Toronto FC couldn’t make another sensation to win the MLS Cup, Gregg Vanney ‘s boys lost against Seattle Sounders in the finals, 3-1. All four goals had been seen in the second 45 minutes. The scorers were Kelvin Leerdam, Victor Rodriguez, and Raul Ruidiaz.
Even though the Canadians were a better team throughout the entire first half, the trophy went to Seattle. Toronto set the place of the game, dominated, had more goal-attempts, but they just couldn’t beat Sounders’ captain and goalie, Stefan Frei. The constant attacking didn’t bring anything to the guests; furthermore, it opened a possibility for one counter-attack in the final moments of the first half, which was almost lethal for Quentin Westberg. Ruidiaz found himself in front of Toronto’s goalie, but couldn’t score.
The punishment arrived in the 58th minute when Leerdam’s shot deflected off Justin Morrow and hit the back of Westberg’s net. It was a shocker for Toronto, whose players were furious because of an obvious foul on Jonathan Osorio that the referee didn’t award.
“It’s one play of the game, but everybody knows what should have been called on that play. And it changed the course of the game unfortunately. I’m not going to sit here and say that’s the reason why we lost. But it changed the game. It’s a crucial, crucial play,” said Osorio, following the game.
In the 76th minute, Victor Rodriguez doubled the lead with a beautiful strike from the edge of the box. That goal earned Rodriguez the MLS Cup finals MVP Award.
“That feeling is amazing, I will always remember this moment,” he said.
Ruidiaz, the guy whose impact on Seattle’s performances in this postseason is priceless, got a reward in the final minute of the regulations, scoring the goal for his team, and sealing this match in the best possible way.
Jozy Altidore managed to decrease the deficit in the third minute of the stoppage time, but that surely didn’t cheer his teammates that much.
“Too many touches by individual players trying to make something out of nothing instead of letting the ball do the work. It got bogged down,” Vanney explained why his team deflated in the second half.
His guys lost for the first time since early August, and 13 games in a row. During that span, they had 7 wins and 6 draws, making one hell of a run despite all the problems they had to encounter. Injuries, playing on the road, having a tough schedule and opponents, all that stood in Toronto’s way. Unfortunately, they were one step from completing it with the trophy.
This was the third meeting between these two sides in the MLS Cup finals over the recent four years. Both of them had one win. Seattle won in 2016, Toronto, one year later. CenturyLink field saw more than 69,000 spectators, which is the second-highest crowd at one MLS Cup finals, right behind the one in Atlanta last year. The tickets for this match were sold in less than 20 minutes after they became available.