TORONTO, CANADA (May 5, 2018) — The anticipation for this match when MLS rolled out their schedule was through the roof.
A rematch of the 2017 MLS Cup Championship, the Seattle Sounders are in Toronto gearing up to face Toronto FC.
This match has championship fever written all over it. In 2016, the Sounders won their first-ever MLS Cup title with a victory over Toronto at BMO Field. However, last year, the Canadians got their revenge, defeating the Sounders on their home field.
Toronto FC-Seattle Sounders: A Not So Simple MLS Cup Rematch
Fast forward to the present. The two clubs are nowhere near where they were last year. Struggling has defined both clubs this season, sending them into unfamiliar territory.
Seattle is currently sitting in last place in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Toronto is second-to-last, right above D.C. United, in the Eastern Conference.
Despite strong performances in the CONCACAF Champion’s League, Toronto can’t seem to create the magic they had last year. With Seattle, the boiling waters of failure are starting to make heads turn at head coach Brian Schmetzer.
There’s no doubt here: One club needs a win, and the other will go back to wading in the murky waters at the bottom of their respective table.
Toronto FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC
2018 MLS Regular Season
May 9, 2018 – 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET
What to Watch for
The Sounders brought in South Korean defender Kim Kee-Hee (who commonly goes by “Kim”) during this offseason. An integral part of South Korea’s qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Kim battled injury for the first part of this season.
However, now recovered, Kim made his first start at home for Seattle last weekend against Columbus Crew SC.
With the struggles of Román Torres and Chad Marshall at centerback, Kim is a breath of fresh air. He helped keep Gyasi Zardes scoreless last week — which is not an easy task.
Kim doesn’t have an easy task again this week.
The defender, should he start, is up against Michael Bradley, Sebastian Giovinco, Jonathan Osorio and Víctor Vázquez this week.
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) May 6, 2018
One of the kings of the free kicks, Giovinco is without his famous-forward pal Jozy Altidore due to a foot injury.
However, Giovinco doesn’t lack in ability.
He’s one of the best free-kick takers in the entire league. However, goals haven’t easily come the Italian’s way, as he only has scored one this season.
Don’t let that fool you, though. The Sounders might notice the one goal in five matches, but the intensity in defending Giovinco shouldn’t go down. He’s arguably one of Toronto’s best players on a star-studded roster.
However, if he can’t find the back of the net, that’ll be a problem for the Reds.
The Injury Report
Seattle Sounders FC
When one injury goes away, another will make its way to the injury report.
The Sounders lost Jordan Morris for the season back on Feb. 22. However, another long-term loss was handed to them when Victor Rodriguez went into surgery for a right knee arthroscopy.
Rodriguez got little time on the pitch this season, nursing his knee injury. Meanwhile, Torres is listed as out with a right hamstring strain.
Questionable on the list are midfielders Harry Shipp and Nicolás Lodeiro.
Lodeiro missed the weekend match against Columbus with a toe fracture. Schmetzer still doesn’t know if Lodeiro will feature against Toronto FC.
Meanwhile, Shipp is nursing a right ankle sprain.
Defenders Nick Hagglund and Drew Moor were immediately listed as out for the week. Currently, Hagglund is rehabbing a hamstring strain while Moor is dealing with a quadriceps strain.
Altidore is listed as out after his May 8th foot surgery. His timetable is four to six weeks.
Toronto has three players listed as questionable — and they’re all defenders. Justin Morrow is healing from a calf strain while Chris Mavinga deals with a sore hamstring. Lastly, Eriq Zavaleta is nursing a quadriceps strain.
Who could forget this?
The MLS Cup was held in December at BMO Field. The snow and cold temperatures were no stranger to either side. Winning was a familiarity to Seattle, as they took the title a year ago at the same venue.
The tables turned and Toronto won a 2-0 match.
In front of 30,584 fans — a mixture of Sounders and Toronto fans — Altidore and Vázquez scored to lift up the trophy.
Prediction: Seattle 2, Toronto 1
Right now, Seattle is in desperation mode to win a match on the road.
They came close against Los Angeles FC and Sporting Kansas City, but fell or drew each time. This a big do-or-die moment for Schmetzer. He needs to show that he has control of the team and can win away from CenturyLink Field.
However, it won’t be easy.
Toronto might be close to Seattle at the bottom of the table, but they can surprise. To be fair, Seattle can surprise too.
Someone is going to win this match and gain some momentum. On the other side, the loser of this match will figure out what to do next.
From Seattle to Toronto… pic.twitter.com/E3xDQ2m7cf
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) May 9, 2018