MLS

Toronto FC Wrap Up Greatest Season Ever, Win MLS Cup

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 09: Sebastian Giovinco #10 of Toronto FC lifts the Championship Trophy after winning the 2017 MLS Cup Final against the Seattle Sounders at BMO Field on December 9, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Toronto FC Wrap Up Greatest Season Ever, Win MLS Cup

Pound for pound, Greg Vanney’s Toronto Football Club of Toronto, Ontario, Canada have been the best-performing team in Major League Soccer for the 2017 season. The best team in Canada as holders of the Voyageurs Cup and the holders of the Supporters’ Shield, the Reds had their eyes on payback against Brian Schmetzer’s Seattle Sounders Football Club of Seattle, Washington, USA.

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No need for extra time or penalty kicks this time around; Jozy Altidore (67′) and Victor Vazquez (90′ + 4′) powered Toronto to a 2-0 shutout win over the Sounders to win their first-ever MLS Cup, riding on the coattails of the MLSE-owned Toronto Argonauts winning the CFL’s Grey Cup weeks earlier in nearby Ottawa. Seattle never got into a desire to make a dynasty of their success in the competition as Toronto FC blew them apart on shots (22 to seven) shots on target (10 to four), shots off target (10 to four), corners (11 to three), crosses (28 to 18), passing accuracy (84 percent to 81 percent), possession (56.9 percent to 43.1 percent), duels won (58 to 24) and tackles (17 to five).

One way traffic was the theme for Toronto, whose history began 12 years ago. Toronto FC now have 10 honors to their ledger. In addition to their MLS Cup and Supporters Shield, the Reds have six Voyageurs Cups (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017), an Eastern Conference Playoffs trophy and an Eastern Conference regular season honor, the latter two also won this season.

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In fact, TFC have won all five unique honors this season, a watershed year that saw the club post a 20-5-9 record (69 points). Altidore won MLS Cup MVP while Vanney, the most successful manager in club history (61-40-29 record) was named Coach of the Year. Toronto also set a new personal best for home attendance, with 27,647 fans per game at the now-refurbished BMO Field.

It will be interesting to see if MLSE head honcho Tim Leiweke, the man who brought the magic after a strong run at the LA Galaxy, can keep the bulk of the squad intact. The form of a number of players of this team cannot be stressed. Altidore (17 goals, six assists), Sebastian Giovinco (17 goals, seven assists) and Vasquez (10 goals, 11 assists). The productivity of Justin Morrow (eight goals) and Tosaint Ricketts (seven goals) could see then on the match.

Two players that TFC must keep for the long haul are Marco Delgado and Raheem Edwards. Both are 22 and may have their biggest years ahead of them. In particular Edwards’s progression from TFC II of the USL could see him gain more time with the Canadian national team alongside CanMNT and teammates Ashtone Morgan and Jonathan Osorio. Maintaining a strong list of Canadian-based players will be a priority heading into next season, especially with the Canadian Premier League bound to take shape.

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@joryansalazar

Jo-Ryan Salazar is a writer for The Stoppage Time, a soccer blog powered by Azteca Soccer. A supporter of the Los Angeles Galaxy since 1996 and a committed supporter since 2002, Jo-Ryan also follows Chelsea FC, Melbourne Victory, FC Tokyo and Paris Saint-Germain. Apart from soccer, Jo-Ryan is an administrative assistant for a local nonprofit in Long Beach, California and also does photography, photo-editing and fictional writing.

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