After a two-week break due to the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the MLS Cup Playoffs resume on Tuesday night. Teams will be looking to get one step closer to making the MLS Cup final by gaining ground in Leg 1 of the conference championships.
Montreal and Seattle will look to make their home field translate to the scoreboard while Toronto and Colorado look to walk away unscathed and with those crucial away goals.
The matches are set up to provide a memorable night with Montreal and Seattle each expected to host crowds upwards of 40,000 fans.
Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC
2016 Eastern Conference Championship – Leg 1
Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Tuesday, Nov. 22, 7 pm CT (ESPN/WatchESPN)
Two hated rivals and the biggest rivalry in Canada are what’s ahead for Montreal vs. Toronto. The stakes could not be higher as the winner earns their first trip to the MLS Cup final and the opportunity to be the first Canadian MLS Cup champion.
Two number 10s are the players to watch in this series. Montreal’s Ignacio Piatti and Toronto’s Sebastian Giovinco, both snubbed from the three player MLS MVP shortlist, are the playmakers that have catapulted their teams to this stage.
U.S. men’s national team fans will be interested in this matchup to watch the performances of Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore for Toronto FC. Chelsea FC fans might be intrigued to watch former Blue Didier Drogba coming off the bench for Montreal.
Other players to watch (Montreal Impact): GK Evan Bush, DF Laurent Ciman, FW Matteo Mancosu.
Other players to watch (Toronto FC): GK Clint Irwin, DF Drew Moor, MF Jonathan Osorio.
Montreal will not play at their usual home venue, the 20,000-capacity Stade Saputo. as they have opted for the larger Olympic Stadium. All tickets are sold out for this match in Montreal (61,004) and the return leg next Wednesday at Toronto’s BMO Field is sold out as well.
Seattle Sounders vs. Colorado Rapids
2016 Western Conference Final – Leg 1
CenturyLink Field | Seattle, Washington
Tuesday, Nov. 22, 9 pm CT (FS1/FOX Sports Go)
The Colorado Rapids continue to stay alive in the MLS Cup Playoffs but injuries to Tim Howard, Shkëlzen Gashi and a still-recovering Jermaine Jones could have them on the ropes. The Sounders have injuries of their own with Clint Dempsey out for the season and MLS Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris, the club’s top goalscorer this season, is recovering from a hamstring strain.
Despite the injuries, the man to watch is Uruguayan playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro. Named the 2016 MLS Newcomer of the Year, Seattle’s #10 has been the revitalizing catalyst to their season and has them a step away from reaching that coveted MLS Cup final.
Seattle will host the first leg in a CenturyLink Field that is notorious around MLS for their attendance. The Sounders have averaged around 40,000 fans per game this season and their faithful have been known to pack the house for big occasions like Tuesday’s.
[Images: Mila Araujo @Milaspage (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) / ArtBrom (CC BY-SA 2.0)]