For the first time since 2003, the league’s top two teams are facing off in MLS Cup. It’s not just two good teams either, LAFC and the Philadelphia Union both have arguments for being among the best regular-season teams in MLS history.
Both teams finished with 67 points, a total that has only been eclipsed by five other teams in MLS history. In a truly just world, the Union would have actually won the Shield based on their +46 goal-difference — the second-best mark in league history behind LAFC’s 2019 campaign — but they lost the tiebreaker, which is total wins. LAFC’s 21 wins rank as the third-highest total of the post-shootout era, and just one less than the record.
Making this matchup even more enticing is that the two teams play different styles and were built in totally different ways. The Union, who still led the league with 72 goals, mostly do it through pressing and have a suffocating defense that allowed just 26 goals, a record for a 34-game season. Their roster is a mish-mash of players brought through the academy and draft, ones they found on bargain transfers and a bunch of players who blew away expectations.
LAFC are more of a pure offensive team, also skewing a bit young but more filled out with conventionally high-priced players. Carlos Vela, Chicho Arango and Denis Bouanga form one of the all-time front lines and helped LAFC score 66 goals on the year.
Neutrals should have no problem finding an angle to focus on, but Sounders fans will probably be rooting for the Union if for no other reason than it keeps LAFC without their most desired prize.
How to watch
Kickoff: 1:05 PM
TV: Fox, Univision, TUDN
Streaming: Fubo TV (affiliate link)