got shown yellow for an off-the ball confrontation, but Amang decided to immediately follow that up by poking Hernandez in the eye and getting ejected. Alejandro Guido also got a yellow for some involvement in the same incident, and that was his second, so he was booted as well. Then in the 87th Grant Stoneman also picked up a second yellow and the Loyal finished the game with just 8 men. Matias Fissore added a 3rd in stoppage time and the Roots go on to San Antonio.