Seattle advanced on Thursday, setting up the MLS Cup rematch that looked like a foregone conclusion as the MLS playoffs developed. There's no argument against the Seattle Sounders as the best team in the West. Toronto's run to host their second-consecutive MLS Cup only looked questionable on the scoreboard. Their 1-0 aggregate win over Toronto doesn't tell the story of how they controlled the away league.
What this means for next Saturday (Dec 4, 4pm ET - ESPN) is hopefully better than what we got last season. The 2016 MLS Cup ended in a shutout and open questions for both teams. Seattle seems set to show they can score when it matters while Toronto is trying to avoid the downside of hosting. No team wants to lost back-to-back championship games at home. MLSsoccer.com's Matthew Doyle previews the 2017 MLS Cup final.
MLS released its 2017 Best XI, with the defensive award winners slotting into place. MLS goalkeeper of the year Tim Melia and defender of the year Ike Opara from Sporting Kansas City made the 334 lineup, with the focus clearly on offense. MLS 2017 newcomer of the year Miguel Almiron joins teammate Josef Martinez in the Best XI. NYCFC's David Villa and Toronto's Seb Giovinco also got the nod alongside Chicago forward Nemanja Nikolic.
2017 MLS Best XI
GK: Tim Melia (Sporting Kansas City)
Def: Justin Morrow (Toronto FC), Ike Opara (Sporting Kansas City), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Mid: Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United), Víctor Vázquez (Toronto FC), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)
For: Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Josef Martínez (Atlanta United), Nemanja Nikolic (Chicago Fire), David Villa (New York City FC)
Also in the soccer news, Inside World Football's
Paul Nicholson reports that the joint North American bid and Morocco are the two bidders for the 2026 World Cup. If neither of those two bids get enough votes at the FIFA Congress in Moscow on June 13, the bidding opens to the rest of the world minus North America and Morocco.
The Independent's Jack Pitt-Brooke asks if Arsenal and Manchester United have lost their own-field edge. Kristan Heneage looks at Manchester City's substitutions. BBC Sport explains the financial issue with London Stadium, the home of West Ham United.
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