(Ranksgiving) MLS Conference Finals

In the midst of one of the most open-ended MLS playoffs in recent memory, four teams remain in contention for the coveted MLS Cup. Each with a different story, Seattle, Houston, Columbus, and Toronto have all knocked off respectable teams to make it to the Conference Finals. The first leg of the matchups took place on the 21st, and the second leg will take place next week over November 29th and 30th, with the winners on aggregate advancing to the MLS Championship Game December 9th.

1. Seattle Sounders FC (16W-12D-9L)

Thanks to two early goals from Gustav Svensson and Will Bruin, Seattle has taken a dominating 2-0 lead over Houston, a lead that will be hard to relinquish in the raucous confines of CenturyLink Field. Clint Dempsey will be well rested after being subbed off at halftime, and the potential return of Jordan Morris will make the Sounders attack even more lethal. GK Stefan Frei could also come back next week, giving Seattle most of the same lineup that won the 2016 MLS Cup.

2. Toronto FC (21-10-6)

Despite not scoring a crucial away goal in Columbus’ MAPFRE Stadium Tuesday night, or even registering a single shot on goal, Toronto still boasts the experience and talent to advance past the Crew. The return of star attackers Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore should bode well for the Reds, and forward Víctor Vázquez has wrecked havoc when Toronto has needed him the most. Captain Michael Bradly may have seen the last meaningful USMNT action of his career, but he surely wants to win that elusive MLS title before eventually retiring.

3. Columbus Crew SC (18-7-13)

Fans are certainly mad about rumors concerning the club’s potential relocation to Austin, but they are certainly excited about what they’re seeing on the field. Having surrendered a grand total of two goals through four playoff games, Crew keeper Zach Steffen has been heroic in Columbus’ efforts to win their second MLS Cup. Ola Kamara, Wil Trapp, and Federico Higuaín have scored a majority of the team’s goals, but their inability to score on the road may haunt them. Especially concerning is the 5-0 scoreline Toronto put up the last time Columbus came to BMO Field.

4. Houston Dynamo (15-12-11)

The loss of defender Jalil Anibaba for the next game deals a heavy blow to Houston’s defensive depth. DaMarcus Beasley will need to rally the defense, but they will have their hands full from the pace of Seattle. Needing two goals to tie Seattle on aggregate, Houston will have to go all out on offense, relying heavily on dynamic forwards Cubo Torres, Mauro Manotas, and Alberth Elis to get back in the series. Joe Willis has done an admirable job in goal in relief of starter Tyler Deric, who has been suspended following a recent arrest for domestic violence. Houston has been a Cinderella team this postseason, but midnight will likely strike soon.

That’ll do it for Ranksgiving and the MLS Conference Finals. What did you think of the list this week? Where would you rank these teams? Be sure to tell us all about it and more in the comment section below. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter: @PowerRank_More, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on our Instagram page for all of the latest information from Power Rankings and More.

Published on 11/23/17 at 11:05 AM EST.
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