Five months on from the Raptors' stunning NBA Finals triumph in Oakland, the city of Toronto will hope to be celebrating further success after the MLS Cup final.

The Raptors defeated two-time defending champions the Golden State Warriors for their first title, and Toronto FC can add another championship by beating Seattle Sounders on Sunday.

Toronto and Seattle are facing one another in the season decider in MLS for the third time in four years, winning a title apiece at BMO Field before this showdown at CenturyLink Field.

Victory would cap a sensational 2019 for sports in Toronto, but other cities have similarly been able to hail two or more major championships in the same year previously. We take a look at the seven most recent examples.
 

1998: CHICAGO - Bulls (NBA), Fire (MLS)

Michael Jordan's NBA dominance with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s gave the city's other sports teams plenty of opportunities to complete a double. In 1998, two years after the introduction of MLS, early force Chicago Fire were able to deliver.

Jordan ended his final season in Chicago a champion once again, the MVP and Finals MVP as the Utah Jazz were beaten 4-2 in June. Fire then defeated DC United 2-0 at the Rose Bowl in October, capping a fine year for the Windy City.
 

2000: NEW JERSEY/NEW YORK - Devils (NHL), Yankees (MLB)

The sports teams in the greater New York area brought in the millennium in real style as both the New Jersey Devils and the New York Yankees were able to clinch championships.

The second of the Devils' three Stanley Cup successes to date came against the Dallas Stars in June's Game 6, before a New York victory at the World Series was guaranteed as the Yankees faced the Mets four months later. The Yankees won inside five games for a third straight title.
 

2002: LOS ANGELES - Lakers (NBA), Galaxy (MLS), Angels (MLB)

Few cities have enjoyed a year as dominant as Los Angeles did in 2002, with the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Galaxy and Anaheim Angels all triumphing.

The Lakers won the NBA Finals for a third consecutive year in June, crushing the New Jersey Nets 4-0, before October brought double delight for the city's sports fans, with Galaxy beating New England Revolution 1-0 as the Angels began their World Series campaign, ultimately edging out the San Francisco Giants in seven games.
 

2004: NEW ENGLAND/BOSTON - Patriots (NFL), Red Sox (MLB)

It should have surprised no one to see the New England Patriots win the Super Bowl, their second of three in four years, but it was a far bigger deal to see the Boston Red Sox come out on top in the World Series.

Tom Brady earned his second ring as the Carolina Panthers were edged out in a dramatic fourth quarter in February, before neighbours the Red Sox ended the 'Curse of the Bambino' and an 86-year wait for a championship by thrashing the St Louis Cardinals in October, having earlier come from 3-0 down against the Yankees.

2009: PITTSBURGH - Steelers (NFL), Penguins (NHL)

Pittsburgh sports fans have had plenty to celebrate since the turn of the century. The Pirates have largely toiled in MLB, but the NFL Steelers and NHL Penguins have each seen success - and did so in the same year in 2009.

The Steelers became the first franchise to win six Super Bowls when they held off a fourth-quarter fightback from the Arizona Cardinals in February, while the Penguins avenged their 2008 Stanley Cup defeat to the Detroit Red Wings against the same team in Game 7 in June.
 

2012: LOS ANGELES - Kings (NHL), Galaxy (MLS)

If Toronto can win a second MLS Cup in three years, they will then hope to kick on and pursue Galaxy's record of five titles - the fourth of which came in December 2012, six months after the Los Angeles Kings broke their Stanley Cup duck.

Playing just the second Finals in their history, the Kings dealt established winners the Devils a six-game defeat. Galaxy, far more accustomed with success, then defeated Houston Dynamo for the second year running in the MLS Cup final.


2014: LOS ANGELES - Kings (NHL), Galaxy (MLS)

Having waited so long for a first triumph, the Kings wasted little time at all to double their tally - much like Toronto FC, the Reds will hope.

Another New York outfit, the New York Rangers, were dispatched 4-1 in June, setting up another magnificent double with Galaxy when Bruce Arena's men beat New England thanks to an extra-time Robbie Keane strike in December.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is "being recruited by AC Milan", according to Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber.

The 38-year-old has spent the past 18 months in MLS, but his contract with LA Galaxy expires in December and he has been linked with a return to European football.

Ibrahimovic played for Milan for two seasons before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain in 2012 and Garber has suggested a return is on the cards.

"Zlatan is such an interesting guy," he told ESPN. "He keeps my hands full and my inbox full, but he's a thrill-a-minute. 

"You need to have those guys that break through the clutter like [David] Beckham did in our early days. He is a 38-year-old guy who is being recruited by AC Milan, one of the top clubs in the world."

Ibrahimovic was named in the MLS Best XI in 2018 and 2019 after scoring a combined 53 goals, and Garber has not entirely ruled out the Swedish striker agreeing a new contract to stay in Los Angeles.

"He has almost set records for the number of goals he's scored in the last two years and is exciting on and off the field. 

"He keeps our hands full but I'd love to see him back - that's up to LA Galaxy. I've enjoyed the Zlatan moments, especially when he speaks to me in third person."

One star name may appear to be on his way out of MLS, but Garber hopes others will follow in the steps of Ibrahimovic, Beckham and Thierry Henry.

Beckham spent five years with Galaxy and is now the co-owner of new club Inter Miami, who will make their MLS debut in 2020.

Asked about Beckham's influence in luring others to America, Garber said: "We saw Henry come to this league because he had a conversation with Beckham five or six years ago.

"David is out there speaking to lots of players and, just as importantly, he is very involved in the academy down at Miami. 

"They are recruiting young players and their academy has been open for a year now with a team that's not playing until next year. They have a combination of young players and some international guys that David will bring in."

Romelu Lukaku's two-goal showing for Inter at Bologna has earned him a place in the FUT Team of the Week, though Timo Werner's inclusion is arguably the most deserved of this week's selection.

Werner lit up the Bundesliga at the weekend with a hat-trick and a treble of assists in RB Leipzig's 8-0 demolition of Mainz, having a hand in all but two of Leipzig's goals in a remarkable win.

The Germany international became only the second player to be involved in six goals in a single Bundesliga match since detailed Opta data collection began in 2004-05 – the first being Claudio Pizarro with four goals and two assists in May 2013.

He is partnered in attack by Lukaku after his goals secured 2-1 comeback win on the road, while a forward-thinking back three includes Juventus star Matthijs de Ligt and Manchester City full-back Kyle Walker.

Below, we examine the entire squad that is set to be up for grabs online.

FUT Team of the Week

GK: Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach) – 86

RB: Kyle Walker (Manchester City) – 86

CB: Matthijs de Ligt (Piemonte Calcio/Juventus) – 86

LB: Alex Grimaldo (Benfica) – 85

LM: Filip Kostic (Eintracht Frankfurt) – 84

CAM: Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao) – 84

CM: Luis Alberto (Lazio) – 86

LM: Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund) – 84

CAM: Hakim Ziyech (Ajax) – 86

ST: Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) – 85

ST: Romelu Lukaku (Inter) – 86

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Walter Benitez (Nice) – 83

CB: Chris Smalling (Roma) – 83

LB: Frank Fabra (Boca Juniors/Buenos Aires) – 82

RM: Fabian Orellana (Eibar) – 82

CAM: Nicolas Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders) – 82

ST: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) – 84

ST: Joao Pedro (Cagliari) – 81

RESERVES

CB: Harry Ashcroft (Finn Harps) – 69

ST: Camillo Ciano (Frosinone) – 80

CM: John Lundstram (Sheffield United) – 76

ST: Mohamed Buya Turay (Djurgardens) – 77

ST: Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (Tranmere Rovers) – 71

Carlos Vela has been named the 2019 MLS MVP after a record-breaking season with Los Angeles FC.

Vela received 69 per cent of the weighted vote to beat LA Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Atlanta United's Josef Martinez, and New York City pair Maxi Moralez and Heber to the award.

The 30-year-old Vela scored an unprecedented 34 goals in 31 regular-season appearances as LAFC claimed the Supporters' Shield.

Mexican forward Vela also supplied 15 assists to set a new MLS benchmark for goal involvements, surpassing Sebastian Giovinco's total of 38 (22 goals, 16 assists) for Toronto in 2015.

Despite taking his goal tally for the year to 36 with a double in the Western Conference semi-final victory over rivals the Galaxy, Vela drew a blank as Bob Bradley's team were eliminated from the MLS Cup play-offs by Seattle Sounders.

The writing has long been on the wall for Gareth Bale.

Zinedine Zidane wanted him gone from Real Madrid before the previous transfer window closed, but a move did not materialise.

But as the January window approaches, Bale is reportedly ready to leave.

 

TOP STORY – GARETH WANTS TO BALE

Gareth Bale wants to leave Real Madrid in January amid links to the Chinese Super League, according to Cadena Ser.

Bale was poised to make a shock switch to China after being told to move on by Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane, though the Welshman remained at the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, Bale is reportedly desperate for a January exit and wants Madrid to listen to offers from the CSL.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Calciomercato, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has offered himself to former club Juventus. Bologna have confirmed their interest in the LA Galaxy striker, whose contract is set to expire. A-League team Perth Glory want to bring the 38-year-old to Australia. Ibrahimovic spent two years at Juventus, however, the Serie A champions are reportedly not prepared to bring back the veteran as they look to trim their squad in January.

Roma are close to reaching an agreement with Manchester United for on-loan defender Chris Smalling. Calciomercato reports the Serie A side are preparing to present a €17million (£14.6m) offer for the Englishman.

William Saliba is yet to play a match for Arsenal but he could already be on the move. Saliba signed for the Gunners in July before he was immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 season. However, Defensa Central claims Real Madrid are eyeing the 18-year-old French defender. Monaco's Benoit Badiashile and Boubacar Kamara of Marseille are also on the list to potentially replace Raphael Varane.

- The Telegraph says Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana is a target for clubs in the Chinese Super League and MLS. Lallana is out of contract at the end of the season.

Ronald Koeman dominates the frontpage of Monday's SPORT newspaper. The Netherlands boss is heavily linked to Barcelona having revealed a release clause in his contract, and amid growing pressure on head coach Ernesto Valverde .

- Former Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri and ex-Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta are among the candidates to replace Unai Emery should the Gunners sack the Spaniard, according to the Mirror. Allegri has also been linked to Bayern Munich and Manchester United, while Arteta is serving as Pep Guardiola's Manchester City assistant. Jose Mourinho has also reportedly emerged as an option.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic joining Bologna is a real possibility, according to the Serie A club's sporting director Walter Sabatini.

Ibrahimovic is set to become one of world football's most in-demand free agents with his LA Galaxy contract set to expire next month.

The MLS side are keen to extend their association with the former Sweden striker, who has suggested on social media he could return to Spain.

A-League club Perth Glory are among the teams to have confirmed their interest in Ibrahimovic, who has also been heavily linked with Napoli and a possible return to Manchester United.

It appears Bologna are also keen on the 38-year-old.

"Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Bologna is a real possibility," Sabatini told Sky Sport Italia. "Trust me, it's not impossible.

"He's considering our offer because he wants to help Sinisa Mihajlovic.

"We're trying to make it possible. It'd be fantastic. Let's see..."

Bologna 12th in the Serie A table with one win in their past eight league games after Saturday's 2-1 home loss to Inter.

Mihajlovic, the club's coach, has been undergoing treatment for leukaemia after confirming his diagnosis in July.

Ibrahimovic, whose former clubs also include Ajax, Inter, Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, has hit 53 goals in 58 MLS games for Galaxy.

A new striker in January is a priority at Manchester United and reports suggest a familiar face could make a sensational return to England.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has previously said the club will be doing business after Christmas, with a striker still required following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

Marcus Rashford has scored three goals in his previous two matches, while Anthony Martial marked his return from injury with a goal against Norwich City last Sunday, but a surprising name could provide the answer to United's depth issues up top.

 

TOP STORY – MANCHESTER UNITED MAKE CONTACT WITH IBRAHIMOVIC

Manchester United have made contact with former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, according to TuttoMercatoWeb.

Ibrahimovic scored 30 goals in MLS for LA Galaxy in 2019, but they were eliminated from the post-season after a 5-3 defeat to cross-town rivals LAFC in the Western Conference semi-finals last weekend.

Interest in the former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain striker has increased since the end of LA Galaxy's season with the Swede still believing he can contribute at the highest level.

The 38-year-old is currently a free agent and scored 29 goals at Old Trafford in a brief spell with the club previously.

ROUND-UP

- One player who may create funds for Manchester United's January business is defender Chris Smalling, but Corriere dello Sport claim the Red Devils want double the €10 million price Roma are expecting to pay for him. 

- AS are reporting Edinson Cavani is weighing up his future at Paris Saint-Germain with Atletico Madrid and Inter Miami keeping tabs on the Uruguayan.

Stefano Sensi is currently on-loan at Inter Milan from Sassuolo, but Sport claim Sensi's agent is in Barcelona as speculation of a move to the Spanish champions grows.

- The Daily Mail claims Wolves will turn to Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes in January as they seek reinforcements to cover the injured Willy Boly.

- Chelsea are interested in signing Hertha Berlin winger Javairo Dilrosun when their transfer ban expires, according to Calciomercato.

- L'Equipe say Nantes are among several clubs showing interest in free agent forward Hatem Ben Arfa.

LA Galaxy will hold talks with Zlatan Ibrahimovic next week as the enigmatic Swedish striker mulls over his next move.

Ibrahimovic, 38, is out of contract in December and appears to have plenty of options in Europe and beyond.

The former Inter, Barcelona and Manchester United striker has been linked with several clubs in Serie A and himself hinted at a return to Spain in a cryptic Instagram post.

A-League club Perth Glory have also confirmed their interest.

But, according to Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese, a third season in the United States is not yet out of the question.

"My deal with him, and I have known him for a long time, is to sit down with him after things have calmed down post-season and evaluate what is good for him, his family, his fitness and for us as well," Te Kloese told ESPN Deportes.

Ibrahimovic has shone since moving to MLS from Old Trafford, scoring 53 goals across two seasons, but his regular criticism of the playing standard has made waves.

"You all already know Zlatan," Te Kloese added.

"He is a topic all by himself, he is a unique character with so many facets, and I think he helped us this year, basically and obviously with the number of goals he scored, which was so impressive.

"And all of that we will be talking about, for sure, next week when he returns.

"He is a very mature athlete in that sense and so we will first and foremost be speaking like adults, and after that we will determine what is the best for all parties involved."

Australian club Perth Glory confirmed they have made an approach for LA Galaxy superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic's contract is set to expire following the Galaxy's elimination from the MLS play-offs and the 38-year-old striker is attracting interest.

Former Manchester United, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus star Ibrahimovic has been linked with a move to LaLiga, as well as Napoli, Bologna and Inter amid talk of a return to Europe.

Now, A-League premiers Perth have thrown their hat into the ring to bring the ex-Sweden international to Australia on a reported guest-player deal for up to six games this year.

"An approach has been made to his agent [Mino Raiola]," Glory CEO Tony Pignata told Fairfax.

"We've asked the question firstly about his availability and secondly of his interest."

Ibrahimovic has flourished since moving to Los Angeles from Premier League giants United in 2018 – scoring 53 goals across two seasons for the Galaxy.

Nick DeLeon's stunning late goal led Toronto past defending champions Atlanta United 2-1 and through to the MLS Cup final.

With 12 minutes remaining in Atlanta on Wednesday, DeLeon produced a thunderous long-range effort that beat Brad Guzan and secured Toronto's spot in the November 10 final.

Toronto will travel to Seattle Sounders in a rematch of the 2017 decider, which the Canadian side won 2-0.

After Los Angeles FC's shock defeat to Seattle on Tuesday, there was another upset as Frank de Boer's Atlanta were dethroned on home soil.

Julian Gressel gave Atlanta a fourth-minute lead after a selfless pass from team-mate Gonzalo Martinez at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

However, their lead only lasted 10 minutes as Toronto's Nicolas Benezet found the far corner of the net with a curling effort.

Toronto had the final say away from home after DeLeon somehow created enough space to find the top corner in the 78th minute.

Kylian Mbappe is the star attraction of the latest Team of the Week on FIFA Ultimate Team after he scored twice for Paris Saint-Germain in the 4-0 Classique win over Marseille on Sunday.

Although the Frenchman has had an injury-hit start to the season, he has still managed to net eight goals in nine appearances across all competitions, with PSG looking sharp.

He is not joined in the team by Jamie Vardy, however. The striker scored a hat-trick as Leicester City equalled the record for the biggest Premier League win when they demolished Southampton 9-0 on Friday.

Instead of the English forward, his Leicester team-mate Ayoze Perez – who also netted a treble – gets the nod, though he only takes a place among the substitutes, with Ben Chilwell the only Foxes star in the starting XI.

Below, we have the full squad of in-form cards that are now up for grabs online.

FUT Team of the Week

GK: Matz Sels (Strasbourg) – 82

CB: Domagoj Vida (Besiktas) – 83

CB: Nicolas Nkoulou (Torino) – 84

LB: Ben Chilwell (Leicester City) – 82

RM: Karim Bellarabi (Bayer Leverkusen) – 84

CM: Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid) – 86

CDM: Fabinho (Liverpool) – 86

LW: Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain) – 90

CAM: Yusuf Yazici (Lille) – 82

ST: Carlos Vela (Los Angeles FC) – 85

ST: Josip Ilicic (Atalanta) – 86

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Gabriel (Lecce) – 81

CB: Bernardo Espinosa (Espanyol) – 81

LM: Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) – 82

CAM: Calvin Stengs (AZ) – 81

RW: Ayoze Perez (Leicester City) – 82

ST: Karl Toko-Ekambi (Villarreal) – 82

ST: Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) – 82

RESERVES

CAM: Zelimkhan Bakaev (Spartak Moscow) – 78

RM: Maicol Balanta (Independiente Santa Fe) – 75

LM: Amahl Pellegrino (Kristiansund) – 72

ST: Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba (Al Ain) – 79

ST: Eoin Doyle (Swindon Town) – 73

Raul Ruidiaz scored twice as Seattle Sounders shocked Los Angeles FC 3-1 to advance to the MLS Cup final.

Supporters' Shield champions LAFC had dominated throughout the season and broke records along the way, however, Bob Bradley's side came unstuck on Tuesday.

The visiting Sounders took control after Eduard Atuesta opened the scoring for LAFC in the 17th minute, with quick-fire goals from Ruidiaz and Nicolas Lodeiro putting Seattle ahead nine minutes later.

Seattle sealed their place in the November 10 final thanks to Ruidiaz's second goal of the match with 26 minutes remaining in Los Angeles – the Sounders to face either defending champions Atlanta United or Toronto in the decider.

Confidence was high at Banc of California Stadium after LAFC overcame city rivals LA Galaxy in an eight-goal thriller in the Western Conference semi-finals.

LAFC looked on track to reach their maiden final when Atuesta curled a stunning free-kick past Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei, however, that was as good as it got.

Ruidiaz scored a 22nd-minute equaliser following a brilliant moment of skill and Lodeiro's effort from outside the penalty area gave the Sounders the lead four minutes later.

Seattle's place in their third MLS Cup final, having won the title in 2016 and finished runners-up the following year, was secured when Ruidiaz completed his brace after the hour.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has announced he is "coming back" to Spain in what could be a hint over his next career move.

The 38-year-old's contract with LA Galaxy expires in December and he has previously talked up a possible return to Europe.

A move to Italy seemed most likely, with a host of Serie A clubs - including Napoli - believed to have showed an interest.

However, the former Barcelona striker posted a short clip on Instagram on Tuesday that may point to a future move to a LaLiga club.

"Hola Espana, guess what? I am coming back," he said.

Ibrahimovic, also touted as a target for South American teams Boca Juniors and Flamengo, spent one season in the Spanish top flight with Barcelona in 2009-2010.

The former Sweden international was on Monday named in the MLS Best XI for 2019 after scoring 30 goals and assisting seven more in 29 regular-season matches.

Despite his prolific form in front of goal, LA Galaxy were eliminated from the MLS play-offs by Los Angeles FC last week.

As well as Barcelona, Ibrahimovic's former clubs include Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter, AC Milan, Ajax and Juventus.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Carlos Vela have been named in the MLS Best XI for 2019.

LA Galaxy striker Ibrahimovic was named in the side for the second successive campaign after scoring 30 goals and assisting seven more in 29 regular-season matches.

Vela has enjoyed a stellar year with Los Angeles FC, meanwhile, having netted a single-season record 34 goals to win the Golden Boot and earn links with a move to LaLiga giants Barcelona.

LAFC won the Supporters' Shield and are well represented, with midfielder Eduard Atuesta and defender Walker Zimmerman also included.

There was also a place for Atlanta United's Josef Martinez, who broke his own MLS record by scoring a goal in 15 consecutive matches this year.

Vito Mannone got the nod in goal after making 129 saves in his debut campaign with Minnesota United, helping them qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time.

 

MLS Best XI: Vito Mannone (Minnesota); Ike Opara (Minnesota), Miles Robinson (Atlanta), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC); Alejandro Pozuelo (Toronto), Carles Gil (New England), Eduard Atuesta (LAFC), Maxi Moralez (NYCFC); Carlos Vela (LAFC), Josef Martinez (Atlanta), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy).

Carlos Vela would fit in perfectly at LaLiga champions Barcelona, according to his Mexico team-mate and Blaugrana youth product Jonathan dos Santos.

Barca reportedly considered a move for the former Arsenal and Real Sociedad forward in January as they sought cover for Luis Suarez.

The short-term switch failed to materialise, however, with the Spanish champions instead signing Kevin-Prince Boateng, who barely featured in his six months at the club.

Should Barca come calling again, though, Dos Santos – whose LA Galaxy side were beaten 5-3 by Vela's Los Angeles FC in the MLS Western Conference semi-final on Friday – believes Vela would have no problems slotting in alongside Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Suarez.

Dos Santos, who played for Barca between 2009 and 2014 after also representing their academy and B team, told reporters: "Vela could fit in at Barcelona. He is a great player with a lot of quality; he has shown it in every team that has been.

"I hope a team like Barcelona is interested in Vela. He would do well surrounded by such excellent players."

Speaking after Friday's game, Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic made headlines by suggesting MLS would be forgotten quickly if he were no longer playing in the league.

Amid rumours the former Sweden international could return to Europe when his contract expires in December, Dos Santos said: "Zlatan is very mysterious. He has not said anything else after the game and if he stays he will help us a lot in the campaign. He is a player of excellent quality."

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