The 2020 MLS Cup Final is finally upon us after a strange whirlwind of a season that saw a league-wide shutdown after only two weeks of regular season play, a month-long tournament inside a bubble in Orlando, followed by a stunted regular season and a full run of playoffs. It’s been a wild journey for the 25th season of MLS, but here we are with just two teams remaining in the competition as the Columbus Crew will face off against the reigning winners Seattle Sounders for the title of 2020 MLS Cup Champions.
For Seattle, this is extremely familiar territory as they’re making their 4th Cup Final appearance in the last 5 years. However, this will be the first time in that timespan that they’ll take on someone other than Toronto FC, as all 3 appearances before now were against the Reds. Seattle won 2 of those championships while Toronto came away with one in 2017.
The 2020 season saw Seattle near the top of the table almost the entire time while they finished 2nd place in the Western Conference just behind Sporting Kansas City. In postseason play, they knocked off LAFC, FC Dallas, and staged a dramatic comeback to take down Minnesota United in the conference finals. Minnesota held a 2-0 lead heading into the 75th minute, when Seattle scored 3 unanswered goals — the last coming in the 3rd minute of stoppage time — to seal the victory and earn an MLS Cup Final appearance. The Crew will have to find a way to stop the Sounders’ dangerous attack which consists of the likes of Raul Ruidiaz, Jordan Morris, and Nicolas Lodeiro who combined for an impressive 29 goals and 22 assists throughout the regular season.
Columbus, a team that was on the brink of being sold and moved to Austin just a couple years ago, have found new life and spent the 2020 season essentially dominating the Eastern Conference, finishing 3rd place but only 6 points behind the first-place Philadelphia Union. That wouldn’t matter, though, as Philly were knocked out in the first round by the Revs, and Columbus sailed through their match-ups taking down the Red Bulls, expansion team Nashville SC, and finally the New England Revolution in the conference finals just last week.
This will be their first MLS Cup Final appearance since 2015, and a chance to get their second-ever MLS Cup title, with their first coming in 2008 when they edged out the New York Red Bulls. However, the Crew were dealt a big blow this week as both Darlington Nagbe and Pedro Santos have been declared medically unfit to play, which coincided with Columbus revealing that two players had tested positive for Covid-19. The league doesn’t require teams to release the identities of players who test positive, but neither Nagbe nor Santos had any known injuries so it doesn’t take a lot to connect the dots. Responsibility for this weekend’s match will fall heavily on the shoulders of players like Gyasi Zardes and Lucas Zelarayan, who together have combined for 18 goals and 8 assists. Without Nagbe and Santos in midfield, it will be an uphill battle for the Crew against a very good Sounders team who know their way around a final.
Match Time/TV Channel/Streaming
You can watch the Columbus Crew vs. the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, December 12th at 8:30 p.m. ET on FOX, UniMás, TUDN, TSN, TVAS, or you can stream it via FOX Sports GO with a cable or streaming service login.
Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends
Money line (regular time): COL +200, SEA +143, Tie +215
To win the trophy: COL +100, SEA -130
Total goals: Over 2.5 -125, Under 2.5 -107
The Best Bet
Pick: Bet on a goal being scored in the first 15 minutes of the game.
The Seattle Sounders are, understandably, favored to win this year’s MLS Cup Final — especially with the news that two of the Crew’s best players will be sidelined for the game. The attack of Ruidiaz, Morris, Lodeiro, Will Bruin, and Joao Paulo has been too much for many teams this season, and could prove to be a little overwhelming for Columbus as well.
At the same time, Seattle’s defense has been somewhat shaky ever since Chad Marshall’s retirement in 2019 and Kim Kee-hee’s departure earlier this year. They’ve been looking for solid center backs to fill those shoes ever since, but have seen somewhat of a rotating door situation with players like Shane O’Neill and Xavier Arreaga getting their shot.
Due to that, there’s a very good chance that either side’s attack could bang in a goal or two within the first 15 minutes, but the odds on DraftKings Sportsbook show a different story with a +205 on that happening. This may be the easiest chance to make some money as the attacking prowess of both teams should be featured heavily this weekend.
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