The Seattle Sounders have been in the playoffs every year since joining MLS in 2009. They are one of the league’s most successful expansion teams, but had never before made it to an MLS Cup. Toronto FC had a magical season, and were looking to finish it off on a high note. After missing out on the postseason for so long, Toronto FC went from getting their first postseason win to winning their first Eastern Conference title in a matter of weeks.
But only one team could lift the trophy.
The two teams went scoreless in the first 90 minutes, with shots few and far between. Most of the action took place in the midfield, with stellar performances being given by defensive players such as Michael Bradley and Roman Torres. Toronto FC took better advantage of their offensive opportunities, tallying more shots and corner kicks than their Seattle counterparts. But still, they weren’t able to break through.
At the end of regular time, the two teams went into extra time, battling deep into the cold Canadian night.
In the first fifteen minutes, Toronto FC star Sebastian Giovinco was substituted off. At the end of the first half of extra time, still scoreless, the Seattle Sounders took off rookie superstar Jordan Morris. The second half of extra time remained scoreless, making this the first MLS Cup to end both regular and extra time scoreless.
For the fourth time in MLS Cup history, the championship match was heading to penalty shootouts.
Jozy Altidore made the first goal for Toronto FC, followed by a nice kick from the Seattle Sounders’ veteran Brad Evans to keep things even. Bradley missed his kick, and Seattle scored, taking the lead. Toronto FC evened things out in their next kick, with a goal by Benoît Cheyrou and a save by Clint Irwin. The teams entered into sudden death.
The two teams would continue on until someone missed.
It was only fitting that Roman Torres, who had one of the best nights of his career, put it away for the Seattle Sounders.
After 4 U.S Open titles and a Supporters’ Shield in 2014, the Seattle Sounders finally found their first MLS Cup title. It was a season of ups and downs for the Sounders, who departed with their long-time head coach Sigi Schmid at the end of July, who lost Clint Dempsey shortly their after due to a heart irregularity, and who then brought in long-time assistant head coach Brian Schmetzer and international superstar Nicolas Lodeiro. Their season didn’t start how they wanted. But it’s not about how you start.
It’s about how you finish.