Three Big Storylines:
- Toronto FC versus New York Red Bulls: Toronto FC take a 2-1 lead back to Toronto looking to advance to the conference finals for the second straight year and stay on track for MLS’s first ever treble having already won the Supporters’ Shield and the Voyageurs Cup (Canadian Championship). Both TFC’s Victor Vazquez and Drew Moor are questionable for the match after picking up injuries in the first leg. Vazquez was second in MLS this season in assists with 16, only behind New York Red Bulls Sacha Kljestan’s 17. Vazquez opened the scoring for TFC in New York before Sebastian Giovinco scored his 14th free kick goal since joining TFC in the 2015 season. Referee: Chris Penso
- New York City FC versus Columbus Crew SC: The Crew might be embroiled in a fight to keep their team in Columbus and thwart their owners plan to move the team to Austin for the 2019 season and beyond, but they did not let that distract them on Halloween night when they put a frightful 4-1 scoreline on visiting New York City FC. This is NYCFC’s second foray into the MLS playoffs as last year they were eliminated over two legs by Toronto FC by the combined score of 7-0. David Villa’s 78th minute consolation goal was their first ever MLS Cup playoff goal. After a stellar regular season campaign NYCFC keeper Sean Johnson let in an extremely soft third goal to Justin Meram in the 69th minute that made the scoreline 3-0 and virtually eliminated any hope of a comeback by Patrick Vieira’s squad. Referee: Kevin Stott
- Portland Timbers versus Houston Dynamo: In a game marred by a horribly beat up field that saw the Portland Timbers use all three substitutes due to injury, the Timbers limp back to the Northwest with a 0-0 draw. Diego Chara is out for this match and Larrys Mabiala (hip), Fanendo Adi (hamstring), Darlington Nagbe (calf), David Guzman (knee), Sebastian Blanco (burns) and M Ben Zemanski (knee) are all listed as questionable. The Dynamo are not without their own challenges as starting keeper Tyler Deric is suspended due to an off field incident meaning Joe Willis will take over. The winner of this series will play the Seattle Sounders for the right to represent the Western Conference in MLS Cup. Referee: Ismail Elfath
From a Sounders Point of View:
The only Eastern Conference team that the Sounders would host MLS Cup over is the New York Red Bulls. Let’s go Red Bulls, ruin that dream season for Toronto FC.
Secondly, it’s just a matter of who do you want to play in the Western Conference Final? The Houston Dynamo or Portland Timbers? The Sounders would have home field advantage and the second leg at home against the Dynamo while they would host the Timbers in the opening leg if they advance. Your author would much prefer to watch the home side clinch a spot in MLS Cup from his seats at Centurylink, go Dynamo!
National TV Listings:
Toronto FC v New York Red Bulls
Date/Time: Sunday, Noon
Streaming: Watch ESPN
New York City FC v Columbus Crew
Date/Time: Sunday, 2 PM
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Portland Timbers v Houston Dynamo
Date/Time: Sunday, 4:30 PM
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
This is your Sounder at Heart MLS Cup Playoffs Conference Semifinals second leg open gamethread. Watch with us.