With the countdown on for Saturday's 2017 MLS Cup final, the two teams did the media rounds on Tuesday. There were no surprises, expected considering there's a championship on the line. Since this is a rematch of the 2016 MLS Cup final, there's not a lot of mystery left between the two teams. The Seattle Sounders have the squad with the biggest addition, but a healthy Clint Dempsey is a well known and well scouted player across MLS. Toronto FC is well aware of what he brings, especially since they start two of his fellow USMNT members.
There was the expected question about Seattle following last year's script and getting the game to penalties. Nothing so far in these playoffs points to that. Then again, Seattle's run through the 2016 playoff field had them scoring goals in every game they played until they got to the final. If Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer likes his chances playing a defense first game, that's not going to show until the whistle blows in Toronto.
For Toronto, the issue is shaking off two playoff series that didn't necessarily add to their candidacy as the best team in MLS history. Getting past New York on the away goals rule had the Red Bulls asking about that lofty status some are already applying to Toronto. The only goal in the series knocked out Columbus in the Eastern Conference final second-leg. They too probably had opinions on the quality of Toronto over 180 minutes.
Whether or not that means Toronto has a point to prove against a Seattle team that could keep the pressure on is an open question. Teams regularly lift the trophy with one goal wins. 2012 was the last time a team won by two goals. That's happened a few times and it remains the largest difference in an MLS Cup final. With two finalists this close in quality, that's a number unlikely to fall on Saturday.
ESPN's Graham Parker uses Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore to make a point about Toronto FC. SI.com's Brian Straus on the MLS final four expansion cities. Soccer America's Paul Kennedy also looks at the MLS expansion bids.
MLSsoccer.com's Charles Boehm talks to Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris about living with diabetes. FC Yahoo's Leander Schaerlaeckens has Sporting KC player Benny Feilhaber telling part of the story of the 2017 MLS season. American Soccer Now's Brian Sciaretta profiles Jonathan Amon, a young American playing for Nordsjaelland in Denmark. Goal.com's Jon Arnold previews the all-Monterrey Liga MX final.
The Guardian's Jamie Jackson has Manchester City's side of the story linking them with a bid for Lionel Messi. The Telegraph's Paul Hayward explains the blowback in England over the perception of pundit bias.
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