The MLS Cup Final is tomorrow night at 6 p.m. MT in Atlanta and will be broadcast on FOX, UniMás, and TSN. While the Colorado Rapids were pretty much out of the playoffs since the summer, there have been some great match-ups over the past month. Now it’s down to two teams - the Portland Timbers for the Western Conference and Atlanta United FC for the Eastern Conference.
As Rapids fans, we’re fairly familiar with the Timbers since we’re in the same conference. They’ve only won the cup once (in 2015), and seem to qualify for the playoffs about every other year. They are led by new head coach, Giovanni Savarese. They have a diehard fanbase that sold out their MLS Cup ticket allotment in four minutes.
The Rapids faced the Timbers in September and BW’s Colin Peterson had this to say about them:
The Timbers have been quietly one of the best teams in all of MLS for most of the year. They started very slowly, with two ties and three losses over their first five games. But after that, they went on the league’s best run of the season, going for 16 games straight without a loss. We will be coming into Providence Park as the Timbers look to keep one of the best home records of the season, currently at 8-2-3.
“Rapids fans truly understand what it means to follow a team in MLS. They’ve experienced the ups and downs that come in a parity league, and they know what it’s like to wait out bad years. Timbers fans understand that too.
If that’s not enough to convince you, I leave you with this tweet:”
Guys, if your team has already been eliminated from the playoffs and you’re in search of a team to root for right now - just root for Diego Valeri.— Pablo Maurer (@MLSist) November 26, 2018
On the other hand, we have Atlanta United. It’s their second year in the league and they’ve got the MLS MVP, Josef Martinez, on their roster.
Chris Bruton of Dirty South Soccer said this of his team:
“In the words of Dirty South Soccer’s own Joe Patrick, ‘Atlanta didn’t fall in love with soccer, they fell in love with Atlanta United.’ What has happened in Atlanta isn’t as much as the creation of an expansion team, but a movement.
Atlanta United is an offensive, possession-minded team that plays an attacking, flowing brand of soccer. Do you like goals? We got them. Atlanta led the MLS with 77 goals this year and has Josef Martinez – the just-named MVP of the league – who broke the MLS’s single-season goals record. Do you like defense? The Five Stripes allowed the 3rd fewest goals in the league through beautiful tactics, yet rarely parking the bus.
The Atlanta players are led by the brilliant Tata Martino of Argentina and FC Barcelona fame. Through his leadership, they play with a passion and attitude that is infectious. Leandro Gonzalez Pirez brings an unmatched fire and fierceness in defense. The always smiling Miguel Almiron plays with a joy and love for soccer that is so visible and apparent that it cannot go unnoticed. Josef Martinez plays the eternal underdog role with a chip on his shoulder and something always left to prove. Household names of the USMNT, Darlington Nagbe, Brad Guzan, Michael Parkhurst, and Greg Garza have taken Martino’s lead and have led this team to the MLS Cup Final.
The Portland Timbers seem like nice guys. Their team has had success, their brand has been established, and their fans have an incredible passion. But what is happening in Atlanta is a renaissance. The torch is being passed. Atlanta United is entertaining. Atlanta United is good. Atlanta United is just…fun.”
So who are you pulling for? Do you go for a Western Conference win no matter what or do you think ATL will get the trophy? (You can also find Matt Doyle’s tactical preview here to help you decide.)
Who will win the MLS Cup?
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