Toronto FC set out with one goal in the 2017 season: win the MLS Cup the team was so close to capturing in 2016. With Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Seattle Sounders, they did just that, and capped off one of the greatest seasons MLS has ever seen.
“Lifting this trophy has been an obsession for the last 364 days,” said captain Michael Bradley. “Not just for me, but for every single guy in our team, every coach, every part of the staff from the second Torres scored the winning penalty last year.”
“Honestly, there’s no other word for it other than just obsession.”
But Toronto FC didn’t just win the MLS Cup. They became the first team in MLS history to win a treble. They also did it while accruing the most points in league history.
Everyone feels like they were a part of something special, some even think they were the best this league has ever seen.
“I think so,” said defender Drew Moor. “I don’t think it’s a conversation. For this season we were the best team in history. To win the treble, to do it the way we did. There’s been some very good teams in this league, if we’re not talking about multiple years, this season we’re the best team in league history.”
Sebastian Giovinco couldn’t help but agree.
“We won the Canadian Cup, we won the Supporters Shield, we won the MLS Cup,” the Italian said. “We got more points than anyone in league history. I think we are the best.”
Then there was goalkeeper Alex Bono, leaving in doubt.
“Now there is no question,” he said. “We’re the first team to do the treble, most points in the regular season. All those questions should be silenced at this point.”
It’s hard to argue with them. The club’s 69 regular season points were the most in MLS history. They gutted their way through the playoffs with wins over the New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew. But they saved their best performance for when they needed it most: the rematch of last year’s MLS Cup heartbreak against the Seattle Sounders.
They dominated the defending champions, outshot them 22-7. Eleven of those TFC shots were on target. Had it not been for Stefan Frei in the opposing goal, who made nine saves, they would have ran away with the match long before Jozy Altidore broke the deadlock in the 66th minute.
It seemed everyone had their best night, but two guys stuck out among the group. Michael Bradley, who completed 70 passes at a 91% success rate, and Victor Vazquez, who, according to Moor, was all over the place.
“He just kept popping up in those areas where he had five or six yards and when you give him that much space on the ball and time he’s gonna pick out a good pass,” Moor said.
Vazquez ended up scoring the stoppage time goal that sealed the title for Toronto FC.
It was a goal that brought the obsession of winning MLS Cup to an end. It ended the pain felt from falling in devastating fashion 364 days ago. It put a bow on everything Toronto FC wanted to accomplish when the 2017 season began.
“We set out this year to win everything,” Bradley said. “To win every game to win every trophy. We came damn close to winning every game and we did win every trophy. We’re damn proud of that.”