Toronto FC will find out who they will face in the MLS Cup final on Thursday night when the Western Conference title is decided as the Seattle Sounders host the Houston Dynamo in the second leg of their tie.
Seattle will go into the match with a 2-0 lead from the first leg and are emphatic favourites to go within one win of defending their title. Houston have it all to do if they are to overcome the odds and make it through to the final.
Seattle are becoming a formidable play-off force but they face that acid issue of whether to push on and really put the tie to bed here or try and defend what they have and it will be interesting to see which direction they go in for this second leg. We’ve seen first leg leaders in these play-offs tighten up and in the end be holding on.
The one thing which could help the Sounders in their quest to answer the question is their wonderful home form. They are very strong at the Link and if they play to form they will cruise into the final. They have a decent record over Houston too which should only further enhance their confidence here.
The Dynamo go into this second leg with their minds made up which might be a help in terms of focusing their tactics but in truth they have it all to do. Whatever happens in this match if they want to have any chance of going to Toronto next weekend they must score two goals. Anything less and their season will be over.
A red card in the first leg proved pivotal and has left them with a mountain to climb but this is a side who have been to Portland and got a result in this play-off campaign so they shouldn’t be ruled out completely but they went into the game in Oregon on level terms. This is a completely different task entirely.
Seattle Sounders will be without the man who won them the MLS Cup last year as Roman Torres misses out through suspension. Osvaldo Alonso, Stefan Frei and Jordan Morris are all rated as questionable.
Houston will be missing the man who was sent off in the first leg in the form of Jalil Anibaba. Alberth Elis is suspended after picking up too many yellow cards while Tyler Deric is still banned after his domestic issue.
If this tie was more live than it is I would have seriously been tempted by under 2.75 goals but it is difficult to back that knowing that Houston have to go hell for leather at the match and were they to get the first goal this could kick off into something crazy.
The other temptation is to back Houston to win in 90 minutes which could still suit Seattle but that would depend on how Seattle approach the match and in truth we don’t know how they are going to do that so all things being considered the best method of attacking it from a betting point of view is to not bet beforehand, assess the first 10 minutes or so then use judgement to bet in running.