Seattle Sounders FC secured their 2nd league title in 4 years, when they took down Toronto FC 3-1 Sunday. The win gives Seattle the 2-1 advantage in head-to-head MLS Cup matchups with Toronto.
The match wasn’t pretty and at times in the first half, it appeared that Toronto was the much better team today. They controlled the possession at 65.1% in the first half and had a passing accuracy ten percent better than Seattle. They, just like the Sounders, couldn’t find the back of the net during the opening half however. Halftime saw us deadlocked at zero.
With thoughts of 2016 swirling around in the crowds minds and penalty kicks being discussed in the press box, the idea of extra time and a shootout was in the air. The second half would assure those thoughts could stay as that, just thoughts.
Brian Schmetzer had been excellent when it comes to halftime adjustments. In just the playoffs, his squad had scored five goals while only allowing two against in that same frame. Once again, halftime adjustments lead to a victory.
“The halftime speech wasn’t ranting and raving or anything like that,” said Coach Schmetzer. “…it was more firm, look this is what we are going to do and what we are going to try and change”
In the 57th minute, Kelvin Leerdam opened up the scoring column. He received a crossed ball, quickly cut the ball back to his left and fired a shot across goal. With the help of Toronto’s Justin Morrow, the ball was deflected in goal. Seattle led 1-0 as 69,000 fans erupted.
With the momentum on their side and a packed stadium on their feet, Seattle started to lay it on.
In what was the most beautiful play of the match, the Sounders got their second goal. Svensson battled to regain possession of the ball, then after a pass back to him, he flicked the ball to Lodeiro. With just a perfectly placed touch pass, the ball was at the feet of Victor Rodriguez. He took his shot, and the ball went screaming by Toronto keeper Quentin Westberg.
Raúl Ruidíaz finished them off with a break away goal in the 90th. Jozy Altidore, who was questionable to play, did have a goal coming off the bench in the 93rd. But, the entire city knew this one was over and just a few moments later, the whistle blew and Seattle were on top once again.
With all of the confetti falling on the field and players embracing each other, the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy was delivered to captain Lodeiro. He took the trophy up on stage with the rest of his team and the fireworks began.
Victor Rodriguez was named the MLS Cup MVP after his game winning goal. A moment that meant a lot to the Sounder.
“I think I deserve that because I work a lot for every single day. Now I am going to enjoy this moment because I know I deserve that.”
He continued to speak about how this was a difficult season, as he battled with injuries all year long. He was happy that he got to celebrate this moment with his family and teammates.
Seattle still lost time of possession in the match, but won most other statistical categories. Duels won, shots on target, and, of course, goals.
With the win, the Sounders become, along with the Seawolves rugby team, the second winningest Seattle team based off of league titles won. They only trail the Seattle Storm who currently have 3 WNBA Championships.