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MLS Oct 29, 2019

MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern and Western Conference Finals Preview

Los Angeles FC takes on Seattle Sounders FC on Tuesday night in the MLS Western Conference Final, and Toronto FC goes up against Atlanta United FC on Wednesday in the Eastern Conference Final.

Take a look at what’s in store for the final two matches of the MLS Cup Playoffs:

Tuesday, Oct. 29
WEST: No. 1 Los Angeles Football Club vs. No. 2 Seattle Sounders FC, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, TSN 1/5, TVA Sports 2)

  • LAFC stormed to the Western Conference Final in remarkable fashion, defeating the LA Galaxy 5-3 at Banc of California Stadium on Oct. 24. The eight goals matched the most in a single game in MLS Cup Playoffs history, equaling a 5-3 win for the Columbus Crew vs. the MetroStars in 1998.
  • Carlos Vela netted LAFC’s opening two goals, both coming in the first 40 minutes, his first career goals in the MLS Cup Playoffs in his second appearance. Vela also added an assist, his second in the MLS postseason. Vela has now scored goals in each of his past 10 games in regular season and MLS Cup play.
  • Lee Nguyen collected three assists in the game for LAFC, one shy of the MLS Cup Playoffs record, the 11th player to record three assists or more in a postseason game.
  • Sounders FC reached the Western Conference Final for a third consecutive season, and for a fifth time in the club’s 11-year MLS history, after defeating Real Salt Lake 2-0 at CenturyLink Field on Oct. 23. Nicolás Lodeiro scored his first goal in this year’s postseason and added his second assist, now with six goals and four assists in 15 appearances in his career in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • Stefan Frei was credited with one save in recording his ninth career shutout in 21 career appearances in the MLS Cup Playoffs, now fourth-most all-time.
  • The teams met twice during the regular season, in a home-and-home series over successive weekends. On April 21 at Banc of California Stadium, LAFC rolled to a 4-1 win, as Vela scored a pair of goals, giving him 10 goals in nine matches on the season. A week later at CenturyLink Field, Jordan Morris gave Sounders FC the lead after just 45 seconds, but Vela struck again in just the fourth minute, leaving the teams in a 1-1 draw.
  • LAFC has never lost to Sounders FC in four meetings all-time, winning three. In LAFC’s inaugural season a year ago, the first-year side won both meetings, each by a 1-0 scoreline. The first win came in LAFC’s first MLS match ever, March 4 at CenturyLink Field; they also were victorious April 29 at Banc of California Stadium.
  • The teams have never before met outside of MLS regular season play.

Wednesday, Oct. 30
EAST: No. 2 Atlanta United vs. No. 4 Toronto FC, 8 p.m. ET (FS1, FOX Deportes, TSN 1/4, TVA Sports)

  • Atlanta United reached the Eastern Conference Final for the second consecutive year, defeating the Philadelphia Union 2-0 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Oct. 24. Julian Gressel scored the opening goal after just 10 minutes, his first career goal in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, then set up the second goal from Josef Martínez 10 minutes from the end, his first assist in the postseason.
  • Atlanta United have won their past five home games in the MLS Cup Playoffs – not allowing a goal in their last 405 postseason minutes played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. ATLUTD has conceded one goal in six home MLS Cup Playoff games all-time.
  • Josef Martínez scored the fifth goal of his career in the MLS Cup Playoffs, in eight appearances, the five goals coming over the last six postseason matches.
  • Brad Guzan was credited with three saves in recording a second shutout of the 2019 postseason, in two matches. Guzan has now recorded shutouts in each of the last three postseason games, including 2018 MLS Cup, the second time in his career he’s posted shutouts over three consecutive games in the MLS Cup Playoffs (the first spanning a stretch from 2007-2018).
  • Toronto FC reached the Eastern Conference Final for the third time in the last four seasons, knocking off No. 1 seed New York City FC 2-1 at Citi Field in Queens, N.Y. on Oct. 23. Alejandro Pozuelo scored both TFC goals, opening the scoring just after halftime, then converting a penalty kick in the game’s final minute for the victory.
  • Toronto FC have never lost a game in the MLS Cup Playoffs outside of Canada. They now have three wins and one draw in six away matches in the MLS postseason, the two defeats both coming at the Montréal Impact (2015, 2016).
  • The teams met twice during the regular season, each winning on their home ground. Hector Villalba and Julian Gressel scored on either side of halftime as Atlanta United took a 2-0 win on May 8 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Then on June 26 at BMO Field, Tsubasa Endoh gave the home side a lead after just 28 seconds, and after ATLUTD netted twice, Alejandro Pozuelo scored a goal in each half to lead Toronto FC to a 3-2 win.
  • The teams have never before met outside of MLS regular season play.
  • Each team is undefeated at home in the all-time series on their home ground. ATLUTD’s win in the first meeting this year is its only win in six meetings between the clubs; the teams reached 2-2 draws in each of their first three meetings, two of those at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. TFC has won the last two meetings at BMO Field.