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Lionel Messi makes a splash, Lorenzo Insigne flops big time & the winners & losers of the 2023 MLS season

We've finally reached the final match of the MLS season: LAFC at the Columbus Crew in a huge MLS Cup battle to determine a league champion. The winner will reign supreme after perhaps the most important year in league history, one in which all of U.S. soccer was turned on its head by one big signing.

Yes, this has to start with Lionel Messi, the player who singlehandedly changed the trajectory of the league. By the time the MLS Cup kicks off, it'll have been over a month since we've seen him in Inter Miami pink but, even so, he looms over everything that goes on in the league these days.

Both the Crew and LAFC can count themselves among the big winners this season, having battled their way all the way to the final. For LAFC, Saturday is a chance to go back-to-back. For the Crew, it's an opportunity to claim another title under a different coach, showing that the brand in Ohio is as strong as ever just a few short years after the club was so close to being taken away.

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Aside from those two, though, who are the league's biggest winners and losers? GOAL looks back at the season that was in MLS ahead of this weekend's big game...