Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 0-2 New England Revolution

Photo: Paul Rudderow

The most successful regular season in Philadelphia Union history concluded with the club’s most disappointing MLS result.

After winning the Supporters’ Shield as the league’s best, the Union fell in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs 2-0 to New England Revolution at Subaru Park.

The performance was meek and a far cry from the heights Philadelphia reached in 2020. They never were the better side on the evening and were outclassed by the lowest remaining seed in the Eastern Conference.

It was the sixth meeting of 2020 between the two sides, and the Union went unbeaten the previous five , winning four. Their last matchup came in the regular season finale, where Philadelphia clinched the Supporters’ Shield for their first piece of silverware in franchise history.

The league’s Coach of the Year included MLS’s Goalkeeper of the Year in a full strength lineup, with Andre Blake returning to Union manager Jim Curtin’s team for the first time since breaking his hand  on Oct. 28th.

Only one change was made to New England manager Bruce Arena’s starting 11, who earned his then MLS-best 33rd career playoff victory in Friday night’s 2-1 Play-In Round win over Montreal Impact. Scott Caldwell replaced Tommy McNamara at defensive midfield of the Revolution’s preferred full-strength 4-2-3-1 formation.

After a 16 day absence from action, Philadelphia showed signs of rust when play began. They were unable to shake it.

Despite this, the home side carved out a golden chance just before the five minute mark. Attacking midfielder Brenden Aaronson was sprung down the right flank, outpacing his marker with a driving run into the final third. His crossing pass found a wide open Jamiro Monteiro, but the Cape Verdean international skied the bouncing ball over the net.

Mistakes crept into the Union’s play after the first quarter hour of action. Giveaways and shaky defending created Revolution chances as the visitors wrested control.

Under the pressure, Philadelphia buckled.

A final third foul gifted New England a free give from give outside the box. While the angle wasn’t favorable for a direct attempt, it created a great angle for an inswinger from the talismanic Carles Gil. On the end of the Designated Player’s cross was another DP, forward Adam Buksa. While it was a mediocre first season for the Polish forward, his 6’3″ frame rose to head home the opening goal in the 26th minute.

Just four minutes later, the Revolution doubled their advantage. Right back Tajon Buchanan raced into the box with pace. Philadelphia’s Kai Wagner was in position, but the full back who spoke of a return to European football whiffed on an attempted challenge. The converted winger powered a shot toward the far post. Despite getting a touch, Blake couldn’t keep the attempt from finding the net.  It was Buchanan’s third goal this year against the Union.

Frustrated mounted for a side which hadn’t dropped a point at home this season. The Union, who couldn’t gain control during play, lashed out after the whistle. Philadelphia were edging closer to recklessness before referee Joseph Dickerson signaled the end of the first half.

Curtin called upon his supersub to salvage the second half. Ilsinho replaced midfielder José Martinez, who struggled on the night, as the Union switched from their preferred 4-4-2 diamond to their familiar 4-2-3-1.

While the Union desperately pressed, Gil came inches away from all but ending the game in the 51st minute. The Spaniard finished a positive Revolution sequence with a brilliant chip. It beat Blake but not the crossbar, and the Union ‘s hope lingered.

Just after the 60th minute, Curtin made his next move.  Forward Sergio Santos and Aaronson gave way to Jack Elliott and Cory Burke. The former sat in front of the Union’s back line while the latter added another forward to Philadelphia’s attack.

The Revolution absorbed Philadelphia’s pressure without conceding real chances. It was tactical play from the visitors whose defensive style dampened any spark which could ignite the Union’s chances.

The Union limped to the final whistle, never threatening to shake off the appearance of a defeated side.

With the loss comes the uncertainty of  an offseason unlike any other. The immediate taste of disappointment is familiar, but it’s cut with unknown success. More than one familiar face will likely bid farewell.

There remains a constant. PSP will be here for what comes next.

Three points
  • Postmortem. A trophy. A disappointment. How will the 2020 Union season be remembered?
  • Broken stride. After the winning their first trophy, the Union’s momentum was interrupted by the international break. Sometimes timing is everything.
  • Some goodbyes. We know this was Aaronson’s last game in the Blue and Gold. It also could be a farewell to Wagner and Mark McKenzie. It’ll be a bittersweet offseason in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake; Raymon Gaddis (Anthony Fontana 76′), Jakob Glesnes, Mark McKenzie, Kai Wagner; José Martinez (Ilsinho HT’), Alejandro Bedoya, Jamiro Monteiro, Brenden Aaronson (Jack Elliott 62′); Kacper Przybylko, Sergio Santos (Cory Burke 62′)
Unused subs: Matt Freese, Aurelien Collin, Matt Real, Warren Creavalle, Andrew Wooten

New England Revolution

Matt Turner; Tajon Buchanan, Andrew Farrell, Henry Kessler, DeJuan Jones; Scott Caldwell, Matt Polster; Gustavo Bou (Tommy McNamara 78′), Carles Gil (Michael Mancienne 89′), Teal Bunbury (Kelyn Rowe 66′); Adam Buksa (Justin Rennicks 89′)
Unused subs: Brad Knighton, Seth Sinovic, Antonio Mlinar Delamea, Lee Nguyen, Kekuta Manneh

Scoring summary
NE: Adam Buksa — 26′ (Carles Gil)
NE: Tajon Buchanan — 30′ (Carles Gil)

Disciplinary summary
PHI: Kacper Przybylko — 36′ (unsporting behavior)
PHI: Kai Wagner — 73′ (unsporting behavior)


  1. Way to crap the bed on the biggest stage

    • perfect commentary

    • A case of maybe too many players looking towards the next phase of their career. as was mentioned Aaronson, Mckenzie, Wagner, will not be here. long layoff was just bad for team. playoffs for most players must have been be anticlimactic after winning supports shield. especially for the new players foreign to the MLS.

      Overall great season. Great balance of youth and vets most depth the Union ever had. Successful coaching by Curtin and Management. They put a quality team with depth at every positions for the first time ever.

      Matt Real is ready to step in for Kai. Wagner was a great addition to the team and the best left fullback the Union ever had. Looking forward to seeing Aaronsons little brother at striker???

      Bedoya is a warrior and should be in Ring of Honor the day he retires. The Union should be looking for a new leader when announces his retirement. As team leader. I think he has had more influence on the success and attitude of the team then Curtin had.
      Hope the vaccine is available to all who want it and all Union fans can return to Talen.

      December and January could be a very interesting time for Union 2021.

  2. They played their worst game in their biggest game. No one had any energy. No one looked like they wanted to win.
    And Martinez was so so so sloppy in the first half… giveaway led to Bou’s shot, foul led to the first goal. Still Surprised that Jim had the guts to pull him off at halftime.

  3. That was so thoroughly disappointing. Never liked having to play New England for the 100th time, but the Union was so flat. Unable to possess, connect on the attack … I wasn’t sure Bedoya was even on the field for the first 30 minutes. Same with Przbylko. Martinez was a brutal turnover machine. We just picked a bad day to have a bad game. That’s how 1-off playoffs work. I’m also really done with MLS playoffs. Field is way too big. Who wants to watch quarter finals with Columbus, Nashville Orlando and New England? Mediocrity bowl. Yes. That’s a bit of bitterness, but seriously, what’s the point? Is this a result that’s even remotely meaningful for NE fans? Pfff.

  4. el Pachyderm says:

    Congrats on winning the Shield this year. Progress….
    …and Progress matters—- but the Road to the Title was paved from beginning to end through Philadelphia – only to come out tonight display guy were clearly the better team through 20 minutes all while laying a rotten egg.
    It’s one thing to lose to that pompous ass as he gets the last laugh and the only important laugh as he’s rightly interviewed this week in having essentially gifted us the Shield—-it’s another to play so goddamn poorly in losing to him. Lose. Fine. Play like somnolent dimwits…
    …Layoff. No layoff. Gil no Gil. Just an un-acceptable persistence in the narrative of “hey look at us!!!! Then shrivel & shrink from the light.”. Totally gutted.
    ….nothing further to say until camp next year….signing off for awhile.

  5. The way that first goal happened was very disappointing. U had possession and Wagner tried to get a little too fancy, lost the ball then had to foul to get it back. It was deserved though. Also looked to me like Martinez should have been called for a PK seconds earlier, so maybe karmic justice?

  6. Coach of year out-coached…so U. It wasn’t personnel…

    • This makes no sense. Do you think Curtin should have used a different line up? Or should he have made some subs in the first 25 minutes before they went down a goal. Yes, they were outplayed. No, they weren’t outcoached. To think otherwise is idiotic.

      • Dude, out gameplanned; completely lacked urgency; they hadn’t been shut out at home since early May last year; they were nowhere near being ready for this game; part of his job is to get the team motivated and prepared for everything the opposing side has to offer , which clearly wasn’t the case…one coach now has 34 playoff wins the other has 1..out coached brother

      • So I guess Greg Vanney was also outcoached in Toronto?
        It wasn’t a lack of motivation last night, it was a lack of execution. Jim Curtin wasn’t the one who skied Monteiro’s golden chance 5 minutes in. Jim Curtin wasn’t the one who time after time had poor first touches by a team who was making good first touches all season.
        This was a team that excelled playing every 3 to 7 days. 16 days between games cost them a lot more than anything to do with coaching.

      • Your not wrong, I’d say it’s mostly on the players and how absolutely dreadful every last one was and the layoff definitely hurt them, but absolving Jim doesnt make sense either..he himself talked about guarding against reading your press clippings and this, that, and the 3rd..he must protect them from the layoff between games, they were just so out of sorts that there is no way this wasn’t showing up in training, so he needs to figure out how hard he’s gotta be and they looked soft..he was the one that subbed off one of the attacking threats in the 60th minute for a CDM really a CB and I know it wasn’t working but you gotta keep Aaronson on longer for a possible moment…it’s on the players but also Jim

  7. It was pretty clear which team was in form and which hadn’t played in 2.5 weeks. 5 minutes in we saw an indication as to why Cape Verde played a pair of 0-0 draws recently. Sergio Santos had a couple of chances to make interceptions and turn them into breakaways like he normally would but didn’t.
    That being said, New England is really better than an 8 seed. Remember, they finished in a 3 way tie for 6th despite having to play the Union 4 times compared with Nashville’s 0 times.
    Despite this game, I’m still happy with the Union’s season, winning their first trophy and making Champion’s League.

  8. Saw it coming as soon as the revs became the opponents…Biggest game and the best players sucked..Martinez, my goodness as good as he was all year, that was how bad he was tonight..I’ve never seen someone give the ball away so willingly, thought we had something there, maybe I’m mistaken…Miro, can’t make a pass past 8 yards all night just so inept so brutal… and Kai Wagner holy shit dude, ran one play down and that was good for the rest of the night, passing was dreadful, just had no interest in tackling the ball on that goal and disinterested seemingly the rest of the night…At least we have the coach of the year to get them goin

  9. Wracked Opinion says:

    A painful watch, plus bitter pill to ultimately swallow.

    Unfortunately no one on the Union side played well.

    Collectively they shrank under the bright lights, big stage of “win, or go home” playoff competition.

    With it being clear early on that the combination of both winning the shield… along with the layoff… sapped their intensity, edge and focus.

    Lessons learned for the future.

  10. Arena Futbal says:

    Fafa said it best: “slow feet don’t eat.” NE came ready to play, Philly came out with their bags packed. Entirety of the performance wretched-the new guys found the moment too big and the entire team reverted to the no passing zone that marked the beginning. Once behind, it was over. They cannot create when clubs pack it in, the best passer they have is Elliott.

    11 years, 1 post-season win. Clearly don’t wrap their heads around the fact that this is the time of the year when talent rises. Revs have 3 DP’s healthy and now well oiled. Union have a bunch of grunts other than in net. Paint-by-number moves to bring Ilsinho in while everybody stands around waiting for him to win it. When that doesn’t work, time for the temper tantrums and ridiculous hacks. Embarrassing.

    Nobody’s “effort” epitomized the night more than the Crap-tain. Walked around all night waiving his arms. A leader whose legs have checked out for the duration. The coaching disparity notwithstanding, watching your armband Jake 96 minutes before cramping is disgusting to view.

    They are not the best team in the league, but they managed to navigate the pandemic the best. Time to use the Shield as something to (re)build on. More of these guys should be leaving than the mentioned for me. Forwards aren’t good enough.

  11. Henry Scobie says:

    Perhaps the only thing more grating than the Union’s poor showing, more nail scratching against the chalkboard discomfiting, was ESPN’s broadcast team and having to hear NE Rev head coach Bruce Arena’s petulant bellow throughout much of the match. May none of us ever have to endure that layer of sporting hell ever again.

    Union never sustained any kind of pressure or any kind of possession again the NE Revolution this evening. Passes were almost unanimously intercepted, Union touches were skittish and were easily dispossessed, and I struggle to find a standout performance amidst a near-universal mediocre and anonymous performance. Who played for the Union this evening? The starting XI felt like imposters who had never met and were asked to assemble a starting squad 45 minutes prior to kickoff. Tonight was an absolutely rudderless, expressionless, guileless performance, bereft of motivation, absent of any discernible ambition. As a fan, I am disappointed.

    I give some credit to Ilsinho, who provided the only performance that amounted to anything approaching a spark. El Brujo was brutal, Kacper wraithlike, Aaronson meek, Wagner undisciplined.

    But…let me endeavor to shunt this woeful conclusion to the season to the back of beyond and acknowledge that the 2020 season has been without doubt a huge success for the Union. A Supporters’ Shield, accolades for the coach and players alike, and international signing and further interest in Union players by several European clubs, these are all positives that can’t be diminished by one shambolic evening.

    • ESPN is just crap. No piped in crowd noise (which I like though I know others don’t), Adrian “the human sleeping pill” Healy, and I can’t believe in 2020 we are still subjected to that terrible scores banner all game long. Just a distraction. Hate it.

    • God God Almighty says:

      This. My god. SHUT UP MORENO.

  12. OneManWolfpack says:

    Play a team six times in one season and they’re bound to figure you out. Union came out just flat out bad, rusty, etc. I can’t say the Revs impressed me, but they capitalized when they could, so credit there.
    A word about the ref too… that guy was just really, really bad. Did he lose the game for the Union, no, of course not. Surely there was one PK to be had of three handballs in the box, no? He fell for every NE trick and let Turner wastes minutes, plural, with not kicking the ball.
    A successful season with a bad ending. Should’ve gone out better than this. Need a real #10 in here to break teams down when they pack it in. Sell McKenzie, sell Wagner… but don’t neglect the first team next season. You have momentum with the fans, the city, the media, etc. Come back next season ready to go and continue the good vibes.
    As always, thanks to everyone on this site, from the writers, photographers, and commenters – for another excellent season of coverage. Stay safe everyone. See you in the spring

  13. Hate to say it, but I kinda knew this might happen. It had all the earmarks of a trap game. And how many times can you beat a team in one season?? Plus the Revs are considerably better than their record now that Gil is back.

    Disappointing to lose in the first round, and to lose this way. BUT… it was still a terrific season. And I’m still proud of the Boys In Blue for that first trophy, and that first-ever CONCACAF berth. Maybe next year will be even better. In Ernst we trust…

  14. The Union lost as much as N.E. won. A bit of rust, a tad buying into their own media hype, topped off with looking beyond an opponent they had gotten the better of multiple times this season, equals a well deserved loss. Much of the team decided to play their worst match of the season tonight. This loss wasn’t on Curtin.
    Thanks to the boys in blue for a great regular season.

  15. Ugh, it’s days like this where blowing a golden opportunity is grating. Home field advantage throughout the playoffs and MLS Cup Final. Always guaranteed to play the worst seeded team in each playoff match. Second seed Toronto FC gets eliminated in the earlier match. Orlando would be our next opponent with two players out on red cards including their starting GK who lost his appeal tonight. Couldn’t have been a sweeter pathway to winning the MLS Cup. Would have kept the fun going during the COVID Winter for fans.
    . . .
    We all know the upsides of this season, though. Our first silverware was earned and we qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League for the first time. We were undefeated at home during the regular season and didn’t even drop a point in them, an MLS first.
    . . .
    “Rommel, you magnificent bastard. I read your book!”–(General Patton in the 1970 film played by George C. Scott when destroying Rommel’s tanks in a battle) Although Patton studied military history, strategies and adversaries, that film scene was actually fictionalized for dramatic purposes, but we witnessed a real life example of that tonight. We obviously got outplayed by a ‘Groundhog Day’ team that knew us too well from the five prior matches this year against them. Add that to our team that clearly was not up to scratch tonight and unprepared and/or unable to change it up against a familiar foe, and it was the recipe for a ‘one and done’.

    • Quick correction…we wouldn’t have been guaranteed to play the worst seeded team in each match, but seeding was built into the mix that led us to tonight.

  16. Games like this are Exhibit A about why playoffs are crap shoots. It’s a very disappointing end to a great season, but there’s no way you’re convincing me the better team won. It sucks, but it is what it is. I look forward to seeing how the Union reload to build on this season for next year.

  17. Wow. From a Philly fan who has been with the Union since their beginning, that was loco, crazy disappointing. I kept thinking I was watching a you-tube video on 3/4 speed. Arena’s hollering outmaneuvers Curtin’s introverted stares. Obviously some type of emotional paralysis. Here and there, when behind 0-2, some clear flashes of the playing style that won them the SS.

    Following the game I watched Seattle’s 2-0 victory over LAFC. Either of those team would have defeated the Union 5-0 last night.

    This was somehow a psychological loss. It happens. Learn and grow. See you next year.

    Somebody help me here, what happened?

  18. Was at game and it looked to me like NE were the ones that had 2 weeks to plan for the Union. For the entire first half, it seemed like a Rev player was standing waiting for every outlet pass out of the Union half – almost like Jim had painted Xs on the field and Arena had the playbook.
    That said, if Monteiro buries the shot from the 6 yard box 10 minutes into the game, the game changes significantly.
    With the season over, I think we need to acknowledge that Kacper was a bust this season. Easy to armchair QB, but it still seems to me that Curtin stays with guys “out of form” too long. Would have liked to see Fontana start at striker after his hot streak in Kacper’s place.

  19. Well that sucked. So in the frame work of 2020….Union win the Supporters Shield! Best record in the league, have the highest goal differential in the league, Goal keeper of the year,Coach of the year!

    I’m happy to see the long term infrastructure of the team being robust enough to turn out quality players! The scouting team finding players to keep the first team successful! Multiple players on their way to Europe and further success!

    These are the ZEN thoughts that will carry me into next season.

    It’s a new day! New players on their way to the first team. New merch in the store. I e cold beers in the cooler at the Snake and Shield.


  20. Knew this was going to happen, having seen the same club so many times. I was worried angry old Arena would outfox Jim in this one, which came to pass. I don’t understand the subbing. I don’t understand, having seen them so many times and having so much time to prepare, that their wasn’t some sort of plan B…particularly if you are down a goal or two. Why no change of shape to throw the Revs off? When I first saw Elliott as a sub….I actually had a slight hope he was going in as another CB and we were going 3-4-3. But no, your subs seemed more like an under ten coach just trying to get guys on the pitch one last time before the season ended. Beating another club who is pretty comparable to you that many times is just not statistically happening. But hey, first hardware and champions league to look forward to.

    • How did Arena outfox Jim? Curtin’s subs were trying to shakeup a team that was playing lethargically and bringing in two players who have historically played better against New England than against anyone else (Jack and Anthony both have multiple goals against them). He was looking for someone to put the ball into the net. It didn’t work but given the number of times he’s been accused of using the same subs over and over, it doesn’t make sense to whine when he tries something else that doesn’t work.

      • He won the match, that’s how. Pretty simple! NE didn’t allow the Union to play in transitions…which they thrive on. Fontana should have come on after halftime……not Ilsinho, he’s got a twenty minute shelf life. Take off Aaronson???? Bedoya should have been the one to come off……..he looked gassed and was cramping up by the end of the match. That’s just for starters bro!

      • And what in the way anyone on the Union played last night makes you think that any of those subs would have made any difference. The way they were playing, once the Union went down 2-0, Jurgen Klopp could have been coaching them and they would have lost.
        Arena didn’t outfox Curtin. Arena pretty much stood there looking goofy. The New England players outplayed the Union’s. Maybe it was Curtin’s fault the Union weren’t ready. I’ll argue that the Union last night were in the same situation as Toronto was and NYCFC was in their first game last year. It’s a much tougher ask than people realize to have a team ready to play a playoff game after a 2.5 week break when your opponent has already won a playoff game and is in better match shape by virtue of having played since the layoff.

      • No, beating an opponent five or six times….that’s the tough part. Trust me, it drove Jim bonkers….as it would any gaffer. You really think Arena and NE’s homework was done last night……they were looking at video as soon as the their last match was over…….Lolz. If you face an opponent that many times….both sides are so familiar with each other you need to play mistake free footy in your style and you also need a plan B to throw a wrench in what Arena and his squad have seen if you go down……neither happened. I give Jim credit for a great year, but I will still call him out when I think he came up short. The Union set the bar for themselves for big matches with the Toronto result……we didn’t see any of that. Not to bring that level of intensity to this match also falls on Jim…….and the players. Arena had his squad let the Union possess the ball, which has always been problematic….not to get into an open match where the Union thrive in pressing and transitions. So, Arena had nothing to do with that? And I hate the arrogant prick……but yeah, he walked circles around Jim last night. His smug expression said it all…….

  21. Woof.
    Moving forward.

  22. Last year, going into MLS Cup, I was much more eager and yearning to advance in each round. Of course, the Union entered that tournament finishing 3rd in the East not having won Supporters’ Shield, or any trophy in their club history. So MLS Cup still represented an opportunity to obtain silverware. So I was hyped for both the NYRB and ATL games.

    Entering MLS Cup this year as Supporters’ Shield winners, I certainly wasn’t indifferent to the result of this game, but I felt that the Union already accomplished what they needed.

    Am I going to belittle MLS Cup because I want to heighten the importance of the Supporters Shield? Yea I am. MLS Cup is silly. Perhaps more specifically, the timing of MLS Cup is silly. It’s a silly year-end tournament designed for American fans who can’t comprehend sport without play-offs. And look, I’m not writing off the appeal of play-offs. I get it; they’re exciting and tense and often yield “great sporting moments”. But overall season success shouldn’t be determined by whether you can win a few single-elimination games in row after you just grinded out result after result and, in the case of the U, finished top of the table. MLS Cup completely undermines regular season achievements. And that sucks. Union fans shouldn’t have to feel like crap this morning because their team just lost its first game to a team that they went 4-0-1 against in the regular season. We should be riding the high of supporters’ shield success all the way to the start of the 2021 season.

    My main point here is that MLS Cup completely undermines the Supporters’ Shield. I think the league has options to remedy this. This league has been progressive and forward-thinking in the past and I’m hoping they can apply that type of thinking to this issue. There’s a lot of aspects of European leagues that MLS does not need to adopt. MLS is a weird league, and I like it that way. But dwarfing the achievement of the best regular season team by immediately having a knockout tournament which, as a whole, most supporters and players value higher, is a shame. It’s how American sports structure their leagues and it’s wrong.

    • I agree with 90+% of what you are saying. The only thing I disagree with is the concept that MLS has been progressive and forward thinking. In my mind they are a mismanaged league that bungles almost everything. Just as an example, why were the Union in Columbus twice while Columbus while Columbus’ exposure to PA was flying over it on their way to New York, Hartford, and DC. Or the frequency that we see one team playing on short rest while the other just had a week off.

    • The current way is certainly a fusion between the ‘American Way’ with the MLS Cup (winner of knockout playoffs that are set up through season performance) and the ‘Rest of the World’ with the Supporters’ Shield (winner of the regular season). Add in the USOC as our version of the FA Cup, and that’s our ‘Triple Crown’ for domestic awards.

      There’s certainly business and fan satisfaction concerns for using the current format, but it also helps shape the debates about who actually was the best team of the season.

      IMO, the USOC is the least determinative of the three awards regarding ‘best team’ given its format. The far more subjective part is between the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup, all depending on the totality of circumstances such as the relative strengths and weaknesses of the East and West, how close the races were to the Shield, and how well the teams comparatively did in the MLS Cup playoffs and the factors of those matches.

  23. The current way is certainly a fusion between the ‘American Way’ with the MLS Cup (winner of knockout playoffs that are set up through season performance) and the ‘Rest of the World’ with the Supporters’ Shield (winner of the regular season). Add in the USOC as our version of the FA Cup, and that’s our ‘Triple Crown’ for domestic awards.

    There’s certainly business and fan satisfaction concerns for using the current format, but it also helps shape the debates about who actually was the best team of the season.

    IMO, the USOC is the least determinative of the three awards regarding ‘best team’ given its format. The far more subjective part is between the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup, all depending on the totality of circumstances such as the relative strengths and weaknesses of the East and West, how close the races were to the Shield, and how well the teams comparatively did in the MLS Cup playoffs and the factors of those matches.

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