Who’s playing: Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City
Odds from Bovada (LINK):
USA – Major League Soccer Playoffs – MLS Cup Winner 2013
|Sporting Kansas City||-185||2½||(+120)o|
|Real Salt Lake||+145||(-155)u|
USA – Major League Soccer MLS Cup – 1st Half Line
|Sporting Kansas City (1H)||+160||1½||(+180)o|
|Real Salt Lake (1H)||+300||(-240)u|
Time: The match is scheduled for 4:00 PM Eastern on Saturday, December 7th.
Location: Sporting Park, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
TV Schedule: In the US, the game will be broadcast on ESPN and UniMas. You can also watch it online at WatchESPN. Canada and Mexico will broadcast the MLS CUP on TSN2 & RDS and online at MLS Live.
Weather: The weather for the match looks cold but dry. The high for the day is will be 19 degrees and 0% chance of precipitation
Tickets: Ticket prices are the highest they have been in the last five years. Kansas City plays in Sporting Park which holds about 22,000. Their supporters have turned out in big numbers leading to a consecutive sellout streak of 35 games.
Ticketmaster was also only selling “general public” tickets to people with a billing address in the Kansas City area. Personally I think this is a good practice to prevent scalpers from driving up ticket prices. Unfortunately for RSL, this limits the number of tickets their fans could buy directly from Ticketmaster, forcing them to pay more off for tickets off the secondary market.
Preview: Having finished with a better regular season record, Sporting will enjoy home-field advantage and the rabid support of a soccer-mad city that already hosted the MLS All-Star game and a U.S. men’s World Cup qualifier this year.
It will mark the third time Kansas City has played for the MLS championship having won the title in 2000 when the team was known as the Kansas City Wizards and losing in the final four years later.
“This is a team that has figured out how to get it right,” praised MLS commissioner Don Garber. “They have figured it out on the field and have convinced us and everybody in the North American soccer community that Kansas City is one of the great soccer towns in North America.
“They have created an environment in that stadium that validates our belief that America has really become a soccer nation.”
Back in the championship game for the second time in five seasons, Real will also be chasing their second title having hoisted the giant silver cup in 2009 with a victory over David Beckham and the Galaxy.
While Salt Lake plays a more attractive European style possession game, Kansas City prefers a physical brand of football relying on the league’s top defense, led by Besler and fellow national team member midfielder Graham Zusi, that surrendered just 30 goals in 34 matches.
Zusi, who set a career high with six goals this season and Besler, MLS defender of the year in 2012, were both named to the MLS best XI for the second consecutive year on Tuesday, underlining their status as keys to a KC victory.
The Sporting defense will be tested by Real’s designated player Alvaro Saborio, a member of Costa Rica’s World Cup squad and a lethal finisher who had 12 goals in 16 games for Salt Lake this season.