Cristian Roldan - Jordan Morris - Seattle Sounders
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Seattle Sounders vs Toronto FC combined XI: Picking the best MLS Cup lineup

There are going to be plenty of stars on the pitch Sunday for MLS Cup between the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC (3 pm ET | ABC, Univision, TUDN in US; TSN, TVAS in Canada). But what would a best XI between the two clubs look like?

For the sake of this (very silly and not overly serious) imagined team, let's go with a 4-2-3-1 formation. 

Goalkeeper: Stefan Frei

I mean, what else is there to say?

Defenders: Kelvin Leerdam, Chris Mavinga, Omar Gonzalez, Brad Smith

It feels churlish to drop Kim Kee-Hee for Omar Gonzalez, despite the latter not yet playing a minute in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs. But Toronto lost just once in 14 games with the US international in the starting XI, compared to nine losses in 20 without him. Laurent Ciman has filled in admirably during these playoffs, but Gonzalez still merits inclusion. 

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Chris Mavinga is a no-brainer, and he might be the best defender on the field when in form. Brad Smith, who spent time in the Liverpool youth set-up like Mavinga, is a potentially game-breaking threat down the left flank. Kelvin Leerdam ain't too shabby on the opposite touchline, either. 

A special nod to the wildcard defenders off the bench: Richie Laryea and Nouhou. They're two of the most fun (and unpredictable) fullbacks in the league. 

Defensive midfielders: Michael Bradley, Cristian Roldan

Michael Bradley screams in celebration | USA Today Sports

Sometimes, we all fall victim to past performances. Michael Bradley isn't at the apex of his career, but that doesn't mean he's dropped off the map. He is, in fact, good. Gustav Svensson is also quality, to be fair, but in one game to win it all, I'm taking Bradley and giving him the armband. Cristian Roldan's all-action play and indefatigable running are two welcomed descriptors for any box-to-box midfielder, hence his inclusion.

Jonathan Osorio is a tough omission. I didn't know how to seamlessly weave that into the above paragraph, but it needed to be said. 

Attacking midfielders: Jordan Morris, Alejandro Pozuelo, Nico Lodeiro

What a group of attackers. This was the easiest section, since Nico Lodeiro and Alejandro Pozuelo are probably the first two players picked if we did a fantasy draft with this player pool.

Lodeiro led the Sounders back to MLS Cup this year and he probably won't stop being underrated, no matter how much praise he gets. Pozuelo is a member of this season's Best XI and is still ballin' out in these playoffs, despite playing as a center forward instead of his preferred No. 9. That's come without Toronto seeing much of the ball this postseason, where he's at his best.

Jordan Morris, meanwhile, appears to be taking another leap in his career out wide, with his hat trick in Round One against FC Dallas the culmination of a months-long consistent run of form. 

Forward: Raul Ruidiaz

In a vacuum, I'd take Jozy Altidore over Ruidiaz, but that's not a hill I'd die on.

In fact, two beers and a convincing argument later, you could pull me temporarily to Ruidiaz's side before ordering a third beer. But given that Altidore is likely unavailable for MLS Cup and Ruidiaz has shapeshifted into Playoff Ruidiaz once again, he gets the nod. 

A bonus note: Off the bench, it's Laryea and Nick DeLeon over everyone. Victor Rodriguez (and Nouhou!) are also impact subs, but the work Laryea and DeLeon have done is unmatched. To boot, they each have a game-winning goal in these playoffs.

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