GOAL!

Audi to donate $1,000 for every goal scored during MLS is Back Tournament

Audi Field is home to DC United. Audi has its U.S. headquarters near the stadium. Photo courtesy of Audi AG

This article originally appeared on AutomotiveMap.

Sports are back! The PBR and NASCAR were among the first. Heck, even MLB finally got its act together. Now, MLS is ready to kick off their season with a little help from Audi.

During the MLS is Back Tournament, the way the league is opening their abbreviated season this year, Audi will donate $1,000 to MLS Academies for every goal scored. During the finale, the company is committing to $5,000 per goal. Additionally, Audi will contribute $10,000 to the Academy represented by the MLS is Back Tournament Golden Boot winner (the tournament's leading goal scorer).

Earlier this year, the MLS Academies program added 64 teams. Photo courtesy of Major League Soccer

During the tournament, each MLS club will play three competition matches as part of the Group Sage. The MLS club roster was divided into six groups via random draw: one group of six teams and five groups of four teams. Each group is lettered A through F. According to fresh MLB rules, clubs in Groups B though F will play their inter-group opponents once during the Group Stage, Group A will play three of the possible five Group opponents.

Clubs were seeded based on their standing at the end of the 2019 season.

Dallas, which was part of Group B, was recently dropped from the tournament due to a rise in COVID-19 cases within the team. The schedule continues to be shifted as more cases are discovered within various teams.

During the Group Stage, clubs earn three points for a win, one point for a tie, and no points for a loss. Standings will only take into consideration the Group Stage matches, and not regular season matches already played. These matches count toward the team's 2020 MLS Regular Season standings and Competition standings.

Knockout Stage Competition Matches will not count toward the club's Regular Season standings. The Knockout Stage consists of 4 rounds: the Round of 16, Quarterfinals, Semifinals and the Final.

Earlier this year, the MLS Academies program got a large boost in participants with 64 academy clubs that formerly participated in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy strategically aligning themselves with MLS's existing club academies structure as part of a player development platform. The U.S. and Canada-based teams total now sits at 94. During the 2019 season, MLS invested $70 million in the program.

Continue on AutomotiveMap to learn how Audi's commitment to the Academies extends into the regular season.

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Yordan Alvarez's homer in Wednesday's game gave him 100 RBI on the season. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Winners of three straight, six of their last seven, and eight of their last ten, the Astros had the chance to move yet another game closer to clinching their playoff spot if they could secure the series with a win against the Angels on Wednesday. Even though it looked as though they were headed towards a loss in extra innings, they would ultimately come out ahead.

Final Score (12 innings): Astros 9, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 91-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yimi Garcia (4-9)

Losing Pitcher: Sam Selman (0-1)

Garcia goes six shutout innings

Although he didn't have swing-and-miss dominance in this start, Luis Garcia could still capitalize on a struggling Angels offense and post a shutout quality start against them. He allowed three walks and three hits throughout his outing but stranded all of them while getting outs on balls in play. His final line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 79 P.

Alvarez reaches 100 RBI as Houston's offense keeps rolling

That performance had Garcia in line for the win, as two homers handed him a 3-0 advantage which he held. Houston once again used early offense to take a first-inning lead, as a leadoff walk by Jose Altuve turned into a monster 456-foot by Yordan Alvarez, pushing him to 100 RBI on the season. The score held at 2-0 until the top of the fifth, when Jason Castro led that frame off with a solo homer to extend the lead to three runs.

Extras in Anaheim

Phil Maton was first out of Houston's bullpen in the bottom of the seventh, but a single, double, and walk loaded the bases with no outs to put him in a jam. A lineout kept the runners put for the first out, but a single and a walk would make it a one-run game and left the bases loaded as Maton would get pulled.

Kendall Graveman entered to try and stop the bleeding, but after a force out at home to put that within reach, Jack Mayfield came through for Los Angeles with a go-ahead three-run double, giving the Angels their first lead of the series at 5-3. In the top of the eighth, a walk by Alex Bregman brought Alvarez back to the plate, and he would nearly miss a game-tying homer and instead got an RBI-single to make it 5-4.

Alvarez would still come in to tie the game, hustling home from second on an RBI single by Yuli Gurriel to knot things up 5-5. Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he sat down LA in order with two strikeouts. Still tied in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly came in to force extras, and despite being shadowed by the winning run on the bases after a leadoff single, retired the next three batters to send the game to the tenth.

Astros keep battling and take it in the twelfth

Jake Meyers took second base as Houston's free runner in the top of the tenth, but he would go nowhere as the Astros went down in order, giving the Angels another chance at a walk-off. Instead of giving Shohei Ohtani a free pass immediately, Houston would let Blake Taylor throw two balls to him before giving him the intentional walk.

Taylor then gave up a single to load the bases with no outs, and after getting a force out at home for the first out, Yimi Garcia would replace him. Thanks to a great play by Chas McCormick, giving him multiple in the game, the Astros would live to see another inning as he would make a great catch in right field and then throw out Ohtani at home.

In the top of the eleventh, a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel moved Aledmys Diaz to third, but that's as close as Houston would come, leaving them stuck at five runs. After Garcia retired three more batters in the bottom of the eleventh, the game moved to the twelfth, where Houston would get back in front on an RBI single by Jake Meyers, then padded the new lead on a two-RBI double by Jose Altuve, who would also score on a sac fly by Alex Bregman, making it 9-5. Josh James came in and wrapped things up in the bottom half as Houston secured the series victory and reduced their magic number to two against Oakland and three against Seattle.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game series, and the last time these two teams will meet this year, will be an 8:38 PM Central start on Thursday. The expected pitching matchup is Alex Cobb (8-3, 3.59 ERA) for Los Angeles and Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.11 ERA) for Houston.

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