The roundup of the final day of the 2023 Major League Soccer regular season starts with Charlotte beating Inter Miami 1-0 at home. Kerwin Vargas scored in the 13th and Kristijan Kahlina kept the clean sheet with three saves. Charlotte finished in 9th-place to claim the final playoff spot while Inter Miami finished 14th.
“When we arrived, we had two competitions in which we had the potential to compete well: the League Cup and the US Open Cup,” Inter Miami coach Tata Martino said. “We were also involved in a tournament where we were in a complicated situation. Of the three tournaments, one was won by Inter Miami,” said head coach Gerardo’ Tata’ Martino. “If, at the time of signing, you had told me that we were going to win one of the three tournaments, I would have certainly signed with my eyes closed.”
Columbus beat Montreal 2-1 at home after falling behind to a 7th minute Sunusi Ibrahim goal. Cucho Hernandez equalized for the Crew in the 17th and Darlington Nagbe scored in the 50th minute. Columbus finished in 3rd-place with Montreal 10th.
“We had been in the thick of the playoff race for several weeks,” Montreal coach Hernan Losada said. “We told ourselves before the match that we had come here to win because we did not want to depend on other results. But it was on the basis of 34 games that we failed to qualify. This group put in a lot of effort and we gave it our all. The group deserved to play the Wild Card match. We represented this club with honour in every situation. I’d like to thank all the staff, because we gave it our all until the very end.”
FC Cincinnati and Atlanta drew 2-2 at TQL Park. Georgios Giakoumakis scored for Atlanta in the 12th and Cincinnati’s Dominique Badji equalized in the 25th. Giakoumakis returned the Atlanta lead in the 32nd with Luciano Acosta equalizing two minutes into first-half stoppage time. United’s Thiago Almada saw red in the 51st minute. Cincinnati finished 1st in the East with Atlanta 6th.
“It should feel like more pressure, you know, you’ve won a trophy already,” Cincinnati coach Pat Noonan said. “And so people, teams will look at that and say, the expectation is to go and do it again. That’s our expectation in our pursuit of winning another trophy. So it should feel a little different. That’s okay. And these guys have stepped up all year.”
The Red Bulls won 1-0 at Nashville with John Tolkin converting a penalty four minutes into stoppage time. Red Bulls goalkeeper Carlos Coronel made four saves to record the shutout. Nashville finished 7th with New York in 8th.
New England beat Philadelphia 2-1 at home. The Union took the lead from a 16th minute Julian Carranza goal. Gustavo Bou equalized from the penalty spot in the 25th and scored again in the 41st minute. The Revs finished in 5th-place tied on points with 4th-place Philadelphia.
“All we’re looking for is understanding, clarity, and that we’re on the same page,” interim New England coach Clint Peay said. “We want to make
sure that what we’re asking the guys to do, they feel they’re capable of doing it, and hearing how they feel about certain things. I think at the end of the day, it’s a game about the players. They’re the guys who have to execute, and you want to make sure that they feel comfortable in doing whatever it is that you’re asking them to do.”
NYCFC shutout Chicago 1-0 at Citi Field. Julian Fernandez scored for New York in the 64th and Matt Freese kept the clean sheet with three saves. NYCFC finished 11th to Chicago’s 13th.
“That’s the thing when it comes down to this last day, anything can happen,” Chicago coach Frank Klopas said. “They hit one shot. It’s the goal of the year maybe for them. And then, you know, we create enough chances but it just doesn’t go in tonight and we don’t want to be put in that situation.”
Orlando City won 2-0 at Toronto with Duncan McGuire scoring in the 63rd and 74th minutes. Mason Stajduhar kept the clean sheet with three saves. Toronto finished 14th with Orlando in 2nd-place.
FC Dallas beat the Galaxy 4-1 on the road. Bernard Kamungo scored for Dallas in the 3rd and Ema Twumasi doubled the lead in the 13th. LA’s Raheem Edwards pulled a goal back in the 24th but Kamungo scored again in the 30th. Jader Obrian scored Dallas’s fourth goal two minutes into first-half stoppage time. Dallas finished 7th with the Galaxy 13th.
“Well, I think the first chance we had, we scored and this gives the team confidence,” FC Dallas coach Nico Estevez said. “And I think the chances were very clear, as we all also had in some of those games that we couldn’t score a second goal. And I’m glad and I’m really, really proud of the group, of the team, because this year has been a difficult year with a lot of adversity. We know how hard we have worked, how much we have suffered and how much we didn’t deserve to be in the last day just trying to get that playoff spot. And I’m really, really proud of the other players.”
Houston won 3-1 at Portland, taking the lead from an 11th minute Griffin Dorsey goal. Adalberto Carrasquilla made it 2-0 in the 48th and Dorsey scored again for Houston in the 71st. Portland’s Felipe Mora scored in the 80th minute. Houston finished 4th with Portland 10th.
Sporting Kansas City beat Minnesota 3-1 at home. Johnny Russell put Sporting up in the 28th, Remi Walter doubled the lead in the 31st, and Russell scored again in the 78th. United’s Michael Boxall scored in the 82nd minute. Kansas City finished 8th to Minnesota’s 11th.
Vancouver and LAFC drew 1-1 at BC Place. Denis Bouanga put LA up in the 34th and Ali Ahmed equalized for the Whitecaps in the 58th. Vancouver finished 6th with LAFC 3rd.
Real Salt Lake won 1-0 at Colorado with Diego Luna scoring in the 74th. RSL goalkeeper Zac MacMath made six saves to keep the clean sheet. Salt Lake finished 5th with Colorado 14th.
San Jose and Austin finished 1-1 with Austin’s Cristian Espinoza scoring in the 17th. Austin’s Owen Wolff equalized in the 32nd.
“We are not over-celebrating anything,” San Jose coach Luchi Gonzalez said. “We were unlucky not to score, but I’m proud of my guys to push it and show a winning mentality and winning actions. Being over the [playoff] line is a great validation to the team, the staff, and the fans’ hard work and desire to get better. I see a lot of progress. We want to take it to the next step, and we have the opportunity. This is a league where there are always upsets in playoffs and we need to answer the question now of whether we want to be one of those teams.”
Seattle shutout St Louis 2-0 at home. Albert Rusnak scored for Seattle in the 23rd and an own-goal doubled the lead in the 38th. St Louis finished 1st with Seattle 2nd.
Photo by Angel Marchini – ISIPhotos.com