Rematch!!! MLS title pits the Reds vs the Rave Green for MLS Cup
The 2017 MLS season comes down to this, a replay of last year’s season where the Supporter Shield winning Toronto FC host the surging Seattle Sounders in the MLS Cup (or as new Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan refers to it the Soccer Cup). For a second year in a row, the Reds devastated opponents all season long to earn the #1 seed and home field advantage in the playoffs. It was a Seattle squad who last year won the Championship off the spectacular other-worldly defense of goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Toronto has an even better squad this year, but so do the Sounders.
The Sounders won in extra time last year on penalty kicks when the Sounders’ Roman Torres kicked in the winning goal. The memory of Sounders players celebrating on his home field remains painful for Toronto striker Jozy Altidore.
”It was not great, so it’s good that we have a chance to hopefully reverse that feeling,” Altidore said.
Many are calling the 2017 Toronto FC the greatest MLS team assembled. With exceptionally deep pockets, the ownership has found 3 players to put on this team that have been included on the MLS Best 11. Sebastian Giovinco was the 2015 MLS MVP and this year had 16 goals and 6 assists to power his team to greatness. Defender Justin Morrow and midfielder Víctor Vázquez joined him on the best 11. Justin led all defenders with 8 goals and Victor led the league with six game-winning assists. Vázquez was named MLS Player of the Week four times.
It would be their coach Greg Vanney who would be named Coach of the Year in the MLS. Vanney guided Toronto to a 20-5-9 finish with a league-record 69 points. The team won the Voyageurs Cup as Canadian champion and Supporters’ Shield, and if they can win the MLS Cup, Toronto will be the 1st “treble” winner in the MLS.
Injuries will play a part as the superstar Altidore has a tender ankle that limited him in the Eastern Conference win over Columbus. The Sounders have their own concerns as midfielder Osvaldo Alonso most likely is out due to a quad strain. Luckily a problematic hamstring injury to Jordan Morris seems to have healed as we got to see the reigning rookie of the year enter a game as a sub versus Houston.
It is odd though that a Sounder team that has zero accolades this year has yet again beat the odds and become the last man standing. There is something magical about this team. The have famous fans and players, but do not get the credit they are due. The Sounder defense will be the key to this game. The Rave Green have not allowed a goal in 6 straight playoff games dating back to last year and they have not allowed a goal since Oct 1st in a 2-0 loss. If they can continue the solid defense behind Frei, Torres, and Chad Marshall they will win, even against the “Greatest team in MLS history.”