The MLS Cup rematch we’ve all been waiting for is upon us on Saturday afternoon.
The defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders will take on Toronto FC at BMO Field for the second consecutive season in the championship match.
Seattle hasn’t allowed a goal since October 1 and enters the match with more attacking firepower than it did in 2016, especially with a healthy Clint Dempsey leading the line.
All the pressure in the world is on Toronto FC, who are looking to finish off one of the best seasons in MLS history that already includes a Supporters’ Shield and a Canadian Championship.
For those looking for some pregame reading, check out the SBI Pregame Tailgate for a look back at the week that was. The match is set to kickoff around 4:30 p.m. ET and will be shown on ESPN.
The SBI staff will be offering updates and analysis in the comments section below, so feel free to follow along, and as always, please feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions below.
Enjoy the action.
wasn’t Gio subbed out around the 70′ last year? could his fitness this time be the key?
Toronto: Bono, Beitashour, Moor, Mavinga, Morrow, Bradley, Delgado, Osorio, Vazquez, Altidore, Giovinco
Seattle: Frei, Jones, Marshall, Torres, Leerdam, Svensson, Roldan, Rodriguez, Dempsey, Loderio, Bruin
The biggest thing to watch in terms of tactics is Toronto’s four-man back line. Greg Vanney hasn’t used four at the back for most of the season. If it works, Vanney will be seen as a genius, but if it fails questions will fall on the TFC manager, especially with the amount of pressure the Reds are facing.
1′ We are underway at BMO Field. Seattle is moving left to right and attacking the goal with the Toronto supporters behind it.
2′ Altidore works his way down the right wing, but Torres and Marshall stop him in his tracks and concede a TFC corner.
On the corner, Moor’s header from the left side of the box flies just over the bar.
4′ It’s clear right away that this won’t be the scoreless game we experienced last year.
Both teams have created chances in the first five minutes.
The game will settle down at some point, but for now, it’s open.
8′ We have a shot on goal!
Although it’s a slow roller from Giovinco into the arms of Frei, it’s still something and it’s a continuation of a fast-paced opening stretch.
10′ A left-footed shot by Osorio is denied by a terrific diving save from Frei.
We’re not seeing 0-0 this year in MLS Cup.
11′ How did that not go in?
Giovinco’s shot from the right side of the box barely rolls past the goal line at the left post.
Toronto is throwing everything at Seattle from the jump.
21′ Luckily for the Sounders, they avoided any danger after Giovinco was fouled 30 yards from goal.
However, that can’t happen again.
Giving the Italian designated player more opportunities to score on free kick will only end in disaster for the visitors.
23′ Stefan Frei is playing out of his mind in the Sounders goal.
He uses his right hand to tap Giovinco’s latest attempt over the bar.
27′ Seattle’s done little in the attacking third since the first five minutes, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
If the Sounders are able to absorb the rest of Toronto’s pressure up until halftime, it will give them a boost in the second half and allow them to put more pressure on the TFC defense.
31′ Finally a shot on goal in MLS Cup for the Sounders!
Unfortunately, it comes off a shot from Joevin Jones from a bad angle on the left wing.
Look for the Sounders to get Jones more involved on the left flank as the game pushes on.
He’s stayed back so far because of Toronto’s system, but he could be unleashed as the game remains scoreless.
37′ Stefan Frei continues to marvel in the goal for the Sounders.
His leaping save on Marky Delgado is his fifth denial of the night.
He’s halfway to the single-game saves record in MLS Cup currently held by Tony Meola.
41′ Stefan Frei again!
This time Frei uses his right hand to make a diving save on Vazquez, who had way too much time to shoot.
Frei was visibly upset with his defenders after the Spaniard was left wide open.
HT: Seattle 0, Toronto 0.
Stefan Frei’s six saves are the difference at halftime.
Toronto deserved a goal, but it wasn’t meant to be as the former Toronto netminder has been terrific.
46′ The second half is underway here at BMO Field.
Will someone find a breakthrough or will be going back to extra time?
48′ Somehow a cross rolls straight through the box and Steven Beitashour latches on to the ball.
The Toronto full back almost scored on a perfectly curled shot into the left side of the net.
But the ball went high and wide and we’re still scoreless.
52’Giovinco gets his second chance to score off a free kick, this time from the right side of the field.
He flies his attempt well over the Sounders net.
Seattle can ill afford to let that happen again, especially with the threat of the Italian looming.
57′ Toronto’s attack is still going full steam ahead at the Seattle defense.
Chad Marshall and Roman Torres have made important plays in the last few minutes, but gaps still remain.
The Reds are finding space on the flanks and they are opening up the Sounders defense, but the visitors haven’t committed the one big mistake that some teams do.
60′ Michael Bradley has his go at Frei this time around, but his knuckling shot bounces off the chest of Frei, who once again comes up with a big denial.
65′ Nothing is getting past Frei tonight.
He makes his ninth save of the game on a shot by Giovinco.
The Seattle goalkeeper is one save away from tying the single-game MLS Cup record.
67′ GOAL TORONTO!
Jozy Altidore finally provides Toronto with the breakthrough as he splits the defense, latches on to a pass from Giovinco and lifts the ball over a diving Frei!
71′ Seattle Substitution
Jordan Morris comes into the game for Victor Rodriguez in an attempt to provide an attacking spark to the Sounders.
77′ Seattle is trying to get pressure on the Toronto defense, but it just isn’t happening.
Something drastic needs to change in the next 12 minutes for the Sounders to even create a scoring opportunity, let alone a shot on goal.
83′ Seattle finally creates something in the final third, but a corner goes to waste and its offensive struggles continue.
86′ Toronto makes a pair of substitutions as Armando Cooper and Nick Hagglund come on for Jonathan Osorio and Jozy Altidore.
The Reds are starting to waste time as the clock ticks down to their first championship.
90′ Four minutes of stoppage time have been added on to the end of the second half.
Seattle still hasn’t significantly challenged the Toronto net, and the Reds are using time wasting tactics to finish off the game.
FULLTIME: TFC is the MLS Cup champion! Goals from Altidore and Vazquez seal revenge, an MLS Cup and a treble in Toronto.