A fitting end to the trilogy of MLS Cup Finals. One team controlled the game from the start until the other took advantage and then took the trophy. While the game might have been closer than the 3-1 scoreline would suggest, the crowd of over 70 000 people at CenturyLink Field went home happy as Sounders FC captured their second MLS Cup title in a four-year span.
Toronto FC entered the day on a thirteen match unbeaten streak and seemed poised to stretch it to fourteen early. The Reds controlled possession from the very early going and came out firing after halftime. But their inability to finish even one of those chances off led to the shift. Seattle took advantage and grabbed the lead in the 57th minute and never looked back. That goal completely changed the complexion of the match. Sounders FC would add two more goals to pull ahead 3-0 before Jozy Altidore got one back. Altidore came off the bench with his team already down a goal in his first action since suffering an injury in TFC’s final regular-season match.
But it is how the game played out that makes the game so interesting. One team controlled possession, that team also completed almost three hundred more passes, and that same team was more accurate in both the attacking half and final third. Yet it was the other side that came out as MLS Cup Champions. That itself is the craziness of soccer. In a whole sport based on the idea of bend but not break, Seattle embodied that perfectly on a day where it looked like they were outplayed by the visitors for the first fifty-six minutes of the match.
But all it took was a timely takeaway and a little bit of luck for Sounders FC to make most people forget over half of the game. Even Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney remarked post-game that, “the physical game suits the team that sits back. And full credit to Sounders; they took advantage.” From that moment on, it became Seattle’s game to lose and TFC just could not take it from them. The result is a season that Vanney also said felt like two or three all wrapped into one finishes without the desired fairy tale ending for Toronto supporters. Meanwhile, the celebration is only just beginning in the Emerald City where Seattle Sounders FC are once again MLS Cup Champions.