Three Big Storylines:
- The Portland Timbers travel to Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas with a 3-1 lead on FC Dallas. Each of the opening legs of the Conference Finals were packed stadium and sellouts that lead to great atmospheres. Additionally the New York Red Bulls have been vocal about selling out their stadium today, but there are still tickets available in Dallas. With the weather predicted to be 42 degrees and 100% chance of rain at kickoff, it will be interesting to see how well FC Dallas can sell tickets with three weeks advance notice.
- Columbus Crew SC opened the Conference Finals with the fastest goal in MLS Cup Playoff history as Justin Merran scored 9 seconds after kickoff. The Crew dominated the rest of the game and forced Dax McCarty into probably the worst game of his season. Federico Higuain drifted throughout space and set up chances but the Crew could not create another goal and New York Red Bulls looked to get out with a manageable 1-0 deficit. Until Cedrick Mabwati subbed on in the 80th minute and subsequently dribbled by a prone Dax McCarty and Gonzalo Veron forcing a Luis Robles save that Kei Kamara tapped in from two feet for the 2-0 lead.
- MLS Cup is hosted by the higher seed. That list goes New York Red Bulls, FC Dallas, Columbus Crew SC and Portland Timbers. The Crew and Timbers finished with identical 15-11-8 (W-L-D) records. The Crew own the tiebreaker over the Timbers by virtue of their +5 Goal Differential compared to +2 for the Timbers. If you are a person that likes to get out the tin foil hat and talk MLS conspiracy, today's comment thread will be a prime spot if NYRB gets a few early calls. It is no secret that MLS HQ, based in New York City, would love to have MLS Cup hosted at beautiful Red Bull Arena. League HQ would probably have Portland be second choice, but that can not happen.
From a Sounders Point of View:
You are probably cheering for the Timbers to lose.
I will be moving on and keeping an eye on the Seattle U at Syracuse game and Stanford hosting Ohio State in the NCAA Soccer Men's tournament quarterfinals because each team has Sounders academy alumni.
National TV Listings:
FC Dallas v Portland Timbers
Sunday, 2 PM
TV: ESPN and ESPN Deportes
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Broadcast Info: Adrian Healey and Taylor Twellman on the call.
New York Red Bulls v Columbus Crew SC
TV: Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
Broadcast Info: John Strong and Alexi Lalas on the call. Rob Stone, Brad Friedel and Julie Stewart-Binks with an on site studio.
Here is your Sounder at Heart MLS Cup Conference Final second leg playoff gamethread. Watch with us.