By Jovanni Arroyo-Camberos
For the fourth time in league history, it took penalty shots to decide the MLS Cup Final between Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night at BMO Field.
After 120 minutes and penalties, the Seattle Sounders were crowned 2016 MLS Cup Champions, after defeating Toronto FC 5-4 in penalty shots.
“I don’t have words to explain how emotional this is for everybody, we worked so hard for this title,” said Sounders forward Nelson Valdez postgame.
The victory marked the clubs first MLS Cup in club history, after first joining the league as an expansion club in 2007.
“It’s a first and hopefully a first of man, but credit to Toronto they really took it to us,” said Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan postgame.
Much was expected when both teams stepped onto the field on Saturday night, however no one expected a scoreless draw over 120 minutes.
The attacking presence of Toronto’s Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley and Seattle’s Jordan Morris, Nicolas Lodeiro and Nelson Valdez promoted that there would be goals, and lots of them.
However, that wasn’t the case. Throughout much of the game, both teams battled back and forth for possession.
Toronto FC finished the game with 54 percent of the possession and outshot the Sounders 19 to three.
Toward the end of regulation nothing could split the teams. In the 103rd minute of the game, Toronto FC decided to sub out Sebastian Giovinco with Tosaint Ricketts.
The substitution came as a surprise, since Giovinco was regarded as Toronto’s best chance at scoring a goal.
After the substitution Toronto kept its attack in full force, with Altidore coming just a few inches from scoring a potential game winning goal from a headed shot to the upper right corner of the goal.
Seattle goalie, Stefan Frei was there to deny Altidore after stretching out his entire body to just deflect the shot with his left hand.
Both teams remained tied at zero heading into the game deciding penalty kicks.
First to step up to the penalty spot was Jozy Altidore, who buried his shot to the bottom left corner of the goal, just slipping past Frei.
Seattle midfielder Brad Evans, who came in as a sub in the second half of overtime for Jordan Morris, converted his penalty for a 1-1 draw.
Roman Torres, the man Seattle signed in 2015, and the man who also missed his debut MLS season due to a knee injury, served up the championship as an exclamation to his MLS career.
At the end of the night an unlikely hero stepped up to the spot and brought home the championship for the Seattle Sounders for the first time.
“No one believed in us and everyone was against us because we started getting better but at the end we showed that we are a good team,” Valdez said.