Later this afternoon, either the Columbus Crew or the New England Revolution will have punched a ticket to MLS Cup. The idea of either one of these teams winning it all is stomach-turning to most Chicago Fire fans, but is there a lesser of two evils here? And, with the Seattle Sounders and Minnesota United out West, are those options much better?
Let’s start with the East. Columbus hosts the Revs (2 p.m. CT, ABC) with a spot in the final on the line. The Crew are the slight favorites (+160 vs. +170), but I think Bruce Arena’s Revs are going to find a way to win on the road today.
So what’s the more tolerable option here? If Columbus wins, we’ll get to watch the replays all week of Gyasi Zardes’ inevitable lucky goal scored with his neck or hip or whatever he comes up with this time. “Can you believe it? The ball hit a bird mid-air, Randy Johnson-style, and then bounced off Zardes’ cheek for the goal! Get Berhalter on the line right now!”
A Revs win means a week of smug Bruce Arena news conferences, which is the more enjoyable option for me. As much as his job in Couva still drives me nuts, I do find him hilarious when he’s sparring with reporters. Plus, the Revs proved this season that getting your Designated Players right is vital in this league, and they did just that with Gustavo Bou, Adam Buksa, and Carles Gil. I feel like a Revs win is slightly easier to stomach here.
In the West, we’ll have to wait until Monday night to see who’s going to MLS Cup. The Seattle Sounders (surprise!) host Minnesota United (an actual, non sarcastic surprise) at 8:30 p.m. CT on FS1.
The Sounders are bordering on dynasty territory, and securing another spot in yet another MLS Cup won’t be surprising. Yes, they were essentially gifted Clint Dempsey by the league several years ago, but since then they’ve done virtually everything right to maintain their level of success. They’re the club the Fire should be striving to become.
Minnesota earned a spot in the conference final off a pair of solid 3-0 wins over Colorado and Sporting Kansas City. Because of the conference divide, the Loons have yet to form any kind of great rivalry with the Fire, so I wouldn’t feel horrible if they won. If anything, Minnesota’s success proves the Fire can make a run next season if they just get things right, and have a bit of luck. Adrian Heath will love to hear this, but his team really is the underdog going into this match (-134 vs. +300), and I expect Seattle to come out on top.
From a Fire fan’s standpoint, I don’t think either team is particularly harder to stomach than the other. But Seattle is probably more likely to beat either of the teams in the East, which is what we should want here. Plus, after all we’ve lived with in 2020, watching the Sounders win it again won’t be nearly the worst thing we’ve seen this year.