To link every bit of pre-match writing on this would be futile. There's been poetry, personal stories, match previews, the importance of Cups, how to make the Open Cup better, the match card, countdowns, impact assessments, and more.
Seattle Sounders FC has 2 wins and 2 draws v. Columbus, who despite moaning about the Field Turf, have to remember the 4-0 drubbing was on grass, at their stadium. That doesn't mean it will be easy.
The Crew brought us McBride, Friedel, Hejduk and GBS. They have Supporters Shields, MLS Cups and an Open Cup. They brought America its first top-flight soccer specific stadium. They are a team with history at the MLS level.
Seattle is young. We are fresh and new, but with ties to historical clubs as well.
This Cup Final clash will not be determined by history though.
Key 1 - Get Physical with GBS - He's an MVP candidate any year, but he doesn't enjoy Field Turf, he's a bit slow, and while he's gotten use to MLS, he isn't use to physicallity. Bump him off his game, but not enough to give him a Free Kick within 25 yards. Get him in no man's land.
Key 2 - Ekpo is faster than you think is - He troubled Seattle during the last match. He didn't get points from it, but the threats were there. A left back that can stay back and focus on slowing him down is essential. Expect to see that early.
Key 3 - Use Seattle's Flank Speed to Free Space for Montero and Blaise - Steve Zakuani abused the Crew last match, tonight if we can see that from both sides there will be success. Swift flank runs with darting passes through the middle should equal goals for Seattle's two forwards.
Key 4 - We are at home - Use the crowd as inspiration. Score early and let the noise roll down from Brougham, from King, from Occidental, from the Cascades. They will hear us.
Happy birthday to my brother (yesterday), and my father (today).
The March to the Match brought the '09 trophy in with the Emerald City Supporters. GorillaFC joined the full march.
For TV it is FoxSoccer.
Radio is 97.3 FM with Arlo White.
The Winner is in the CCL's next iteration.
This is your gamethread