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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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans loss rests squarely on this decision

Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Getty Images.

There are times in which you gamble and it pays off. Then there are times in which you gamble and lose badly. Today was definitely the latter. The Texans fell to the Titans 42-36 in an overtime thriller. The loss rests squarely on the head of interim head coach Romeo Crennel and his ill-timed gambling at the end of the game.

It started with the gamble to go for it on 4th&1 on the Titans' 35-yard line with 4:37 left in the game. That move said two things: A) we're on the road at 1-4 against the 4-0 division leader up by one point so let's try to end this, or B) I don't trust our kicker to make a 53-yard field goal. They converted because David Johnson is good for slamming into the backs of the offensive line for at least a yard or three. The next gamble came eight plays later. It was 4th & Goal from the 1-yard line. The play call was a pass. Deshaun Watson found Randall Cobb after scrambling to extend the play and putting the ball in a tight window on the sideline where only Cobb could catch it. Here's where I started to have a problem with the gambling.

That touchdown made it 36-29 in favor of the Texans. Up by seven with less than two minutes left in the game, the "right" call would be to kick the extra point to potentially go up by eight. That forces the opposition to have to score a touchdown and convert a two point conversion in order to tie the game. Alas...Crennel gambled by trying to force things, went for two, and came up short. Kenny Rogers once said: You've got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.

The porous defense, however, gave up the game tying touchdown and extra point with four seconds left to send the game into overtime. From there, the Titans got the ball in overtime and drove down the field for the game winning score. A team that played a game on Tuesday evening bullied a team on Sunday at noon. Let that sink in. Sure, Derrick Henry is a linebacker playing running back, but the amount of yards you gave up to him was unacceptable.

Not kicking that extra point to go up by eight with less than two minutes left (1:50 to be exact) was the key coaching move that I feel cost them the game. There's no coming back from blunders like that when you're now 1-5 and would need to go at least 8-2 with tons of help down the stretch to have an outside shot at the newly created seventh spot in the playoffs. You had the division leader down and were in position to get a division win to go to 2-4. Instead, you're now in position to help the Dolphins continue to improve their franchise from the boneheaded decisions Bill O'Brien made before his exit. Crennel and staff coached a good game, until the end when it mattered most. With an extra playoff spot available, they still have an outside shot to make it, but it'll be difficult.

This city and fanbase deserve better. One day, they'll get it and get a winner. Until then unfortunately, they'll have to settle for purgatory, disappointment, and mediocrity. Hold tight. I see good things coming one day Houston football fans.

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