MLS is headed towards the stretch run of its season with only six weeks left until the start of the playoffs.
And though there is much left to be determined for who will make the playoffs and which teams will face off against each other, it is obvious what the most compelling, exciting 2012 MLS Cup Final should look like.
The teams that will make the most intriguing matchups for the MLS Cup are easily identifiable because there are a limited amount of teams with a national presence that can create a stir among sports fans.
Unlike the Super Bowl, the teams playing in the MLS Cup do matter in order to galvanize the public’s attention. Soccer is still not at the mainstream level yet where the MLS Cup can get a lot of attention no matter which teams are playing.
With apologies to the San Jose Earthquakes, they are not one of the teams included in the best scenarios for MLS Cup 2012.
The Quakes are close to breaking through the clutter of U.S. sports and crossing over towards more recognition with sports fans. They have the best record, recognizable players in Wondolowski and Lenhart, plus Wondo is the leading scorer of the League, yet they are still not over the hump with headlining stories. Perhaps next year’s new stadium and the faith of their fans will give the team the lift they need to get higher up on the rung of attention-grabbing teams.
The four teams that can make MLS Cup 2012 one to remember are: Los Angeles Galaxy, Sporting KC, New York Red Bulls, and Seattle Sounders.
Each of these teams have a top 5 scoring duo and additional players who are known in and out of Soccer circles, plus all five top hairstyles are part of these teams.
Top 4 Potential MLS Cup 2012 Matchups
The fourth best scenario would be a repeat of the US Open Cup from this year.
It’s on the list because it’s a chance for a repeat performance of Sporting KC and Seattle. And it’s last on the list for the same reason.
Rematches can be awesome, like the Giants versus the Patriots in the Super Bowl, or they can be duds with similar-less thrilling results.
The third best scenario would be Seattle vs. New York Red Bulls.
This game would have plenty of starpower and give the league a boost. Thierry Henry’s latest banana kick wonder goal, on a corner in a game that he had two goals and one assist, has boosted his profile and his team’s.
The second best scenario would be Los Angeles vs. New York.
Many pundits would think this should be number one because it’s LA versus NY with Beckham vs. Henry, the two most well-known designated players from foreign countries. And many of these pundits would be correct. This is a dream matchup for the league.
The best matchup for MLS Cup 2012 is LA vs. Sporting KC.
For the first time, the final match is played at the stadium of the team with the best regular season record, which would likely mean LA traveling to a raucous KC LiveStrong stadium. These two teams have the hottest trending players and style of play for what the League needs now, and it would make for a glorious Final, especially if it goes to overtime.
MLS would love to have Seattle play LA and New York play Sporting KC in their respective Conference championships, too. It would bring plenty of hype to the playoffs.
The worst scenario is that none of these best four teams play each other along the way.
Vote in the poll for best MLS Cup 2012 scenario:
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com