1102 MLSCup-Fans

The Philadelphia Union and LAFC are in MLS Cup 2022 on Saturday at Banc of California Stadium, and even if your team is not, you may still want to watch this one as a neutral (4 pm ET | FOX, Univision in US; TSN, TVA Sports in Canada).

After all, we’re talking about literally the best MLS Cup in the history of the league. Whoever wins will be among the best MLS Cup champions of all time. We normally can’t say that about one team, let alone both.

However, some of you may still be looking for someone to root for. We’re here to help. Even if choosing a team here is a little more difficult than normal because:

  • There's no real underdog
  • These two teams have piled up more points than anyone else since 2018
  • And whoever wins will lift their first Philip F. Anschutz Trophy

Still, we’ll do our best.

For fans of:

And also: Using the letter “E” instead of the letter “A,” team trainers who were in the U.S. Navy and can beat up anyone on the field at any time, why waste time make many pass when few do trick?, taking your time when you’re ahead, elite goalkeeping, sending off one last good Tweet into the night before the entire thing crashes and burns, having an entire city razed to the ground by its own citizens.

You’re hopping on the wagon because:

You don’t like it when people talk without getting to the point and something about the Union attempting to score with three passes or fewer each time they have the ball speaks to you. You do like it when everyone comes together in service of a higher purpose and commits entirely to the bit.

In general, you think the Union playing murderball at 100% intensity at all times is awesome. In part because it’s objectively awesome and in part because you just appreciate having an ethos.

You’re also into the fact that the Union have gone above and beyond for years to make sure their fans are getting the best experience possible. Whether that’s allowing fans to be heavily involved in the kit design process, picking a fan to handle all the pumped-in crowd noise during the pandemic, or making a side-scrolling video game for fans to play simply because they can.

Maybe you’re also just into collective happiness? Philadelphia seems set to win the MLS Cup of baseball and their professional American gridiron football team also appears to be doing well. There’s a legitimate chance that the Union could win MLS Cup and the baseball team could win the baseball MLS Cup on the same day, which might be the largest city-wide celebration in sports history. At the least, there would be incredible content of some folks trying and failing to force a police horse to crowd surf or something.

On top of all that, the Union have folks that are genuinely likable for all the right reasons (Alejandro Bedoya, Jim Curtin), and folks that are genuinely likable for those that love heels (Jose Martinez). They’ve built this team with savvy quality-over-quantity moves and are on the verge of a title despite having one of the lowest budgets in the league. There’s no “right way” to build an MLS team, but there are ways to build a team that inherently make you the good guy overcoming the odds. They’ve done something truly special in Philly. And you can’t help but appreciate it.

Oh, and the thing where Union fans yell at Jakob Glesnes to “SHHOOOOOOTTTTT” anytime he gets the ball, even if it’s in his own half, is very funny and makes me laugh every time. That’s honestly all the reason you need.

For fans of:

And also: Using the letter “C” instead of the letter “K”, finally living up to your expected goals numbers again, understanding the value of proven MLS players, pronouncing big numbers by saying each individual number, Hot Topic, finding TAM in between the couch cushions.

You’re hopping on the wagon because:

You’re into greatness being recognized and rewarded. Not that you're riding with a heavy favorite or a team that’s won multiple titles in a row or anything. More that you're supporting a team that’s put together some of the best rosters in MLS history in a short amount of time and struggled to earn the ultimate prize for it. They’re not exactly doing it with the same kind of low-budget roster-building strategy the Union use, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact LAFC are outpacing the rest of the league’s big spenders in large part because they learned from their mistakes.

Their offseason of compiling MLS guys who are known quantities in the league shored up their weaknesses and only made it more impressive when they were able to build on their strengths by adding Giorgio Chiellini and Dénis Bouanga.

LAFC play gorgeous soccer at times and can crush you with ruthless pragmatism at others. They have so many ways to win and very few weak points. We’ve probably never seen an MLS roster so deep and so talented from top to bottom. Shouldn’t that be rewarded?

If good teams being rewarded for being good isn’t enough for you, there are plenty of other reasons to be invested in the fate of LAFC. They’ve done a phenomenal job of connecting with the Los Angeles community and that shows in the incredible atmosphere created by their supporters’ collective, The 3252. Banc of California Stadium will be insane on Saturday, and the noise will be MLS Cup-worthy.

Look, you aren’t going to go wrong either way here. Whoever wins will have outright earned a title and they’ll have done it while giving us the single-best MLS Cup kit matchup ever. You can’t even pick by kit in this thing. I don’t know, I’d just flip a coin or something if I were you.