Dream matchup in MLS title chase finale

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By KEVIN CASE
College Contributor Network

Many American soccer fans remember where they were the morning the 2011-12 English Premier League Title was won -- it was that kind of moment. Manchester City needed a win over Queens Park Rangers to snatch the crown from crosstown rival Manchester United. But City trailed QPR 2-1 with only stoppage time remaining at the Etihad Stadium. Then this happened.

It was magical. It was dramatic. It was an entire season's worth of soccer that came down to one game, one goal, and one moment.

And it could all happen again this weekend in Major League Soccer.

Well, sort of. Forget for a moment that the full MLS calendar concludes with playoffs and the presentation of the MLS Cup, and you'll find that the final weekend of the 2014 MLS Supporters Shield title race isn't so different from that fateful May morning that so many soccer fans remember. Back in 2012, Manchester United and Manchester City began their final match day deadlocked at 86 points. City had the advantage, as its goal differential -- the deciding factor should both teams win their final game - was eight goals better than United's.

At the beginning of this weekend, the Sounders and Galaxy will sit even at 61 points. Much like Manchester City, Seattle will have an upper hand, as it owns the deciding tiebreaker (total wins) should both teams finish even in points atop the MLS table.

The biggest difference between the two title races is their final weekend match schedules. On May 13, 2012, Manchester United played at Sunderland, while Manchester City hosted QPR. On Oct. 25, 2014, the Seattle Sounders and L.A. Galaxy will play each other.

Is it crazy to compare this year's MLS Supporter's Shield title race with the EPL title race of 2011-12? Yes, probably. But it's also probably safe to say MLS commissioner Don Garber could not have dreamed up a better match to cap off the 2014 Major League Soccer season if he had tried.

Saturday's game will feature two US Men's National team legends (Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey), two MVP candidates who have made their marks in top foreign leagues (Robbie Keane and Obafemi Martins), and two of Major League Soccer's most accomplished coaches (Bruce Arena and Sigi Schmid) playing for a major trophy.

Not to mention, the match will be played in front of more than 40,000 rabid Seattle Sounders fans for a national television audience on NBC -- it just doesn't get any better.


Kevin Case is a junior at Syracuse University. He is a loyal D.C. Sports fan, has a growing love for American soccer, and would love to beat you in FIFA. Follow him on Twitter: @KCase_Closed
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