Toronto FC vs. Seattle Sounders | 2017 MLS Cup Preview
Toronto FC vs. Seattle Sounders
Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs – MLS Cup
BMO Field – Toronto, Ontario
4 pm ET – Dec. 9, 2017
WATCH: ESPN, UniMás (US) | TSN, TVAS (Canada)
Seattle got the better of Toronto in last year’s final. The Sounders completed their incredible run to the 2016 playoffs with a memorable win at BMO, outlasting TFC in a penalty kick shootout despite failing to register a single shot on goal in regulation or extra time to lift their first MLS Cup.
This year, Toronto are out for revenge. If they get it, they’ll make MLS history. With a win, TFC would become the first MLS team to ever win the domestic treble of the Supporters’ Shield, Canadian Championship/US Open Cup and MLS Cup. Toronto already set several records in the regular season, breaking the single-season points record with 69, tying the mark for most single-season wins with 20 and finishing in the top-three all-time in points per game, goals scored and goal differential.
While they had an incredible regular season, Toronto’s road through the playoffs has been a bit bumpy. TFC tied the New York Red Bulls 2-2 on aggregate in the Eastern Conference Semifinals but advanced thanks to the away goals tiebreaker, then snuck past Columbus Crew SC by a 1-0 margin in the Eastern Conference Championship. They’ve dealt with a fair deal of controversy along the way, with star attackers Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco both missing Leg 1 against Crew SC due to suspension following a very contentious second leg against the Red Bulls.
Giovinco will be back for Cup, and he’ll be highly motivated after being subbed off late and missing the shootout in last year’s contest. Altidore will no doubt factor in, as well, though his role could be limited due to an ankle injury that forced him off in the second half of Leg 2 against Columbus.
He’s not the only key player dealing with an injury. Sounders captain Ozzie Alonso didn’t even dress for the second leg of Seattle’s Western Conference Championship against Houston due to a quad strain, and Brad Evans missed the match with a longstanding back injury. Forward Jordan Morris returned from his hamstring injury in Leg 2 against the Dynamo, but will likely be limited to a substitute role in Cup after missing over two months with the ailment.
The Sounders have more injury issues than Toronto, but they did have a less taxing road to MLS Cup. Seattle advanced past Vancouver relatively comfortably in the Western Conference Semifinals, then blitzed the Dynamo in the Conference Championship, winning Leg 1 2-0 in Houston before throttling the Orange 3-0 at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle are significantly improved from last year, with new acquisitions Will Bruin, Victor Rodriguez, Gustav Svensson, Kelvin Leerdam, Nouhou and Harry Shipp all playing a huge role for the club and adding greatly to Seattle's overall depth and talent. Oh, Clint Dempsey’s back, too. The US legend has three goals in three games this postseason after he missed the 2016 playoffs due to an irregular heartbeat.
They’ll need all of them at their best if they want to upset Toronto for the second straight year. Led by Giovinco, Altidore and captain Michael Bradley, the Reds have a better roster than they did last year, too, with excellent attacking midfielder Victor Vazquez and first-year starting goalkeeper Alex Bono now in the mix.
With the sheer amount of talent on the field, the passion in the stands at a packed BMO and huge stakes at play, the Toronto-Seattle rematch promises to be at least as compelling as last year’s memorable MLS Cup.
- Armchair Analyst's tactical preview of MLS Cup
- Sounders pumped for traveling support at BMO Field
- Frei pushes fond memories of Toronto aside for MLS Cup quest
- Quiet counterparts Cristian Roldan, Marky Delgado square off at MLS Cup
- Nouhou making waves in Seattle after grabbing starter's role
- Stejskal: MLS Cup could be the dawn of a new era in the league
- Sounders' Schmetzer on the verge of rare company, despite short tenure
- Lodeiro feels no pressure on the cusp of an MLS Cup repeat
- Dempsey, Moor savoring MLS Cup after respective heart scares
- WATCH: 2017 MLS MVP Diego Valeri makes MLS Cup prediction
- Just how did TFC and Sounders come to dominate MLS?
- Which MLS Cup finalist is the bigger club?
- MLS Cup injury updates and lineup information
- Stejskal: 3 battles that will determine MLS Cup
- Discuss: Who ya got for the big game?
- Sounders' Ozzie Alonso ruled out of MLS Cup
- A tale of two Victors: Vazquez, Rodriguez - from Spain to MLS
- How Kelvin Leerdam solved Sounders' right back troubles
- Bruin riding high on confidence ahead of third career MLS Cup final
- MLS Cup finalists embrace analytics
- Globetrotting Svensson finds home in Seattle
- Sounders not bothered by prospect of snow at BMO Field
- WATCH: MLS Cup preview press conferences
- After sitting out last year, Dempsey hungry for this MLS Cup
- A visual history of MLS Cup match balls
- Frei driven by MLS Cup repeat with Sounders
- Altidore: We need to take the Cup from Sounders
- Will Justin Morrow find redemption after 2016 PK miss?
- TFC manager clarifies "intensity" comments
- TFC's Zavaleta ready to get one over on old team
- Sounders' Morris tames diabetes, inspires future generations
- Frei: Sounders don't want an open game
- Take a look at MLS Cup jerseys from the past
- Treble FC? Toronto taking title game on its own merit
- Position by position, which team has the edge in MLS Cup?
- Frei doesn't mind a quieter MLS Cup this time around
- ExtraTime Radio: What's at stake in MLS Cup? Legacies abound
- Boehm: What if the Sounders are actually the best ever?
- Which Sounders attacker is most fearsome for Toronto?
- Morris gearing up for Sounders supersub role in MLS Cup
- The MLS Cup weather forecast
- Vanney thinks Altidore will be ready to go for MLS Cup
- Schmetzer shrugs off Vanney's comments ahead of big game
- TFC on rematch: This is exactly what we wanted
- Vanney: Sounders haven't experienced same intensity as us
- Title game rematches in other sports
- How Toronto, Seattle built their MLS Cup rosters
- Boehm: Sounders, TFC face off for mastery of this era of MLS
- ExtraTime Radio: Should TFC be considered MLS Cup favorite?
- Suspended: None
- International Duty: None
- Injury report: QUESTIONABLE: F Jozy Altidore (ankle)
Projected Starting Lineup
(3-5-2, left to right)
GK: Alex Bono – Chris Mavinga, Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta – Justin Morrow, Marky Delgado, Michael Bradley, Victor Vazquez, Steven Beitashour – Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore
- Suspended: None
- International Duty: None
- Injury report: OUT: D Brad Evans (back), M Ozzie Alonso (quad strain)
Projected Starting Lineup
(4-2-3-1, left to right)
GK: Stefan Frei – Nouhou, Chad Marshall, Roman Torres, Kelvin Leerdam – Gustav Svensson, Cristian Roldan – Joevin Jones, Clint Dempsey, Nicolas Lodeiro – Will Bruin
We all remember the lone playoff meeting between TFC and the Sounders. Seattle rolled into BMO Field last year and upset Toronto in MLS Cup, outlasting the Reds in a shootout following a scoreless draw on the frozen shores of Lake Ontario.
Toronto won the only meeting between the sides this year, beating the Sounders 1-0 at CenturyLink Field on May 6.
- Overall (regular season): Toronto 3 wins (11 goals), Seattle 7 wins (18 goals), 2 draws
- At Toronto (regular season): Toronto 1 win (4 goals), Seattle 3 wins (6 goals), 1 draw
Assistant Referees: Adam Wienckowski, Jeremy Hanson
4th Official: Kevin Stott