MLS Playoffs: LAFC-Seattle Sounders preview

Just 10 days after the playoffs began, the first MLS Cup finalist will be determined Tuesday night when LAFC hosts the Seattle Sounders.

Backdrop.
For the third fall in a row, California has been hit severe fires driven by fierce winds. The Sounders had to move practice on Monday from UCLA, which was closed, to Loyola Marymount University. The concern for Tuesday's game at Banc of California Stadium will be will the threat of smoke from the Getty Fire.

2019 series:
April 21: LAFC 4 Seattle 1
April 28: Seattle 1 LAFC 1

Playoff record.
LAFC. The win over the Galaxy was LAFC's first in the playoffs.

Seattle. The Sounders are seeking their third conference title in the last four years. Six starters from the MLS Cup 2016 championship team remain, giving them plenty of experience.

How they got there.
LAFC. After failing to beat the LA Galaxy in five regular-season meetings over two seasons, LAFC won its first El Trafico when it mattered most. The 5-3 win featured a pair of first-half goals from Carlos Vela, who then set up Diego Rossi for the winner after the Galaxy has pulled even at 2-2. The difference in the game was Adama Diomande, who came off the bench and scored two goals in his first game back after his release from MLS's substance abuse and behavioral health program.

Seattle. The Sounders won their last two games of the regular season -- 1-0 wins over San Jose and Minnesota United -- to finish in second place and set up home games for the first two rounds of the playoffs. They almost lost to FC Dallas -- blowing 2-0 and 3-2 leads before advancing 4-3 in overtime -- but comfortably disposed of Real Salt Lake, 2-0.

Injury report.
LAFC. A big reason for LAFC's success has been the midfield trio of Best XI pick Eduard Atuesta, Latif Blessing and Mark Anthony Kaye. The latter was injured in Canada's 2-0 win over the USA two weeks ago and missed the Galaxy match. He should be available for Tuesday's game.

Seattle. Roman Torres had to leave the RSL game with a hamstring strain and is listed as questionable. Sounder coach Brian Schmetzer did not rule the Panamanian out of the starting lineup on Tuesday.

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