This is it. After 287 days, the 2020 MLS season comes to a conclusion with the MLS Cup Final between the Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. This dramatic, peculiar and difficult MLS season began on Feb 29 before it was stopped on Mar 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a successful MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, Florida, the regular season resumed and was followed by an exciting MLS Cup Playoffs. Now we are here to crown an MLS Cup champion.
On the home side, you have the Columbus Crew who have had to face adversity throughout 2020 in many forms. After a disappointing 2019 season, the Black & Gold brought in Lucas Zelarayan and Darlington Nagbe into an experienced MLS roster mixed with promising youngsters. Head coach Caleb Porter and his guys started the season with an incredible defense anchored by Jonathan Mensah and were first place in the Supporters’ Shield standings for the first half of the MLS season.
Despite road struggles, the Crew grabbed the three-seed with a stellar home record with goals from Gyasi Zardes and Pedro Santos helping to win those games. After playoff wins over the New York Red Bulls and Nashville SC, Columbus met the New England Revolution for a conference title and won it with Artur’s inch-perfect strike. They now can win the club’s second MLS Cup in front of their fans that helped sav the Crew from relocation two years ago.
On the away side, you have the Seattle Sounders on the brink of becoming one of the great dynasties in Major League Soccer history in its 25th final. The reigning champions were a force to be reckoned with all season with their big three attackers Jordan Morris, Raul Ruidiaz, and Nicolas Lodeiro. That attacking force helped earn manager Brian Schmetzer and Seattle the two-seed in the west behind Sporting Kansas City.
The champions made quick work of Los Angeles FC and FC Dallas in the first two rounds of the playoffs before hosting Minnesota United at Lumen Field for another conference title. The dynasty looked to be over when the Loons led 2-0 with 15 minutes to go. Super-sub Will Bruin brought one back, superstar Raul Ruidiaz equalized and in the dying moments, midfield stalwart Gustav Svensson scored the conference winning goal. After a fourth conference title in five seasons, the Sounders can win a third MLS Cup title and be the first back-to-back winners in nearly a decade.
MLS Cup Previews:
It’s the Crew’s 6th final in history. Save The Crew puts Columbus here today. Sounders are the MLS Cup opponent the Crew needs. Queen Anne’s Revenge continues to give back. Artur is thriving. Keys to a Crew victory tonight. Josh Williams is having his best season.
What the absence of Nagbe and Santos means. Lucas Zelarayan searching for final piece of amazing first season. The squad wants to win for Nagbe and Santos. What goalkeeper decision will be made? Crew has a chance to grow its brand in Columbus. Caleb Porter trying to settle the score from 2015. Betting odds for MLS Cup Final.
Sigi Schmid is the link between the Crew and Sounders. Crew’s options to replace Nagbe and Santos. How the Crew built an MLS Cup finalist squad. Sounders scouting report. Massive Report staff predictions for the game. Journey from 2015 to 2020. Crossing the touchline with Sounder at Heart’s Mark Kastner.
MLS Cup Preview Podcast. Breaking down the Nagbe/Santos news podcast.
Rise #To96ther.— x - Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) December 13, 2020
Our #MLSCup Starting XI pres. by @MAPFREIns:
LET'S GOOOO.— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) December 13, 2020
Our @Delta Starting XI for #MLSCup!!
https://t.co/VGbJUICFtv | #WiredTogether pic.twitter.com/UJ5MZwoDS3
Injuries and suspensions:
Crew: Defender Vito Womgoor, Midfielder Darlington Nagbe, and Attacker Pedro Santos are OUT.
Sounders: Midfielder Danny Leyva is OUT.
How to watch:
Date: Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, 8:30 p.m. ET
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium - Columbus, Ohio
TV: FOX, UniMAS, TUDN, TSN, TVA Sports
Radio: English: 97.1 The Fan - Spanish: Columbus Crew YouTube
Streaming: FOX Sports App
Last five matches:
March 8, 2020: Seattle Sounders 1, Columbus Crew 1 (Lumen Field)
July 6, 2019: Columbus Crew 1, Seattle Sounders 2 (MAPFRE Stadium)
May 5, 2018: Seattle Sounders 0, Columbus Crew 0 (Lumen Field)
May 31, 2017: Columbus Crew 3, Seattle Sounders 0 (MAPFRE Stadium)
April 30, 2016: Seattle Sounders 1, Columbus Crew 0 (Lumen Field)
MLS Cup Records:
Columbus Crew (1-1)
2008: Columbus Crew 3, New York Red Bulls 1
2015: Portland Timbers 2, Columbus Crew 1
Seattle Sounders (2-1)
2016: Seattle Sounders 0, Toronto FC 0 (Sounders won on penalties)
2017: Toronto FC 2, Seattle Sounders 0
2019: Seattle Sounders 3, Toronto FC 1
All-Time MLS Cup Winners:
5 - LA Galaxy (2002, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2014)
4 - D.C. United (1996, 1997, 1999, 2004)
2 - Houston Dynamo (2006, 2007)
2 - Seattle Sounders (2016, 2019)
2 - Sporting Kansas City (2000, 2013)
2 - San Jose Earthquakes (2001, 2003)
1 - Chicago Fire (1998)
1 - Toronto FC (2017)
1 - Colorado Rapids (2010)
1 - Columbus Crew (2008)
1 - Portland Timbers (2015)
1 - Real Salt Lake (2009)
1 - Atlanta United (2018)