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Your MLS Conference Finals Rootability Index

Which of the final four should YOU root for?

MLS: Playoffs-Toronto FC at New York City FC
Even Giovinco wearing a short sleeved jersey and gloves doesn’t dampen the desire to root for him.
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

We fed the numbers into the old Rootability Index in time for the start of the MLS Conference Finals tonight, and just got the results, hot off the press. We’re down to four teams, vying for two slots at MLS Cup, and wow, the tension is really ratcheting up. So if you need some help, who should you root for?

Remember: The Rootability Index is not a predictions machine. It’s not going to tell you who will win, only who you should root for to win.

With that, there’s little time to spare: Let’s jump right in!

Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC (Tues. 5 pm PT, ESPN)

The Rootability Index has been veering heavily in the Impact’s direction so far this playoffs, because they are the team most capable of unleashing pure chaos among the playoff sides this year. But even though the Index was telling me to go for the Quebecois outfit, I knew that the more Montreal won, the less likely drama would emerge from their camp. Yes, they are still capable of holding an impromptu press conference with the owner on a random Sunday, or releasing a cryptic press release at odd hours, or see some sort of Didier Drogba-led mutiny on the field because he did not like the pregame menu that day. But the Impact’s success has tamped down the chances of that happening.

In that spirit, the Index gives the narrow edge to Toronto FC in this series. They still field Sebastian Giovinco, who is really good at soccer, and while drama may be an ever-present possibility for Montreal, TFC lived through the days of pure incompetence. Remember, our old iteration of this blog held a “Dysfunction Olympics” with TFC’s blog and it was pretty even! That they are out of the muck and this close to an MLS Cup berth is remarkable, and should warm your heart. Edge goes to the Red side of this derby, then.

Seattle Sounders vs. Colorado Rapids (7 pm PT, FS1)

This one is a real conundrum: Do you like compelling narratives or the underdog story more?

The Sounders are the narrative: Supposed to be here, but looked like they would not even sniff the playoffs midseason. Missing their biggest star for months, they just got a new star, no big deal! And now they could really go farther than they ever have before.

Then there’s the Rapids, the underdog. Colorado thrives on nobody believing in them — you’re doing them a favor if you hate on their chances, you see. And while their gutsiness and roster of players who in most cases other teams didn’t want is admirable, their games are boring most of the time.

If you’re a neutral, do you want to see an underdog that is actually a higher seed succeed, no matter the style of play, or do you want to see good soccer? The Rootability Index thinks the quality of soccer is probably the tiebreaker here, and the Sounders appear more likely to deliver on this count. The Index points to Seattle.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!