MLS Cup 2019: A meeting of two “underdogs”

Evan Wyatt, staff writer

The Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC in the MLS Cup Finals? Sound Familiar? For the third time in four years, the two powerhouses will be taking part in the final on November 10. The teams met in the final two years in a row in 2016 and 2017. Seattle won in 2016 on penalty kicks and Toronto won 2-0 in 2017. 

This year, though, their meeting has come about in much more unlikely circumstances. Seattle suffered a significant midseason slump, losing several games and looking all but out of playoff talk. Their poor form was also extrapolated by the retirement of one of their veteran players. To boot, in their first game in this year’s playoff, against the very young FC Dallas, they looked remarkably unconvincing. After going 2-0 up, they slipped. The game eventually went into overtime at 3-3 with Jordan Morris, the MLS Comeback Player of the Year after missing all of last season to injury, scoring his third goal of the day to send the Sounders through 4-3. In their next game, against Real Salt Lake, they looked much better; when they got up 2-0 they stayed there. In the conference final against the record breaking, and much tipped to win the cup this year, LAFC, they shined. After going down 0-1 off an excellent free kick, Seattle controlled the game and came away with a very impressive 3-1 win. 

Toronto’s appearance this year is also fairly surprising. After playing DC United to 1-1 in 90 minutes, they stormed to a 5-1 victory in overtime. Against the first-seeded New York City FC, they were quite honestly gifted two goals, one off of a terrible backpass and another from a PK, although they did control much of the game. Their most important win was in Atlanta, where most people predicted they would be convincingly beaten by the returning champions. Not so, after going down 1-0, they did an incredible job of absorbing Atlanta’s attack scoring two goals, one was a screamer from outside the box, to win 2-0.

The final will take place on November 10 in Seattle. A huge bonus for Seattle is their homefield advantage; they also have a large stadium and avid support. It will be interesting to see if Toronto will be able to defend the way they did in Atlanta and score on the counter. Seattle will want this one, losing to Toronto in their two previous Final meetings. However it pans out, it promises to be a great game.