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MLS Cup Playoffs: FC Cincinnati and LA Galaxy advance

The MLS Cup Playoffs are officially underway and the first day of action featured no shortage of drama. FC Cincinnati came from behind to upset the New York Red Bulls 2-1 thanks to a cool finish from Brandon Vazquez while Julián Araujo was the hero for the LA Galaxy as they beat Nashville SC 1-0. 

FC Cincinnati 2-1 New York Red Bulls

A stunning comeback against the Red Bulls illustrated just how good this Cincinnati team can be. After VAR disallowed a goal for Cincinnati just after the hour mark, Alvaro Barreal earned a penalty kick just ten minutes later which was then converted by Luciano Acosta to level the score at 1-1. 

The winner came in the 86th minute, courtesy of Vazquez. Sérgio Santos got on to the end of a through ball and found the young American’s streaking run forward. A beautiful cross in was slotted home from ten yards out to break Red Bull hearts. 

Cincinnati scored the fourth-best attack in MLS this season and the front three of Brenner, Vazquez, and Acosta combined for 46 goals and 33 assists. A massive jump from last year's worst side in the league.

The Red Bulls had scored the first goal of the MLS Cup Playoffs just after halftime, as Lewis Morgan let fly from distance, picking out the top corner. Cincinnati’s goalkeeper, Roman Celentano, was left helpless as Morgan’s magnificent effort sailed past him, giving New York the lead at home.

Cincinnati will face the top seed in the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia Union, in Philadelphia on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 8:00 p.m. ET. That match will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes.

LA Galaxy 1-0 Nashville SC

Los Angeles managed to keep this season’s top scorer Hany Mukhtar at bay as they cruised past a disappointing Nashville side. The Galaxy thought they had taken the lead in the second half with a swift counterattack finished off by Chicharito, but a foul in the build-up controversially meant the goal would be disallowed. 

There was no debate at the hour mark as Julián Araujo put his stamp on the match. Initially, Araujo came dangerously close as he chipped a cross over Nashville’s stranded keeper, striking the outside of the post. The Galaxy recycled possession and less than a minute later French winger Samuel Grandsir found the Mexican international with a perfect cross that Araujo headed home from close range for his first goal of the season.

Nashville wasn’t able to put together a real threat for the rest of the match and every shot was either a comfortable save for LA’s keeper Jonathan Bond or off target completely. 

The win ensures we will be treated to another rendition of El Tráfico as the Galaxy will travel across town to face the Supporters’ Shield winners LAFC on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 10:00 p.m. ET. That match will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes.

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