RECAPS – On the second craziest day of the month in America, Montreal Impact and Inter Miami CF qualified for the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs. MLS Decision Day saw every team in the Eastern Conference play simultaneously, across seven matches. Four of those games involved five teams competing for the final two playoff spots in the conference.
Wild 2020 MLS Decision Day Sees Impact and Inter Make the Playoffs
The day started with Chicago Fire FC and Montreal in the final two playoff spots. Chicago hosted New York City FC. Montreal was on the road against fellow playoff hopeful, D.C. United for a playoff six pointer. Atlanta United FC had a tough matchup, at Columbus Crew SC. Miami had the easiest match, playing at home to eliminated FC Cincinnati.
Miami Dancing in the Rain:
Inter Miami came into Decision Day needing a win and some help from elsewhere. This game took place during a torrential downpour. Goalkeeper John McCarthy reprised the goalkeeper ballcap on 90s MLS culture. Several Inter players had interesting wet jersey looks with Miami wearing their light pink kits.
Set pieces was the name of the game. Mikey Ambrose scored a wicked volley off a second chance off a corner 19 minutes in. Minutes later, Leandro González Pirez got the top of his head on another corner. The ball went up in the air before dropping into the net.
Things got tense in the second half as Joseph-Claude Gyau scored on a fantastic bending shot to the top corner in the 66th minute. With two minutes left in regular time, Andrés Reyes was given a second yellow card of the half. Miami stood tall in the rain, down a man, to see the game out. They did however need some help along Lake Michigan.
Leandro does it again!
Watch the replay of our 2nd goal by Argentine centerback @pirez_leandro 🔥#InterMiamiCF |#DecisionDay pic.twitter.com/7J4NubduNe
— Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) November 8, 2020
Fire Flame out in 4-3 Thriller
Chicago hosting New York City was the game of the day, by far. Djordje Mihailovic nearly opened the score five minutes in but was called offside. Alexander Callens scored on a header off a corner 15 minutes in. Gary Mackay-Steven made it 2-0 scoring on an impossible angle along the end line.
Robert Beric pulled one back for the home side a minute later on a free header right in front of goal. Jesús Medina hit the top corner to make it 3-1 City after that. Przemyslaw Frankowski scored a brace in two minutes, just before halftime. It was 3-3 at the break.
The second half was open with chances for both sides but it was Valentín Castellanos with the only goal. Miguel Ángel Navarro made a poor back pass to the middle of the box on 77 minutes. Castellanos ran onto it unencumbered to score. The match ended 4-3, eliminating the Fire.
.@tatycaste11anos pounces for the lead! 🦁🎥 #DecisionDay pic.twitter.com/pqQVNJs7id
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) November 8, 2020
Atlanta Cannot Contain Columbus:
Of all the matches relevant to the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, this was the least relevant and competitive. The Crew came in wanting to wash the bad taste out of their mouths from losing to Orlando City SC up a man on Wednesday. Lucas Zelarayán danced through the midfield to open the scoring just before the half hour mark. Gyasi Zardes made it 2-0 on a great finish in transition. He was set up on an outlet pass by Artur.
ATLUTD got a consolation goal on a penalty in the 59th minute, scored by Marcelino Moreno. They couldn’t score the two goals needed to get back in the game. The match ended 2-1.
.@gyasinho went 5️⃣-hole! pic.twitter.com/C6YYW7UDF5
— x – Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) November 8, 2020
Montreal Overcome and Hold Back United
Things looked bad for the Impact early on. Clément Diop sustained a knock in the opening minutes but was able to play the rest of the game. Donovan Pines and Ola Kamara scored on powerful headers in the first half. Bojan had a tap in to make it 2-1 at halftime.
Both teams pushed for a result, wanting a win to give them the best chance to make the playoffs. Victor Wanyama tied the game on the 74th minute with a header on a corner. Bill Hamid had no chance at it with Wanyama getting a running start onto the strike to the top corner across goal.
The Impact put the icing on the cake on the counter attack in the 88th minute. Against the run of play, Mustafa Kizza found Mason Toye up field in space. Toye sent a cross in front of goal with traffic. Romell Quioto got to it first to tape in in past Hamid. The match ended 3-2.
Revenir de l’arrière deux fois pour prendre les 3⃣ points. Les faits saillants de notre victoire ⏬
Our playoff clinching win against @dcunited summed up.
2-3 | #DCvMTL | #IMFC pic.twitter.com/F8QLPCk0F4
— Impact de Montréal (@impactmontreal) November 8, 2020
MLS Decision Day Last Word:
With all these MLS Decision Day results, Montreal finish in 9th with Inter Miami getting the last seat at the Eastern Conference playoffs table. The Uniteds, D.C. and Atlanta, as well as Chicago are headed to the off-season.
Chicago may feel hard done by given how well they played at times this year. A critical mistake against a great team cost them. Montreal were certainly deserving with their work ethic and given they had to play Toronto FC so many times. It is a massive accomplishment for Miami to make it given how 2020 has gone.