Sunday’s MLS Cup Final between Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC at Century-Link Field sold out in mere minutes, with the game set to be the second-best attended MLS Cup in history. There are clearly plenty of reasons to watch the game, from the talent of Nico Lodeiro and Alejandro Pozuelo to the all-UMNT midfield battle between Michael Bradley and Cristian Roldan, not to mention two teams trying to create a dynasty in the third final between the pair in just four years.
But if you’re a fan of a team that agonizingly missed out on this year’s MLS Cup, there are also plenty of reasons to tune in (3 pm ET | ABC, Univision, TUDN, TVAS, TSN), even if it is to hate-watch…
1. Trilogies are trilogies
The third installment of pretty much anything usually ranges from ok to Spiderman 3. The ceiling is admittedly low for these kinds of things. But, man, the floor. The floor. It could be truly special. We’ve already had one installment where the winning team didn’t try to score. If the third act is generally the worst of the three, then a potential scenario involving one or both teams forgetting how to soccer and suddenly starting to throw the ball to each other in confusion is entirely on the table. Nothing is better to hate-watch than a trainwreck.
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Or in the moment it will actually seem pretty good until you actually think back on key plot points and are left with questions like: Why was Bruce Wayne just sitting there in that cafe? Extremely famous recently dead person Bruce Wayne just sitting there. Alive. In public. With no one noticing despite the world confirming he’s Batman, the masked vigilante who earlier that year saved America’s largest city from nuclear annihilation.
Both options are at least entertaining.
2. That Seattle fan in your mentions
Yeah, that one. The one you muted but you know is still replying. To like, every tweet. There’s a chance Sunday could be “a major bummer” for them. That’s a future we can all believe in. Ok, maybe this one is just for me.
3. Your city may never have a year as successful as *checks notes* Toronto?
There’s apparently a basketball team there. They won a thing. If you’re from a city that hasn’t won a thing in years or even decades, how are you going to sit there and not root against the city trying to win two things in one year?
I’m unsure how Seattle’s basketball team did this year so no idea if you can root against them for similar reasons. Someone let me know how they did.*
*I am genuinely sorry
4. Your team didn’t sign Alejandro Pozuelo or Raul Ruidiaz
Yeah, argh, so angry they’re playing, I’m going to hate-watch this game just for them…should probably prepare myself for how angry I’ll be by watching multiple highlight videos of both of them too…ugh yeah, it makes me so angry, totally infuriating that they both might trade world-class goals while being likable people, and I just have to sit there and watch that on a Sunday afternoon and forget about my responsibilities for a couple of hours? Livid, just livid.
5. Ok, but for real, you’re probably tired of hearing about attendance already, right?
Seattle invented you being annoyed by announcers discussing how amazing attendance is.
Or was that Atlanta? I don’t know, I might need to check some things. Either way, I’m sure you’ll get to hear about both teams a bunch on Sunday! And LAFC too! Largely within the context of how these clubs outshine yours in every way! It’s going to be a blast, buckle up, y’all.
6. This game will confirm all of your opinions about the new playoff format
Oh no! Your team didn’t win in the playoffs and make it to MLS Cup! Brutal, just brutal. But you know why they didn’t. It’s not a lack of talent, or tactics, or the fact they scored fewer goals than the other team when it mattered. No, it’s this new format that only gave us a collection of highly entertaining games and ever-changing narratives.
“Damn this format!” you’ve said to the internet. “We agree!” the internet responded. And you felt happy.
And now you may be able to watch this MLS Cup and it may not be nearly as good as it would have been with your team.
“See, I was correct about this format!” you’ll scream to the internet. “We agree!” the internet will respond. And for the second time this year, you’ll feel happy.
7. I bet you have an opinion about Michael Bradley, don’t you?
Come on. Just go ahead. Let it out, bud. This whole bar absolutely wants to hear all of your opinions on him. Would you like a sound system? We can get you a sound system. We are all here just to hear this. Actually, you know what, let me turn the game off. I don’t want to be distracted from your Michael Bradley opinions. Oh hold on don’t start yet, I want to get my recorder. I might turn this into a podcast, Payne Lindsey is also interested in your Michael Bradley opinions. Hey, everybody, come here, this person has Michael Bradley opinions you’ve got to hear. Alright, go ahead-wait, I’m getting a notification on my phone annndddddd Michael Bradley just scored.
8. Greg Vanney’s glow up
This isn’t really a hate-watch thing, I’m just on board with applauding Vanney for the long hair, long beard, long (apparently lucky) scarf combo that’s all a part of an impressive dedication to self-love Vanney has shown over the last few months. You look how you manage folks. I mean he’s no Tata Martino but still.
9. You’ll never be Brian Schmetzer
Some people just don’t embody raw animal magnetism. You can at least watch and take notes on someone that does.
10. Seattle’s ownership group will probably be there
There will be at least one hard cut during the broadcast to the ownership box and there’s a legitimate chance you see Drew Carey, Russel Wilson and Macklemore huddled together and holding a conversation about whether Russ or Mack misses 2014 more.
11. Sad fans are sad
Almost 70,000 people! What could go wrong? I mean maybe Seattle could dominate the game and have an xG more than two goals higher than Toronto and maybe Toronto will score two stunners from outside the box despite finishing with four total shots and an xG of like .14 and 70,000 Sounders fans would have to leave sad and hear the sound of the celebratory fireworks as they walk away from the stadium, sad. But nothing like that would ever happen. Yes, I am writing this from Atlanta, why do you ask?
12. Please. Like you’re not going to anyway.
What are you gonna do? Spend time with your “family and friends”? Like you just didn’t spend the last thirty minutes at your desk looking up Wil Trapp’s xG chain so you can unload your 20-minute powerpoint/TikTok presentation explaining your thoughts on the matter. You’re on MLSsoccer.com. We know you’re here because you love the beautiful game. You’re in a safe place here.
Oh, wait, you’re just here to yell at people in the comments? oh ok, got ya, nevermind, carry on.