The conference finals aren't quite said and done yet, but we're at the point that it seems fairly obvious that we're headed towards a rematch of 2016 MLS Cup in 2017. Toronto FC and Seattle still have some work to do to finish off their ties, but these last 90 minutes in the conference finals to be played this week might still have some magic left in them yet.
Odds to Win the MLS Cup
Toronto FC -110
Seattle Sounders +137
Columbus Crew +450
Houston Dynamo +4500
Toronto FC was consistently the best team in the MLS all season long and put together one of the best seasons in MLS history. The only fitting way for this season to end would be with a championship.
Then again, the Reds hosted the MLS Cup last season and didn't turn up with the ideal result against Seattle. This year's team isn't constructed any differently, as Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore are still going to have to do the job that they weren't able to do a year ago.
Sebastian Giovinco was suspended for the opening match of the Eastern Conference Final in Columbus, a match in which the Reds snuck out of town with a 0-0 draw. Now, the free kick specialist is going to be back in the fold, and he should be a crucial member of this attack.
The Reds weren't overly interested in a lot of attacking at MAPFRE Stadium last week, but the tide is clearly going to turn with the venue shifting back to BMO Field. TFC didn't play well here in the conference semifinals against the New York Red Bulls, but they didn't have to with a 2-1 away lead in their back pocket. Now, this match is on level terms, and should Columbus ultimately score a goal on Canadian soil, TFC is going to have to win this match to advance.
Still, Toronto has to consider itself in better shape now having had its scoreless draw against the Crew, and that's why it's odds-on at -110 to hoist the MLS Cup.
It's a foregone conclusion at this point that Seattle is going to be in the MLS Cup alongside either TFC or Columbus. The Sounders will be rooting hard for Columbus so they can host the MLS Cup on their home turf, but they wouldn't mind a second bite at the apple against TFC either.
With Clint Dempsey perhaps playing in his last couple soccer matches in his career, the Sounders seem like they have a tremendous motivation to finish off this quest for a second straight championship. Dempsey single-handedly put away Vancouver in the conference semifinals with his brace in the second leg of competition here at home.
The first leg of the conference finals against Houston was essentially over before it started. Gustav Svensson and Will Bruin both found the back of the net in the first half for the Sounders, and the Dynamo weren't able to find an answer.
Now, Houston has to figure out how to go on the road and overturn a 2-0 result. The likelihood of that happening? Slim at best. The last time the Sounders were beaten at CenturyLink Field by more than one goal was on June 25, 2016 against New York City FC. Even that wouldn't be enough for the Dynamo to advance, as they would need to win in extra time as well.
That's why Houston is a 45 to 1 longshot that feels like it may as well be a 500 to 1 chance to win the MLS Cup.
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