Seattle Sounders finally made their long awaited MLS Cup breakthrough on Saturday as they beat Toronto FC 4-5 on penalties, in a final that left many Toronto FC players and fans in disbelief.
The hosts were by far the better team on the night, dominating almost throughout the match. With the likes of Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley, Benoit Cheyrou and Jozy Altidore present in the ranks of the club, Toronto looked to become the first Canadian team to win the MLS Cup when they played Major League Soccer’s Western Conference winners, Seattle Sounders.
Toronto dominated the match with 19 shots overall, 7 of them being on target. On the other hand Seattle became the first team in MLS Cup history not to register a single shot on target in a MLS Cup finale. Yet when the finale whistle was blown it was The Rave Green who were celebrating after a dramatic penalty shootout, that left Toronto players and fans in shock, disbelief and tears.
Sounders keeper Stefan Frei and Panama international, Roman Torres were the unlikely heroes for the team. Frei managed to keep out Toronto FC skipper, Michael Bradley’s shot. As the shootout went to the sixth round, Toronto FC full back Justin Morrow’s shot hit the crossbar, while Torres converted his penalty kick beating Toronto keeper Clint Irwin and sending the Seattle fans to ecstasy as they realized that their team has won their first ever MLS Cup in some spectacular manner.
The home side kept threatening Seattle’s defense right from the kick off, as Jozy Altidore almost gave the home side the lead in the second minute of the match, only for his shot to get deflected wide. Toronto kept on attacking throughout the match, and anytime Sebastian Giovinco got the ball Seattle’s defence started to look shaky and was under a lot of pressure keeping up with the former Juventus midfielder.
Toronto skipper Michael Bradley also looked solid throughout the game as he did a lot setting up attacks up front as well as do his defensive duties. Altidore got the best chance to put the hosts ahead when his header was saved by former Toronto keeper Frei, in the 108th minute. Despite having 19 attempts, Toronto couldn’t break the Seattle defence and gave away the match in a very dramatic penalty shootout.
Toronto skipper Michael Bradley said: “It can be a cruel game sometimes.”
Seattle manager, Brian Schmetzer also stated after the match: “It looked like it was going to go in and then all of a sudden here comes this paw, It was a tremendous save but there were a couple of other times I thought the ball might have gone in.”
MLS Cup final highlights:
Photo by SounderBruce