Toronto FC vs. Seattle Sounders | 2016 MLS Cup Preview
TORONTO FC vs. SEATTLE SOUNDERS
2016 MLS Cup
BMO Field | Toronto, Ontario
Saturday, Dec. 10
8 pm ET (FOX and UniMas in the US | TSN1/3/4 and RDS in Canada)
More than nine months after the 2016 season began, we’re finally ready to crown a champion. Two of the biggest clubs in the league will square off for a shot at their first MLS Cup on Saturday, Dec. 10, when Toronto FC will host the Seattle Sounders at BMO Field.
Both sides feature huge payrolls, big stars, rabid support and, most notably, no MLS Cup trophies. One will win the league championship for the first time in their history on the shores of Lake Ontario. Regardless of who lifts the trophy, we know one thing for certain: It’ll be one serious spectacle.
- Five keys for 2016 MLS Cup
- MLS Cup 101: Everything you need for #TORvSEA
- TOR vs. SEA: How they match up
- Drafts to DPs: How Toronto and Seattle built their rosters
- Will #TORvSEA be the coldest MLS Cup on record?
- How Jordan Morris overcame early troubles to star in Seattle's Cup run
- Analyst: TFC buck the trend as MLS gets less domestic
- ET Radio: How Luis Suarez helped Seattle land Lodeiro
- Toronto have a plan for Seattle's weapons in MLS Cup
- Home field advantage: All its cracked up to be?
- #TORvSEA: Who holds the edge in pro sports titles?
- Dax McCarty's MLS Cup Prediction
- Leslie Jones reps the Sounders on 'SNL'
- Seattle's GK comes full circle in MLS Cup vs. TFC
- TFC stars gush about Morris: "Big fan of Jordan's"
- Seattle praise Dempsey's role as Cup run "spark"
- Will Altidore & Giovinco be ready for MLS Cup?
- Frei: Sounders fine with underdog role in MLS Cup
- TFC: One more game still to win before celebrating
- At long last, original Sounders land in MLS Cup
- With TFC in MLS Cup, who now has longest drought?
- Snow games in MLS - a look back
- Timbers fans pulling for TFC to raise Cup over SEA
- WATCH: Schmetzer on the similarities between Lodeiro and Giovinco
Toronto FC Snapshot:
- 2016 Regular Season Finish: East No. 3 seed (14-9-11 record, 53 pts / 8-3-6 home record)
- Current Form: W-L-W-W-W
- Strengths: Toronto’s strengths start with their star Designated Players. Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley are probably the best DP trio in MLS and are just about impossible to stop when firing on all cylinders. TFC are more than a collection of three stars, however. Toronto are talented and deep at just about every position, and have used their mix of savvy MLS veterans (Drew Moor, Will Johnson, Steven Beitashour, Justin Morrow), experienced internationals (Armando Cooper, Benoit Cheyrou) and promising youngsters (Jonathan Osorio, Nick Hagglund) to great effect all season.
- Weaknesses: It got a little bit lost in all the drama of their insane Eastern Conference Semifinal win against the Montreal Impact, but Toronto looked a bit shaky at the back against their Quebec rivals. The Impact were particularly effective on the counterattack, picking TFC apart with three first half goals on the break in Leg 1 of the series and another in Leg 2. They’ll need to tread carefully against Seattle, who have plenty of speed and skill up top in in-form striker Jordan Morris.
- Injuries/Suspensions: None reported.
- Player to Watch: Jozy Altidore: Giovinco may be Toronto’s biggest star, but Altidore is the one in the midst of an historic playoff run. The US international became the first player in league history to score in five straight playoff games when he tallied in Leg 2 against Montreal. He’s recorded an astounding five goals and four assists in five playoff matches and has been generally fantastic since returning from the hamstring injury in July that kept him out of the Copa America Centenario, notching 15 goals and seven assists in his last 19 matches between the regular season and playoffs.
- Probable Starting XI: Clint Irwin; Nick Hagglund, Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta; Justin Morrow, Will Johnson, Michael Bradley, Armando Cooper, Steven Beitashour; Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore
Seattle Sounders Snapshot:
- 2016 Regular Season Finish: West No. 4 seed (14-14-6 record, 48 pts / 4-9-4 away record)
- Current Form: W-W-L-W-W
- Strengths: Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris draw the headlines, but it’s been Seattle’s defense that have carried them through the playoffs. Boosted by the late summer return of center back Roman Torres, the Sounders have been incredibly stingy in the back, with Stefan Frei, Chad Marshall, Ozzie Alonso and Co. allowing just three goals and recording three shutouts in five playoff matches. In fact, since Torres made his first start of the year on Sept. 10, the Sounders have allowed just 10 goals in 13 games across all competitions. They’ll look to keep things on lock at BMO Field.
- Weaknesses: Lodeiro is an absolute star, but if he has an off night, his Sounders teammates could have a hard time picking up the slack. Seattle don’t have many potential candidates to carry the playmaking load if Lodeiro struggles in Toronto, and their chances of lifting the first MLS Cup in club history would lessen significantly if TFC put the clamps on the Uruguayan international.
- Injuries/Suspensions: Clint Dempsey (irregular heartbeat) -- out; Oalex Anderson (right hamstring strain) -- questionable
- Player to Watch: Nelson Valdez: Choosing Lodeiro or Morris seemed a bit on the nose, so why not go with the Sounders’ wild card? After a rough regular season, Valdez has been huge in the playoffs, scoring two goals – including the winner in the Knockout Round against SKC – and adding the icing assist in Seattle’s West Championship Leg 2 win at Colorado. If he can contribute again in Toronto, the Sounders should have a solid shot.
- Probable Starting XI: Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Roman Torres, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan; Nicolas Lodeiro, Andreas Ivanschitz, Jordan Morris; Nelson Haedo Valdez
Referee: Alan Kelly
Assistant Referees: Frank Anderson, Joe Fletcher
4th Official: Allen Chapman
Toronto vs. Seattle Head-to-Head
All-Time (11 meetings)
Toronto 2 wins, 10 goals • Seattle 7 wins, 18 goals • 2 draws
All-Time Playoff (0 meetings)
All-Time in Toronto (5 meetings)
Toronto 1 win, 4 goals • Seattle 3 wins, 6 goals • 1 draw
2016 Meetings (1 meeting)
TOR 1, SEA 1 (July 2)