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November 17, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Welcome to Conference Final week

This upcoming Sunday in the greater Los Angeles metro area, the Seattle Sounders will play in the Western Conference final for the second time in club history against the team that beat them there last time, the L.A. Galaxy.

The first leg of the series will bring together two of Major League Soccer’s leading MVP candidates (Obafemi Martins and Robbie Keane), two of its biggest names (Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan) and two of its very best teams — not just this season, but maybe even in league history.

The other side of the bracket is also flush with intrigue.

In one corner of the Eastern Conference final we have the New York Red Bulls. These are likely to be the final two (or three) MLS matches in Thierry Henry’s New York career, and he’s been making the most out of his final stretch — the old maestro classed D.C. United off the field in the semifinals. Bradley Wright-Phillips is seeking to validate his eye-popping regular goalscoring tally and Tim Cahill could put all the recent off-season drama behind him.

With big-name stars on their way out and NYCFC on its way in, this might be NYRB’s best shot at a title in the foreseeable future.

Standing in its way is a New England Revolution team that may be the hottest in MLS. Lee Nguyen has been a revelation in the midfield — though with Charlie Davies up top, he might not even have the most heartwarming comeback story on his own team. The Revs play an attractive style and bang in plenty of goals, as the 7-3 aggregate scoreline against Columbus in the conference semis showed. They come attached with their own whiff of controversy, as well, given the way that final-missing-piece Jermaine Jones dropped into their lap via a blind draw at the trade deadline.

The first leg of the New York-New England series kicks off Sunday at 10:30 a.m. PST from Red Bull Arena, with the Sounders and Galaxy start coming three-and-a-half hours later.

Let the countdown begin.

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