The Seattle Sounders are headed to MLS Cup 2016.
Their opponent? To be determined Wednesday, when Toronto FC host the Montreal Impact (7pm ET; FS1 | TSN1, RDS in Canada) in Leg 2 of their Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Championship.
Which potential opponent would provide for the more exciting final? Let's go to the tale of the tape:
Toronto scored 51 regular-season goals to Montreal's 49, so a slight edge there, and no one would be mad if we acknowledged that for all of Ignacio Piatti's awesomeness (3 goals, 2 assists in the postseason), it's forward Sebastian Giovinco who stirs the stiffest drink in this offensive mix (Postseason: 4 goals, 3 assists). And he's playing with hold-up beast Jozy Altidore. With respect to one-man-fast-break Dominic Oduro and the legend Didier Drogba, and a shoutout to the Marco-to-Matteo special, Toronto's stars – and a strong supporting cast (Jonathan Osorio, Justin Morrow, Armando Cooper) make TFC the team to watch in the attacking third.
Toronto's been trotting out that 3-5-2, which makes for an interesting strategic watch, but the sheer physicality and active defense of Montreal's back four leave an impression – and likely a few welts. Not to mention the smart, unified play of Marco Donadel, defensive midfielder Hernan Bernardello and Impact icon Patrice Bernier, who have collectively been giving lessons on positional and team defense.
Toronto, with Jozy and Seba up top, can afford to possess and probe, probe and possess, knowing that an individual greatness can materialize into mind-bending spontaneity at any moment. Also, Michael Bradley, so well-suited to this No. 6, is nothing if not clutch and class. Montreal, with their adept passing out of the back – and Nacho Piatti ripping off crazy one-man runs – are content to counter. Effective, but meh.
The Home Crowd
The Reds fans are long-suffering, but Seattle's thirst is spectacular. If Montreal gets that W, we're headed to the West Coast, where the Sounders would host in front of a raucous crowd one could easily expect heads toward the full-fledged CenturyLink 69,000 … shortly after tickets are on sale.
First, Nacho destroyed the Red Bulls' souls after eating their hearts. Then Dom Oduro did this:
You guys have a refund policy??? https://t.co/pF6aNc2MNp— Dominic Oduro (@Freakyfast8) November 28, 2016
The Verdict: Seattle-Montreal
Says here we're rooting for Montreal to hang on throughout Wednesday's action, and send us to Seattle for MLS Cup 2016. They'll be walking a tightrope unless they put one across, as a single Toronto score puts the Reds ahead on away goals, raring for a return trip to BMO a week from Saturday. But any Impact goal keeps TFC chasing another – this one could go down as a classic of Two Solitudes.