Last year everyone watched the New England Revolution crash out of the playoffs en route to the Portland Timbers winning their first MLS Cup. The Timbers who began playing as an expansion team in the 2011 season needed just five years to capture their first playoff title in just their second postseason appearance.
This year, another team will raise the MLS Cup for the first time and beat the Revs to a title. Like Portland, both the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC are very deserving franchises who have done will in the expansion/Designated Player era of MLS.They've spent big money on DPs while also making smart moves else where to build up their roster. Toronto bolstered a defense with mostly MLS veterans last offseason and Seattle finally got over their playoff hump in a year where they fired Sigi Schmid because that makes perfect sense in this league.
So, if watching another expansion team lift the Cup before an original MLS team drive you insane, here are a few other things you can do instead of watching the game tonight. If you insist on watching Seattle-TFC, I'll have a brief preview towards the end.
1. Watch Other Sports
There's actually some really good things on today. The Army-Navy football game is on at 300pm EST if you like the triple option and old school, smash mouth running. I'll surely be watching the UConn-Ohio State men's basketball game on at 600pm before switching over to the MLS Cup Final. The Boston Bruins are playing later tonight and the Heisman Trophy presentation is on ESPN followed by a really interesting 30 for 30 on the 80s rivalry between Notre Dame and Miami called "Catholics vs. Convicts."
2. Watch Something Else
TNT is running an all day Star Wars marathon with the "original" trilogy of Episodes 4-6 starting in the afternoon. Have a show you have on the DVR or Netflix that you need to catch up on? Tonight would be a perfect night for that I think, if I actually watched a series like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones.
3. Buy/Decorate the Christmas Tree And Other Festive Holiday Things
Or just watch videos of cats on a loop climbing up and Christmas trees and then crashing down because that never gets old. I'm sure the Hallmark Channel has on movies all day too.
Always Designate A Driver.
5. Cry Yourself To Sleep
Right before kickoff just curl up into your nice warm bed and rock back and forth a little bit while weeping uncontrollably while watching previous highlights of the Revs in MLS Cup until you fall asleep.
6. Remember You're Not Sounders or TFC Fans Right Now
Cause all of them are either nervous wrecks and/or miserably cold right now because it is literally going to be freezing tonight in Canada. I can't wait to have an MLS Cup at Gillette in snow.
*crawls into bed and starts crying*
Okay, speaking of the weather, I think it actually might work in Seattle's favor tonight. They play on turf and with the freezing cold temperatures they might be a little more used to some of the funny bounces that might plague this game.
That being said, I think Toronto is the better team though their defense didn't exactly show it in the Conference Finals against Montreal. While Seattle has been grinding out low scoring games, something I expect to see tonight, Toronto has been on the attack and piling up the goals against Philly and NYCFC before that classic extra-time series with Montreal.
This would be the type of game where, at home, Toronto's defensive additions this year really pay off. Steven Beitashour and Drew Moor were two solid additions TFC made this year to compliment the big name signings of Bradley, Giovinco and Altidore in previous years. Also, it's not just the Giovinco Show right now for TFC, they're getting contributions across the board, including the game winner from substitute Benoit Cheyrou against the Impact.
But Seattle has been hanging around all year after struggling early, with Brian Schmetzer taking over for Sigi Schmid in late July. A 3-0 win at home against FC Dallas set the stage for a return to the Western Finals where Seattle won twice in a 3-1 aggregate win over Colorado. Jordan Morris scored in each game of the West Finals and Nicolas Lodiero notched a penalty in the first leg as well.
The Lodiero-Giovinco matchup is as good as it gets for an MLS Cup Final. And in poor conditions like tonight, it could be an individual moment of skill and/or brilliance that is the difference. The more goals that get scored, the better Toronto's chances are I think as it might be tough for Seattle to keep pace if TFC's offense is still as potent as it's been this postseason. But if Toronto doesn't put Seattle away in the second half, it could make for a great finish.
I'll take Toronto in a close game from the warmth and safety of my couch. 2-1 to the Reds.