The MLS final will take place on December 9
35 Latin American players are in the roster of the four remaining teams Reuters

The MLS conference finales will take place this Saturday, with four teams vying for the season title. All of them have a strong presence of Latin American players, among them season MVP Luciano Acosta.

Concretely, Columbus Crew will face with FC Cincinnati, while defending champions Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) Vs. Houston Dynamo will be the other game. Both will be single playoff matches, meaning that teams will play 30 minutes of added time in the case of a tie and, should the parity continue, they will decide the finalist with a penalty shootout. The deciding game will take place on Saturday, December 9.

Overall, the four teams will feature 35 players from Latin America, according to Balón Latino. Columbus Crew has the lowest amount, with five. Its rival, FC Cincinnati, has nine, Acosta among them.

The 2023 Landon Donovan MVP captained the team and led the league with 31 goal contributions, 17 goals and 14 assists during the regular season. According to the MLS, Acosta received 60.37% of player, media and technical staff votes to secure the MVP spot.

FC Cincinnati already won its first silverware of the season after securing the Supporter's Shield trophy by amassing the most points during the regular season.

Acosta is the ninth South American player to earn the MLS MVP award. Other Latinos to win the award include Carlos Vela (2019), Josef Martínez (2018), Diego Valeri (2015), David Ferreira (2010) Guillermo Barros Schelotto (2008), Luciano Emilio (2007) and Christian Gómez (2004).

LAFC, on its end, has the award runner-up, French-Gabonese Denis Bouanga, who got almost 15 percent of the support. The team also features the most Latinos among the conference finalists, with 13: six Mexicans, two Colombians, a Salvadorian, a Peruvian, an Ecuadorian and a Honduran. The remaining team, Houston Dynamo, features eight Latin American players in its roster.

This season was marked by the arrival of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi to Inter Miami. Messi hit the ground running, leading the team to its first title, the Leagues Cup, by scoring 10 goals in seven games.

Lionel Messi before an Inter Miami match
Lionel Messi hasn't played in Inter Miami's last matches AFP

Messi was joined by former FC Barcelona teammates and World Cup champions midfielder Sergio Busquets and left winger Jordi Alba. According to a report by ESPN Argentina' Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez could also join the team next season.

However, a protracted leg injury kept him away for several league games after that, impairing Inter Miami and its chances of making it to the playoffs. The team, which was struggling in the league before his arrival, failed to make it to the postseason.

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