The Seattle Sounders and Columbus Crew will contest the Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup Final at 8:30 PM ET tonight on FOX. Seattle seems to have all the momentum after a stunning comeback in the semifinals. With only 15 minutes left in the match, the Sounders trailed Minnesota United, 0–2. Three goals later, including an 89th-minute putback and an injury-time header, they had advanced to the Cup Final. Moreover, two of Columbus’ strongest midfielders have been declared “not medically cleared to play” after testing positive for Coronavirus. The Sounders are expected to play with their full starting roster.
Though both teams are familiar with the limelight, the Sounders have been dominant recently, appearing in four of the past five Cup Finals. With a win tonight, they would become only the third team to win three titles, after DC United and the LA Galaxy. Some argue that this feat would crown them one of MLS’s few true dynasties.
Still, Columbus’ consistent play and solid coaching has carried them through a difficult season filled with concessions to the Coronavirus pandemic. They have not given up a goal in their last 210 minutes of playoff action, an impressive defensive streak they hope to continue tonight. It has been twelve years since the Crew’s last title, but their head coach Caleb Porter took the Portland Timbers to a Cup win — over Columbus — in 2015.
Eighteen teams qualified for this year’s playoffs, each playing knockout matches against division rivals. The Sounders and Crew began as the second and third seed in their divisions, and each defeated three playoff opponents to reach the final.
At times the Coronavirus pandemic made this season seem unlikely, but now that the Cup Final has arrived we can sit back and enjoy it. Whether Seattle cements its legacy, or the underdog Columbus comes up with an unexpected win, tonight’s match is sure to be hard fought. If the Sounders win, they will solidify their dominance over the MLS, but, if the Crew can come away with the victory, they will prove their resilience on the league’s biggest stage.