The Battle for the West is set to take place later on this evening, and the majority of fans, understandably, cannot contain their excitement. After a long, hard season, it’s time to discover who the kings of the Western Conference really are.
Conventional wisdom suggests it’s going to be LAFC, which would make all the sense in the world, given how unbelievably dominant they were throughout the course of the regular season.
Alas, the Sounders wound up being their closest contenders in second place, and they have the experience factor behind them.
The game is scheduled to go down at the Banc of California Stadium in downtown Los Angeles, which is around 20 miles away from the fire which broke out at the start of the week. The belief is that the wind direction is blowing away from the stadium, but that could all change in an instant.
The real issue in question is the air quality which, if it gets too bad, will cause a substantial issue for the players and fans in question – leading to a delay.
There are hydration breaks being considered if the air quality is that poor, which is an issue which has been brought up recently by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who complained in the wake of LA Galaxy’s defeat to LAFC.
It’s a situation that needs to be treated with great care by the league, because let’s face it, the schedule they want to keep doesn’t matter here.
The wildfires in California have been an issue that has been well documented for a few years now, and it’s a problem that doesn’t seem to be coming close to a resolution.
Hoping for the best
Regardless of the reports, however, the only thing Sounders boss Brian Schmetzer is focused on is shocking the world.
“They’re a tremendously talented team. You saw their attacking movements [against the LA Galaxy] last night, they were great.
“But that doesn’t mean Minnesota [couldn’t] go down there and beat them, Toronto went down and there and drew 1-1,” he added. “There’s parity in MLS, so on any given day – RSL [beat them in the playoffs] last year – so, things can happen. We’re not afraid of them. We just have to make sure we’re playing at a high level to make sure we give ourselves the best chance of winning.”
LAFC, on the other hand, just need to play the game that they know they’re capable of. We know it isn’t quite as simple as that, but the league leaders need to make it clear and evident to the masses that they aren’t going to let this opportunity slip through their fingers.
It’s going to be one hell of a tussle with the winners going on to face the Eastern Conference champions in the MLS Cup Final. Whether or not we actually get to see the game tonight, however, remains a mystery.