The 2020 MLS Cup Final is set. The Columbus Crew will host the defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders on Saturday night at MAPFRE Stadium for the title. The Sounders won the team’s fourth Western Conference title in five seasons Monday night with an unbelievable come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Minnesota United. Seattle scored in the 89th minute to equalize and in stoppage time to win the conference. The Crew took the Eastern Conference crown Sunday afternoon after a 1-0 victory against the New England Revolution.
This match is a full-circle moment for the Crew, the Sounders and Major League Soccer in what has been the most chaotic season in MLS history coupled with the most chaotic year in most people’s lifetimes. The two sides met at Lumen Field way back on March 7 in just the second match of the MLS regular season before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Back in the early portion of the season, an employee at Lumen Field was diagnosed with coronavirus in the build-up to the eventual 1-1 draw between the two sides. Seattle, Washington was one of the first United States cities infected by COVID-19 and the Crew and Sounders were two of the first franchises in North American sports directly affected by the virus. The match went on with nearly full capacity fans as Gyasi Zardes’ first-half tap-in goal was canceled out by a Raul Ruidiaz penalty in the 79th minute.
Since the Sounders joined MLS in 2009, the Black & Gold have played their MLS rivals 15 times in regular season play. Columbus won four, lost six and drawn five. Of the seven matches, the two teams have played at MAPFRE Stadium, the Crew has won twice with a 3-0 win in 2017 and a 3-2 victory in 2015.
The Sounders could become MLS champions for the third time in the last five MLS seasons, which would establish one of the greatest dynasties in Major League Soccer history. Seattle won MLS Cup in 2016 and 2019 against Toronto FC and lost to TFC in 2017. The Emerald City side is also trying to be the first back-to-back MLS Cup champions since 2012 when the LA Galaxy defeated the Houston Dynamo.
Columbus will try to win its second MLS Cup title in the second and last Final ever to be played at MAPFRE Stadium. The Crew’s lone MLS title came in 2008 with a 3-1 victory against the New York Red Bulls in Carson, California. The last MLS Cup appearance for the Black & Gold was in 2015 where they lost to the then Caleb Porter-led Portland Timbers 2-1 in Columbus.
Now, the battle has been determined. Columbus vs. Seattle. Crew vs. Sounders. Ohio vs. Washington. Saturday, Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. EST, 5 p.m PT on FOX.
All-time MLS Cup Finals:
(* = Extra Time, ** = Penalties)
1996: D.C. United 3-2* LA Galaxy (Foxboro)
1997: D.C. United 2-1 Colorado Rapids (D.C.)
1998: Chicago Fire 2-0 D.C. United (Pasadena)
1999: D.C. United 2-0 LA Galaxy (Foxboro)
2000: Kansas City Wizards 1-0 Chicago Fire (D.C.)
2001: San Jose Earthquakes 2-1* LA Galaxy (Columbus)
2002: LA Galaxy 1-0* New England Revolution (Foxboro)
2003: San Jose Earthquakes 4-2 Chicago Fire (Carson)
2004: D.C. United 3-2 Kansas City Wizards (Carson)
2005: LA Galaxy 1-0* New England Revolution (Frisco)
2006: Houston Dynamo 1-1** New England Revolution (Frisco)
2007: Houston 2-1 New England Revolution (D.C.)
2008: Columbus Crew 3-1 New York Red Bulls (Carson)
2009: Real Salt Lake 1-1** LA Galaxy (Seattle)
2010: Colorado Rapids 2-1* FC Dallas (Toronto)
2011: LA Galaxy 1-0 Houston Dynamo (Carson)
2012: LA Galaxy 3-1 Houston Dynamo (Carson)
2013: Sporting Kansas City 1-1** Real Salt Lake (Kansas City)
2014: LA Galaxy 2-1* New England Revolution (Carson)
2015: Portland Timbers 2-1 Columbus Crew (Columbus)
2016: Seattle Sounders 0-0** Toronto FC (Toronto)
2017: Toronto FC 2-0 Seattle Sounders (Toronto)
2018: Atlanta United 2-0 Portland Timbers (Atlanta)
2019: Seattle Sounders 3-1 Toronto FC (Seattle)
2020: Columbus Crew vs. Seattle Sounders (Columbus)