Seattle Sounders 3, Toronto FC 1: Takeaways from MLS Cup

11 Novembre, 2019, 01:44 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Seattle Sounders midfielder Kim Kee-Hee left stands next to a translator as he talks to reporters during a training session Friday Nov. 8 2019 in Tukwila Wash. The Sounders will face Toronto FC on Sunday in the MLS Cup soccer match at Century Link Fi

The hometown Seattle Sounders sent nearly 70,000 of their closest friends home in ecstasy in Sunday's MLS Cup final against Toronto FC, beating the Reds 3-1 in the domestic league's championship match for the second time in four years to hoist the hardware despite being thoroughly outplayed by the visitors for most of the match.

Jordan Morris, a Mercer Island native, ignited the crowd early on a breakaway, and once again in the second half, but both runs came up empty.

Kelvin Leerdam scored goal in an MLS Cup match for the Sounders. Seattle were the clear favorites heading in, if only by a hair.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 10: Tsubasa Endoh #31 of Toronto FC reacts in the first half against the Seattle Sounders during the 2019 MLS Cup at CenturyLink Field on November 10, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. The teams were competing for the MLS Cup for the third time in four seasons. But how did the Seattle Sounders secure the 3-0 victory?

Seattle were second in the West, a hefty 16 points adrift of Los Angeles FC, perhaps the best MLS team in history (when the ball is in the opposition half, anyway). Yet the Sounders knocked them out, 3-1, at Banc of California Stadium with the help of two goals from Raul Ruidiaz.

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The latter quality has always been a hallmark of Michael Bradley's play. When the ball turned over, Toronto sprang forward with goal, even if the final ball was mostly missing.

Still, it has to hurt badly for the architects of this team over the last five years: Vanney, Altidore and especially Bradley, who may have played his last game for the club.

Pre-game expectations were that the Sounders would be impelled by their massive, stadium-record home advantage to adopt a more adventurous style than usual, but for most of the first 45 minutes they appeared to be counter-attacking without the attacking, while their opponents camped out in the final third. The Sounders started coming on around the 18-minute mark. Leerdam escaped a toe-poke challenge from Toronto's Nicolas Benezet before he put a ball across the box, which deflected off Reds defender Justin Morrow and past goalkeeper Quentin Westberg to break the deadlock.

But Seattle made two in the 76th minute when substitute Victor Rodriguez - named the final's most valuable player - put a shot from the top of the box low and hard into the far corner of Toronto's net. Stricken with a quad injury, the striker had not played since 6 October, the last day of the regular season. That time, an astonishing fingertip save by Stefan Frei on Jozy Altidore set up the spot-kick tiebreaker on which Brian Schmetzer's side prevailed.

It was three in stoppage time when Ruidiaz chased a long ball and steered his effort beyond Westberg. Toronto was the East's No. 4 seed after spending much of the season on the playoff bubble.

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