Columbus Crew will host reigning champions LAFC this weekend in this year's MLS Cup final, as the former is the only team left in the way of the latter's attempt to reach back-to-back MLS Cup titles and become the first team to do so since LA Galaxy between 2011-12.

The winner of this match will also win a berth in the Round of 16 of next year's CONCACAF Champions Cup.

Here's what you need to know about this weekend's MLS Cup final:

'Cucho' Hernández' historic season

The Crew finished the regular season as the MLS' best offense with 67 goals, 16 of which came from Colombian striker Juan Camilo 'Cucho' Hernández.

He also provided 11 assists, taking his tally to 27 goal involvements in the regular season, ranking 2nd among all Columbus Crew players in the 21st Century, only behind Kai Kamara's 30 during the 2015 season (22 goals, 8 assists).

So far this playoffs, he has 6 goal involvements (4 goals, 2 assists), including a 118th-minute goal against Orlando City in the Conference Semifinals.

Columbus will hope that Hernández an keep up his good form and help win their 3rd-ever MLS Cup and 2nd in the last four years.

Can Denis Bouanga add another trophy to his Golden Boot season?

LAFC striker Denis Bouanga will try to add to his already remarkable personal season. Bouanga finished the regular season as the top scorer in MLS with 20 goals, becoming just the 2nd African player to win such award after Tampa Bay Mutiny's Mamadou Diallo, who netted 26 times during the 2000 MLS season.

Only twice has the winner of the Golden Boot also taken the MLS Cup in the same season, both cases by Latinos. In 2021, Taty Castellanos won it with 21 goals while helping New York City FC win its first-ever MLS Cup. Josef Martínez was the other one when Atlanta United won it all during his 31-goal regular season.

Carlos Vela's legacy in Los Angeles

After a dramatic last-minute goal by Gareth Bale in last year's MLS Cup final, LAFC will try to replicate last season's heroics to make it two in a row. With already one MLS Cup under the belt, Carlos Vela will look to deliver a historic 2nd title to his already remarkable time as an LAFC player. If his team comes out triumphant this weekend, he would become the first Mexican international to win multiple MLS Cup titles.

Carlos Vela LAFC
Carlos Vela celebrating a goal during the 2022 MLS season; LAFC won MLS Cup that year Via MLS Commissioner Don Garber @thesoccerdon on X/Twitter

Back-to-back MLS Cup titles

Only three teams in MLS history have achieved consecutive MLS Cup titles in the history of the competition. D.C. United did so during MLS' first two seasons of existence, between 1995-96. Houston Dynamo were the second in 2007, beating the New England Revolution in consecutive finals.

As mentioned above, LA Galaxy is the last MLS team to achieve the feat (2011-12) with the help of David Beckham and Robbie Keane, defeating Houston Dynamo twice in a row in the MLS Cup final.

First-ever Black coach to win MLS Cup?

Columbus' coach, Wilfred Nancy, could make history by becoming the first Black coach to win American's soccer most prestigious competition. In fact, during the league's 28-year history, he is the only Black coach to ever reach the final. During the 2018 season, Atlanta United's manager Gerardo Martino became the first coach of Latino descent to win MLS Cup.

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