Three things to watch for in the 2015 MLS Cup


The final match of the 2015 Major League Soccer season is upon us, as the 2015 MLS Cup kicks off at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Columbus Crew SC has home-field advantage, and will be hoping a sold out MAPFRE Stadium can help will the Crew to their second MLS Cup.

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For the Portland Timbers, a win would give the franchise bragging rights as the first team to bring the title to Cascadia.

Here’s three things to look out for in the final.

Will Kei Kamara be playing at 100 percent?

Kei Kamara finished tied for the league lead with 22 goals this season, but his status is in doubt for the final on Sunday. Columbus’ star striker injured his right leg in training on Saturday after jumping for a ball and landing awkwardly. Kamara was able to walk off under his own power, but his manager Gregg Berhalter said he wasn’t sure about the severity of the injury. Berhalter admitted that he would have to alter his gameplan if Kamara wasn’t able to play, which would be the worst possible case for Columbus.

Goalkeeper battle between Steve Clark and Adam Kwarasey

Both of these sides love to fly forward on the attack, and you should expect to see chances in the final. While both managers will work up some tactical solutions to try and slow down the opposition, the goalkeepers will still be the last line of defense. With a trophy up for grabs, one save could very well be the difference. A goalkeeper making big stops not only gives his side an energy boost, but also frustrates the attacking players. Steve Clark of Columbus and Adam Kwarasey of Portland haven’t been talked about much in the lead-up to the 2015 MLS Cup, but they could have a massive impact.

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Darlington Nagbe playing on the biggest stage

The 2nd overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, Darlington Nagbe’s career has had some ups and downs, but he is a big reason the Timbers are in the final on Sunday. Manager Caleb Porter shifted Nagbe into a more central role late in the season, and it has proven to be a masterstroke for both the player and the team. His form was impressive enough to get a call-up to the USMNT, making his international debut in November. Look for Nagbe to be heavily involved in the Portland attack, as Sunday’s match could be a defining moment in the 25-year-old’s career.