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MLS Column: Then there were four

Four teams left, but only one can be crowned the champion.

The MLS is getting down to the wire with their playoff race. Now, after long, tiring matches – and a few punches – the MLS is down to four teams.

The Seattle Sounders and Houston Dynamo will vie for the Western Conference title. Should Seattle win, they will make back-to-back appearances at the MLS Cup final. Last year, they beat Toronto FC to lift the trophy.

Seattle has their super-sub, Clint Dempsey, and their powerful goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

However, the Dynamo have a veteran defensive player in DaMarcus Beasley and a striker like Erick Torres.

Over in the Eastern Conference, it’s Toronto FC up against the Columbus Crew SC.

The Crew are riding waves of emotions, after owner Anthony Precourt announced he would potentially move his team to Austin, Tx.

The Crew are led by a veteran midfield and a young, 22-year-old goalkeeper named Zack Steffen.

Meanwhile, Toronto FC has the star-power of Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley.

However, Giovinco and Altidore will be out for the first leg match after throwing punches with the New York Red Bulls in the tunnel before the second half of their second leg match.

The MLS has had a back-and-forth year, between expansion clubs and cities fighting for their spot and upsets.

Recently, notable retirements have also brought the league to a halt, wondering if they really are a retirement league.

However, with the young players in the playoffs vying for potentially their first title, there’s hope for the MLS. Out of all teams to make the final four, these four clubs are the perfect example of what the MLS is right now: a mixture of veteran and young, working hard to lift the trophy.

My prediction is that the Seattle Sounders FC will lift the trophy once again. However, I would love to see the Columbus Crew SC lift the trophy over them, especially to keep their club in Columbus.

They have a big test in front of them, with two matches against Toronto. There’s a chance that they can cruise past them, but I don’t think the same can be said for the Dynamo. The Sounders are a well-rounded team, and it’s going to be hard to get any balls past Frei.

I envision a Seattle Sounders vs. Columbus Crew SC final, with Seattle being back-to-back MLS Cup champions.


Photo of the Columbus Crew SC courtesy of Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.

Follow @RachaelMcKriger on Twitter for all MLS coverage.

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Rachael McKriger
Sports Journalist

Rachael McKriger writes for RSEN Report (Lead Editor), Pittsburgh Sports Castle (Content Editor), Mon Goals and W2M Network, in addition to being a sports stringer/reporter for the Mon Valley Independent newspaper.

A senior of California Univ. of Pennsylvania, you can follow her on Twitter, @RachaelMcKriger, where you can find all of her articles. Search “McKriger Photography” on Facebook, to see her photos.

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