After a drama-filled Round One of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs, the field for the Conference Semifinals is set. Following a brief Thanksgiving break, the action picks back up in earnest with two Eastern Conference matchups on Sunday. Here's what to watch for.
Orlando City (4) vs. New England Revolution (8)
Sun., Nov. 29, at 3 pm ET | ABC, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN, TVA Sports in Canada
After two dramatic upsets on Tuesday, both Orlando and New England will go into their Eastern semifinal fully believing a place in MLS Cup can be theirs. Orlando, in the playoffs for the first time in their history, will now get to host the semifinal after the East’s top two seeds were toppled. But their incredible shootout win over NYCFC came at a cost, with goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and defender Ruan set to be sidelined through suspension after picking up red cards.
And they’ll be facing a team in New England that will fear no one after their commanding brushing-aside of Supporters’ Shield winners Philadelphia. With Carles Gil showing why he’s an elite MLS playmaker and fellow DPs Gustavo Bou and Adam Buksa in similarly impressive form, few would bet against the Revs and Bruce Arena.
Columbus Crew (3) vs. Nashville SC (7)
Sun., Nov. 29, at 8 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN, TVA Sports in Canada
How far can Nashville go? After ousting heavyweights Toronto FC on Tuesday, the first-year expansion club are eyeing a fairytale run all the way to MLS Cup. And following a performance in which they not just beat but outplayed a team that have gone to the championship game in three of the last four years, they have reason to believe their run isn’t done yet.
But Columbus, too, will be setting their sights on the big prize. With Philadelphia also exiting on Tuesday, the Crew are now the top seed remaining in the East. And while they had a nervy finale against the New York Red Bulls in Round One, they showed the quality that made them the Shield race leaders for much of 2020.
Seattle Sounders (2) vs. FC Dallas (6)
Tue., Dec. 1, at 9:30 pm ET | FS1, Fox Deportes in US; TSN, TVA Sports in Canada
After calmly dispatching of LAFC, the Seattle Sounders will face another rematch from their glorious run to the 2019 MLS Cup. And memories of that 4-3 thriller 13 months ago will ensure that no one in Rave Green will be taking FC Dallas lightly. Luchi Gonzalez’s gang are now a year older and wiser, boosted by quality additions like Franco Jara, Andres Ricaurte and Thiago Santos and battle-hardened following their shootout win over the Portland Timbers in Round 1.
But, with Raul Ruidiaz, Nico Lodeiro and Jordan Morris in the form they showed against LAFC, can anyone stop Seattle from a fourth MLS Cup appearance in five years?
Sporting Kansas City (1) vs. Minnesota United (4)
Wed., Dec. 2, at 9 pm ET | FS1, Fox Deportes in US; TSN, TVA Sports in Canada
The West’s top seed, Sporting Kansas City survived a rollercoaster Round One matchup against the San Jose Earthquakes that was eventually settled by Tim Melia’s shootout heroics. On Wednesday, they will have their work cut out once more on against a Minnesota side that impressively dispatched the Colorado Rapids, 3-0.
That victory was the Loons' first-ever in the playoffs, but with the attacking trio of Kevin Molino, Bebelo Reynoso and Robin Lod shining they will have ambitions of going even further. Perhaps the biggest question for SKC: Will striker Alan Pulido be available?