By Jovanni Arroyo-Camberos
With the MLS soccer season coming to a close, both the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC will hope to finally get their hands on the coveted MLS Cup on Saturday at BMO Field in Toronto.
“It’s an exciting time for the city [Toronto] here, it’s been a long time since we’ve hosted a Final of really of any sort especially on the soccer side,” said Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney.
Not only is this the first time both of these teams have played in an MLS Cup Final, but it is also the first time a final has created so much buzz throughout the country with the starpower provided by both teams.
For Toronto FC you have a star studded line-up including, Italian international Sebastian Giovinco, who has recorded 39 goals in 61 career games with Toronto.
Alongside him he has U.S. international team members, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, who are the other two DP’s for the team.
Toronto is coming off of a blood pumping thriller over the Montreal Impact that saw Toronto defeat Montreal 7-5 overall over two legs.
Not only did the second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship feature goals galore but it also needed extra time to separate the two teams. In the end, Toronto mustered up an impressive run to make it to the final game of the MLS playoffs.
“I know this is a soccer town, this is a soccer community … it’s become a big deal for sure over the course of this run,” Vanney said.
Seattle had a different path heading into the MLS playoffs. At the end of the regular season the team found themselves in must-win situations throughout the last five games of the season to make it into playoffs.
“I think both teams have done pretty well, Toronto has been near the top pretty much all season over there in the east … we’ve been fortunate to go on a good run and make it to a Final,” said Seattle Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer.
No one thought this Seattle team would be able to put up the form they have displayed in recent months to even make it to a final, especially after having a coaching change mid-season.
“I think my team is seasoned… I think we’ve come through some adversity at times and figure out ways to win games so I do think it’s kind of helped us,” Schmetzer said.
Seattle, just like Toronto FC, has its stars including: young rising star and MLS rookie of the year Jordan Morris, fellow U.S. international Clint Dempsey, second year man Christian Rondon and Uruguayan international Nicolas Lodeiro.
Although Seattle will be without Clint Dempsey in the final, Lodeiro has been a key part in the midfield that has helped this team succeed.
“They added a very good piece which is Nicolas Lodeiro … he is one of the best guys in the league at pulling the strings and moving the game around and finding very good spots… he can impact the game,” Vanney said.
The last time both these teams faced each other was in a regular season match in July. The game ended in a 1-1 draw with both teams exchanging goals within a minute apart from each other.
Both teams will find a similar scenario on Saturday. Seattle will be the away team just as it was in the regular season match and it will also be missing Clint Dempsey just like it did back in July.
Some key differences here though is that both teams are in form, rather than their regular season matchup where both teams had only won one of six games.
Both teams have found a way to get to the top of the MLS.
Toronto FC will also have Altidore and Bradley who had missed the game in July due to injuries.
The weather might have an impact on the game but one thing is for sure, the starpower between both teams is sure to excite fans tuning in on Saturday.