The Seattle Sounders have only claimed the MLS Cup once in their history, but this has perennially been one of the best teams in the league. Seattle has qualified for the postseason in each of its 11 seasons in the MLS, and the Sounders have never finished worse than fourth in the Western Conference. They have shed the moniker of postseason choke artists with their recent performance in the postseason, and they are now looking for their second title against Toronto FC.
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This will be the third time that Toronto and Seattle have faced each other in the MLS Cup Final in the last four seasons. The Sounders won the first meeting between these two clubs, besting the Reds in penalties after 120 scoreless minutes in the 2016 MLS Cup. Toronto didn’t have to wait long for revenge though, beating Seattle 2-0 in the 2017 MLS Cup to win its first MLS title. Both of the previous meetings between these two clubs were in Canada, and this will be the first title contested in the Emerald City.
- Seattle Sounders vs. Toronto FC
- Date and Time: November 10, 2019, 3 p.m. ET
- Location: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington
- US Television Coverage: ABC
- Betting Line: Seattle Sounders -0.5, O/U 2.5 and 3
How They Got Here
Seattle was one of the top teams out west for most of the regular season, and the Sounders finished second to Supporters’ Shield winners Los Angeles FC. That gave Seattle home field advantage in their first two matches of the postseason, boosting the Sounders’ chances of a return trip to the MLS Cup. They needed 120 minutes to beat FC Dallas in the first round, surrendering a 2-0 lead in the process, but Jordan Morris scored late in extra time to push Seattle through 4-3. The Sounders had an easier time in their next match, besting Real Salt Lake 2-0 to set up a clash with LAFC in the Western Conference Finals.
They had been unable to beat LAFC in each of their two previous regular season meetings, but the third time proved to be the charm. Seattle surrendered the first goal, yet the Sounders responded quickly with goals from Raul Ruidiaz and Nicolas Lodeiro. Ruidiaz ended up sealing the deal with a brace in the 64th minute to stun the best team in the history of the MLS.
Toronto FC had an even more improbable run to this point. The Reds only secured a home field match in the first round on Decision Day, and they were taken to extra time by D.C. United. That led to a trip to the Big Apple to take on the Eastern Conference’s top team in New York City FC, and Toronto showed its better to be lucky than good.
Alejandro Pozuelo received two gifts from gasp-inducing play out of NYCFC’s back line, and he cashed in on both to send Toronto to the Eastern Conference Finals. There, it appeared they would be run out of the building by defending champions Atlanta United FC, but Josef Martinez improbably missed a penalty to spark the visitors and they rallied to win 2-1.
Seattle has not had Will Bruin since mid-June because of a torn ACL, and defender Roman Torres is questionable because of a strained hamstring.
Jozy Altidore is very doubtful to play for the visitors, and he has yet to suit up for Toronto FC this postseason due to a quad injury.
Seattle Sounders Player to Watch
Nicolas Lodeiro has been superb for the Sounders once more, and he is the key to everything for Seattle. Lodeiro is this club’s dynamo in the midfield, scoring and setting up talented forwards like Morris and Ruidiaz with crisp balls. His acquisition helped lead the club to its first MLS Cup appearance in 2016, and Lodeiro has tallied 26 goals and 48 assists in 101 matches since that point.
Toronto FC Player to Watch
Altidore has said it would take a lot for him to play on Sunday, so that puts the pressure on Pozuelo. Altidore had been something of a Seattle killer, netting the opening goal in the 2017 MLS Cup and scoring both of Toronto’s goals when these teams met earlier in the season, but Pozuelo must fill that role now. He led Toronto in scoring this season, so he can rise to the occasion.
The Sounders are far more talented than their opponents, and they are the play here. Morris, Lodeiro, and Ruidiaz will be too much, giving the hosts at least two goals on their way to another MLS Cup victory.
MLS Eastern Conference Finals Prediction: Seattle Sounders 2, Toronto FC 1
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