MLS playoffs begin with Nashville, New England wins behind terrific goals

MLS playoffs
Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The hosts triumphed in a pair of play-in games to kickstart the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs on Saturday.

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Nashville SC won a battle of expansion teams against COVID-19 hit Inter Miami while old hat Bruce Arena’s New England Revolution handled its business against a Montreal Impact that’s been away from home for most of the season.

New England Revolution 2-1 Montreal Impact

Gustavo Bou’s wonderful stoppage-time winner drove Arena’s Revs past Thierry Henry’s Impact in the latter’s playoff debut as a manager.

Bou had assisted Carles Gil’s early goal as the Revs led 1-0 at the break, but Romell Quioto had an answer just after the hour mark.

New England now heads into a Tuesday match with Supporters’ Shield winners Philadelphia Union.

Montreal has not played in Canada since mid-September due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions at the American border.

What a nice bit of technique here.

Nashville SC 3-0 Inter Miami CF

Randall Leal’s hammered goal gave Nashville SC an early lead that would not be threatened as the Tennessee set won its first MLS Cup Playoffs appearance.

Hany Mukhtar scored 10 minutes later from the spot. The two-goal 24th-minute cushion lasted until Dax McCarty scored in the 57th minute.

Miami was without Gonzalo Higuain, Federico Higuain, and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, reportedly on account of a trio of failed COVID-19 tests.

Diego Alonso’s team could not break down Gary Smith’s disciplined side led by Walker Zimmerman, named MLS Defender of the Year earlier this week.

Nashville moves on to face Toronto FC on Tuesday.

Leal’s goal was, is, and will remain absurd.