How to watch & stream
- MLS Season Pass: Apple TV - Free
- USA: FOX, FOX Deportes
- Canada: TSN, RDS
- Saturday, December 9 | 4 pm ET/1 pm ET
- Lower.com Field | Columbus, Ohio
Both No. 3 seeds hope to build on recent MLS Cup success. Columbus won in 2008 and 2020, while LAFC are title-holders and can become the league's first repeat winners since the 2011-12 LA Galaxy.
This clash of styles will require extra time (two 15-minute periods; no golden goal) if the score remains tied after regulation time, then kicks from the spot if they're needed. Whoever's left standing raises the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy and adds a star above their crest.
- Round One: 2-1 series win vs. Atlanta United
- Conference Semifinal: 2-0 win (extra time) at Orlando City SC
- Conference Final: 3-2 win (extra time) at FC Cincinnati
Columbus are hosting MLS Cup for the second time in four years. They memorably beat Seattle Sounders FC, 3-0, for the 2020 crown behind an MVP-leading performance from Lucas Zelarayán, who left the club this summer via transfer to the Saudi Pro League.
Zelarayan's late-July exit could have dashed the Crew's title dreams, but they quickly acquired Diego Rossi as a DP replacement and have seen Cucho Hernández become an MLS Best XI honoree. The latter, a Colombian international forward, tallied 16g/11a during the regular season and has a postseason-leading 4g/2a.
This all occurs as Columbus, renowned for their possession-centric game model, have been transformed under head coach Wilfried Nancy. Club ownership compensated CF Montréal last December to procure the Frenchman's services, leading to a league-leading 67 goals scored while playing arguably MLS' most attractive brand of soccer.
Several other storylines have fueled the Crew's run – captain Darlington Nagbe eyeing a fourth MLS Cup title, a breakout year from homegrown midfielder Aidan Morris, striker Christian Ramirez's late-game heroics and positioning MLS NEXT Pro alums to thrive. Will it end with raising a trophy on home turf?
- Round One: 2-0 series win vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
- Conference Semifinal: 1-0 win at Seattle Sounders FC
- Conference Final: 2-0 win vs. Houston Dynamo FC
Thirteen months ago at BMO Stadium, LAFC became MLS Cup champions via arguably the league's greatest-ever match. Highlighted by Gareth Bale's iconic stoppage-time header and John McCarthy's penalty-kick heroics after Maxime Crépeau's leg injury – it was an epic final vs. Philadelphia Union fitting for the Hollywood stage.
Now, in head coach Steve Cherundolo's second year at the helm, the Black & Gold hope to add another trophy in match No. 53 of a physically taxing, jam-packed year. And they're motivated by knowing a victory books their 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup ticket, having lost to Liga MX side Club León in the 2023 edition of the continental competition's two-legged final.
Throughout the playoffs, LAFC have been happy to concede possession and let their forward trio of Dénis Bouanga, Cristian Olivera and Carlos Vela spearhead counterattacks. Bouanga, in particular, is the star attraction after a 20g/7a campaign gave him Best XI and Golden Boot presented by Audi honors. The Gabon international has added 4g/0a so far this postseason.
But Vela's future looms large, as does that of legendary Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini since both players are soon out of contract. Will this be their final game? LAFC's front office has a high-profile decision to make around Vela, their inaugural signing in August 2017 and the face of the club.