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Crew Hosts Sounders

Photo Credit https://www.soundersfc.com/post/2020/11/09/mls-announces-audi-2020-mls-cup-playoffs-round-one-schedule

In what is known as a COVID 19 season for the Major League Soccer League after following a season of games played within the bubble it appears that both teams heading into the final are healthy. 

Overall one might mention that the league did a great job keeping the regular season intact managing to get the playoffs played narrowing 20 teams down to two that will see an impressive league championship final.between the Seattle Sounders and the Columbus Crew.

Seattle enters the championship match winning four of the last five years with the most recent being last year in Seattle, while Columbus currently are holding down a 210-minute shutout streak which should do well against Seattle who are 3-3-3 on the road this year.

The Seattle Sounders are again the Western Conference Champions and finished the season tied with Sporting Kansas City for the top spot in the regular season with 39 points. 

The top spot was eventually decided by a tiebreaker both gaining home field advantages in the postseason as Kansas City had one more win with 12 compared to the Sounders 11.

Seattle’s season record of 11-5-6 in the regular season to finish second behind Sporting KC scoring 44 goals on offence and allowing just 23 against in 22 games in the strangest 2020 season ever.

Seattle has managed to win the Audi Cup Championship twice in MLS history in 2016 in a shootout over Toronto FC at BMO field and in 2019 with a win over Atlanta, while Columbus defeated the Portland Timbers for their first title in 2015.

The Seattle franchise record while under the guidance of Brian Schmidt has won 15 consecutive home playoff home games in Franchise history, a MLS record in his tenure on the bench.

On the road to the Western Conference Championship this season Seattle opened with a 3-1 win over Los Angeles Football Club November 24th followed by a 3-2 win over Minnesota on December 7th in the Western Semi-Final to advance to the MLS Audi Cup Final.

Columbus Crew managed to finish third in the Eastern Conference with a record of 12-6-5 in 23 games scoring 36 times while allowing just 21 goals against and are looking for their championship in franchise history since 2015.

The road for the Columbus Crew saw them defeat the New York Red Bulls (November 21st) 3-2 that was followed up with wins over Nashville in the semi-finals advancing them to Eastern final against New England December 6th with a 1-0 win to advance to the Audi Cup for only the second time in their history.

Caleb Porter told the media that “He had a dream when he accepted the position of Columbus Crew SC coach. It was to return to MLS Cup, to have the match played at MAPFRE Stadium and for Columbus to celebrate another MLS Cup champion. 

Seattle played host to Columbus on March 7  that saw both clubs play to a 1-1 draw that saw the Sounders even the score the match in the second half on a penalty kick which was initially stopped by Columbus’s keeper Eloy Room, but ruled that he left his line too early and Seattle capitalized on the re-take.

This match is the first-ever postseason meeting between the two Clubs, while Seattle holds the advantage in meetings at MAPFRE Stadium (4-2-1) with 11 goals scored compared to Columbus’s 8 goals scored.

The last regular-season meeting between the two sides at MAPFRE Stadium came on July 6, 2019 that saw Seattle pull out a narrow 2-1 win.

DOUG BUCHANAN Photo