(December 10, 2016) – The day is finally here. Toronto FC will host the Seattle Sounders tonight in MLS Cup 2016. When considering their history in the league, one of the biggest story lines will be the battle to end long standing playoff futility.
MLS Cup 2016: Toronto FC And Seattle Sounders Battle To Exorcise MLS Cup Playoff Demons
This is a first time appearance in MLS Cup for both of these clubs. Both are on extremely hot runs of form. Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris lead the Sounders attack to a huge victory in the conference finals against the Colorado Rapids. Their defense is backed by possibly the best holding midfielder in the league in Ozzie Alonso.
On the other side, Toronto won possibly the best two legged series in MLS Cup playoff history against the Montreal Impact, 7-5 on aggregate. The series was back and forth and back again, but The Reds pulled it out. Jozy Altidore has gone full beast mode with 5 goals and 4 assists in 5 playoff games. Former MVP Sebastian Giovinco is doing his thing. On the other side, Michael Bradley has been working both sides of the ball. The back three continues to gel and make it happen even when conceding on counters.
These teams have so many similarities, making for lots of star-powered match ups all over the field.
Seattle has a strong history of winning trophies since joining MLS in 2009. They’ve won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup four times and won a double in 2014. They just haven’t gotten it done in the playoffs. Three times in the last five years they made it to the conference finals but ultimately lost.
It is almost fitting that this year, with firing Sigi Schmidt midseason, Obafemi Martins leaving, and the injury to Clint Dempsey, that they do the impossible and get to MLS Cup.
On the other side, Toronto’s history is marred with futility. The big money club joined the league in 2007. Supporters look back in agony with failed DP signing after failed DP signing. Each one more expensive, with promises of being the savior. They didn’t make the playoffs until 2015, with Giovinco single-handedly dragging them there. They crashed out that season losing 3-0 to the Impact in the opening round.
Now they’ve got all three big money DPs firing on all cylinders. They’ve got role players stepping up, and a defense that actually knows what it’s doing. This is the stuff playoff runs are made of, and they’ve bossed it into hosting MLS Cup.
For Seattle, it’s been years of winning other things and just coming up a bit short in November. For Toronto, it’s been years of ineptitude. Now, both clubs have come together to make it to the biggest game of the year.
Seattle has rallied around rectifying a terrible start to the season and a midseason arrival of Lodeiro. Toronto has ignored their past failures and come together as a well constructed, coached, and lead team.
Both have demons in their playoff history. Tonight, one will get to right the wrongs of the past. The other might just add more to the skeletons in their closet. There can be only one.