In what is, admittedly, a tough sentence to type, New York City FC have fallen to Eastern Conference rivals Philadelphia Union, and have been eliminated from playoff contention. While NYCFC’s season is officially over, MLS still has yet to play its most critical match of the year: The MLS Cup Final.
As an NYCFC supporter, I’m gutted. But as a fan of MLS as a whole, I am still very excited for Saturday’s matchup. LAFC, the No 1 seed in the West, LAFC, play host to Philadelphia Union, the No 1 seed in the East. It’s no exaggeration to say this is the highest-quality final the league could’ve produced.
The Union are a club that NYCFC fans are very familiar with. They are just a damn good team. Defensively solid, tacitly disciplined, and capable of scoring in bunches, Doop set their own club records for goals scored, goals allowed, and points secured in a single season this past year. Plus, they managed to beat us in the Eastern Conference Finals, making them the first team to take down NYCFC in the playoffs since Orlando City in 2020.
As for LAFC, they boast a certain swagger and flair that few clubs in the league rival. Despite joining MLS in 2018 they still have a new feel to them: They play in a state-of-the-art Banc of California Stadium, sport classy black and gold kits, and provide a star-powered roster fitting of a club from Los Angeles.
After winning the 2022 Supporters’ Shield with 21 wins, LAFC entered the playoffs a full 11 points clear of anyone else in the West. Led by a lethal strike duo of Chicho Arango and Carlos Vela, the club has enough attacking talent to leave a legend like Gareth Bale on the sidelines for most matches – which is seriously saying something.
So, with all that said, I find myself struggling to pick a winner between the two sides. Given the clubs were level on points to end the year, and that both are the No. 1 seed coming out of their conference, perhaps it’s not surprising that it might be difficult to pick a clear champion here...but that is exactly what I’m asking you to do.
Actually, I’m asking you two slightly different versions of the same question. First, who do you want to win the MLS Cup? Second, who do you think will win the MLS Cup?
In the first question, you need to disregard home-field advantage and what the oddsmakers say. Instead, it’s all about vibes: It’s East Coast vs West Coast, a well-coached side vs big-name players, blue-collar brutes vs SoCal glam.
In other words, whose flag are you waving this Saturday?
Who do you hope will win the 2022 MLS Cup?
This poll is closed
Now, who do you think has what it take to come out on top in the high-stakes, winner-take-all matchup? LAFC are heavily favored to lift the cup, but you can't ever count out Philadelphia.
Who do you think will be crowned champion of MLS this Saturday?
Who do you think will win the 2022 MLS Cup?
This poll is closed