The 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs kicked off in fine style on Wednesday night with two hugely entertaining games full of drama and great goals. Last year’s MLS Cup finalists were both eliminated at the first hurdle to set the tone for what should be a playoff run full of unpredictability.
DC United and the Seattle Sounders managed to make the most of home-field advantage by advancing past the knockout rounds and will now play at home in the first-leg of their conference semifinals on Sunday night.
DC came from behind to beat New England Revolution 2-1 at RFK Stadium in a game that could have ended 5-5, especially after the amount of chances both sides had in the first half.
Both goalkeepers were in inspired form as Bill Hamid and Bobby Shuttleworth kept producing save after save.
But Hamid was helpless to Juan Agudelo’s sublime opener, which might just be the best goal any MLS player has scored in 2015.
The Revs seemed in control after taking the lead but couldn’t find the much-needed second goal and were ultimately punished as DC got a vital equaliser before half time as Chris Pontius headed in a Fabian Espindola free-kick to level things.
DC then missed a second half penalty as Chris Rolfe hit the post but he would be celebrating not too long after as he slotted in the winner seven minutes from time.
Jermaine Jones was sent off in stoppage time for grabbing referee Mark Geiger after he felt the Revs should have had a late penalty for a possible handball in the box as the night ended in misery for last season’s runners-up.
The drama didn’t stop there as Seattle and LA Galaxy put on a real show at CenturyLink Field in the night’s late game. The Sounders ended up sealing a 3-2 win in a match that saw 24 shots fired between the two sides.
The game exploded into life with two goals in the first six minutes as Clint Dempsey’s opener was immediately cancelled out by Sebastian Lletget. Nelson Valdez then put Seattle back in front in the 12th minute before Gyasi Zardes levelled ten minutes later.
It then took until the 73rd minute to find another goal. But it proved to be the all-important one as Erik Friberg fired in from outside the box after some poor LA defending to send the reigning champions out of the playoffs.
Seattle will face either FC Dallas or the Vancouver Whitecaps in their Western Conference semifinal first-leg on Sunday.
DC will either host the New York Red Bulls or the Columbus Crew, who they lost 5-0 to on Sunday.
There are two more MLS Cup Playoff knockout games tonight. Montreal Impact host Toronto FC before Portland Timbers face Sporting Kansas City.
What did you make of the opening night of the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs?