1009 Who should host mls cup

MLS Cup 2022, to be played by a pair of first-time finalists in LAFC and the Philadelphia Union, is heading to Los Angeles next Saturday (4 pm ET | FOX, Univision in US; TSN, TVA Sports in Canada).

How they got here

Banc of California Stadium will host the championship game in this year’s Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, a scenario that got locked in via LAFC’s 3-0 victory Sunday over Austin FC in the Western Conference Final.

The Black & Gold will welcome Eastern Conference champions Philadelphia on Nov. 5 after Jim Curtin's group beat New York City FC, 3-1, Sunday evening at Subaru Park.

LAFC entered the postseason with hosting priority, a reward for narrowly overcoming the Union for their second Supporters’ Shield title in four years.

Big picture

This is LAFC’s first-ever MLS Cup trip, advancing further than their vaunted 2019 squad that fell at this same postseason stage against eventual champions Seattle Sounders FC. Led by first-year head coach Steve Cherundolo, they're also the first team since Toronto FC in 2017 to win the Supporters’ Shield and make MLS Cup in the same season.

Philadelphia, engaged in a Shield battle with LAFC all year, only lost out via the wins tiebreaker (LAFC’s 21 vs. Philadelphia’s 19) after they both earned 67 points. Jim Curtin's group has been on the rise for several years, and their biggest opportunity yet awaits when swapping coasts to vie for MLS Cup.