UPDATE: The announcement that the Columbus Crew will be without starters Darlington Nagbe and Pedro Santos has caused the betting line to move somewhat significantly. While the Crew opened as slight favorites at home, the positions have flopped. The Sounders are now paying out +143 with the Crew at +200 on Draft Kings.
If the Seattle Sounders are to repeat as MLS Cup champions they’ll need to do it on the road against the Columbus Crew. The match will be played at MAPFRE Stadium on Dec. 12 with kickoff scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Oddsmakers and handicappers are deeming this a relative toss-up, with FiveThirtyEight assigning each team a 50% chance of winning and Draft Kings making the Crew very slight favorites (+155-+165).
The Crew won the right to host courtesy of having a slightly better record than the Sounders during the regular season. In 23 matches, the Crew claimed 41 points or 1.78 points per game. The Sounders claimed 39 points in 22 matches, a PPG of 1.77.
Since MLS decided to determine playoff seeding by PPG this year — due to teams playing an uneven number of matches — the Sounders could have moved ahead of the Crew by claiming just one more point during the regular season. The two teams played to a tie in their only meeting this year, back on March 8 in Seattle.
Neither the Sounders nor the Crew have had to play any road matches during the playoffs this year. The Crew beat the New York Red Bulls (3-2), Nashville SC (2-0, AET), and New England Revolution (1-0) on their march to MLS Cup. The Sounders beat LAFC (3-1), FC Dallas (1-0) and Minnesota United (3-2).
The Crew are 12-1-0 at MAPFRE this year, while the Sounders are 3-3-3 on the road.
The Sounders have enjoyed some success in Columbus over the years, going 4-2-1 there. Their most recent success came last year when Nicolas Lodeiro scored a 93rd minute winner.