Seattle/TFC Part 3
On Tuesday night, the Seattle Sounders upset the “Greatest Team in MLS history” LAFC at the Banc 3-1. The Sounders were lead by strong performances from Raul Ruidiaz, Nicolas Lodiero, Gustav Svensson, and Xavier Arreaga. Ruidiaz and Lodiero offensively were strong as Ruidiaz bagged two goals and Lodiero assisting on both of them. Svensson controlled the midfield with some physical plays as well as Arreaga not letting anything going in the box. Seattle completely nullified the attack of Vela and Rossi. Even when Diomande and Mark Anthony Kaye subbed on, the Sounders played a strong game for the win. A statement win sends Seattle to their third ever MLS Cup and their third in four seasons.
The next night we saw the Cinderella team this post-season, TFC, go up against the giants of the East, Atlanta United. Toronto had already knocked down D.C., NYCFC, and last night, they knocked out another. Greg Vanney had his boys ready and even without Jozy Altidore and Omar Gonzalez, this team fought. An early goal scored by Julian Gressel seemed like the only glaring mistake on the night for the Reds. Even after a quick foul in the box turned into a Josef Martinez PK, TFC continued to fight. Westburg saved the Martinez PK and a quick turn around allowed TFC to counter and score from a beautiful Nicolas Benezet goal. Going into the second half it still felt like anyone’s game. But the game was signed, sealed, and dusted when in the 78th minute Nick DeLeon (with two defenders on him) some how turned and hit a GOL-A-ZO into the top hand corner over a diving Brad Guzan. TFC held onto that lead and now will be heading to their third MLS Cup and their third in four seasons.
Here we have it. In 2016 we had Toronto FC host Seattle in a game in which Seattle won in PKs on the road. It was the year that Seattle brought in Nico Lodiero for a late season run, Jordan Morris was an exciting new prospect, and the Marshall/Torres combination couldn’t be stopped. In 2017 we saw it again. Seattle traveling up to BMO to take on Toronto for MLS Cup. Toronto FC got their revenge winning at home. Giovinco, Jozy, Vazquez, and Bradley got to raise the cup! Osorio and Delgado staked their claims as quality MLS starters, and the fullbacks of Morrow and Beitashour tore up the wings.
But here we are in 2019. Two seasons since the last time these two met for the cup. First off… how frickin cool is that?! With all this talk about MLS teams having to structure and organize like LAFC, Atlanta United, even some people saying NYCFC or Portland… these two are setting the tone for what an MLS side should look like. You can’t deny it! These teams are consistently in contention, playing well in domestic and international competitions, and now will making a trip to MLS Cup for what will be a 2nd MLS Cup in 4 seasons.
I have not made my pick yet for this game, and I will announce my pick on the MLS Aces Podcast NEXT EPISODE! But, maybe I can set the landscape a little here. Seattle have 11 players on their roster who played in either the 2016 or 2017 MLS Cup games. 8 of those 11 will most likely be starters and 9 of the 11 will most likely make the eighteen. Toronto have 9 players on their roster who played in the 2016 and/or 2017 MLS Cup games. 6 of those 9 are most likely starters for the team and 8 of the 9 are most likely going to make the eighteen. These teams know each other, these teams have a history, these teams have a rivalry.
My biggest question for Seattle have to be the health of Roman Torres and the center-back situation. Will Torres be healthy enough to go in this Cup? If he is healthy is he going to start? Are you going to sit Arreaga who had a great last game vs LAFC? Besides that I will be interested to see if Seattle can stay dominant and beat up on their opponents. I think Seattle is going to have to stay physical with Roldan, Svensson, and the center-backs to slow the magic that TFC has right now.
For Toronto, what is Jozy’s health looking like? If Jozy is now rested and can start in the final… Seattle has a big problem to deal with. Jozy plays in big games and especially in MLS Cup. Will Omar start? Laurent Ciman has some issues vs Atlanta. If Omar can go, you have to think he gets that nod. And finally, can TFC keep the magic alive! Can Laryea be a super sub off the bench? Can Nick DeLeon be another spark plug off the bench? Can Pozuelo keep control of games like he has!
I am excited for this year’s MLS Cup and I honestly love that once again it is Seatte/TFC. Let’s see a MLS Cup at Century Link Field! LET’S GO!