This is it, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. It’s MLS Cup 2016, the showpiece event of the 2016 Major League Soccer season. It is the story of two clubs who have gone through many shortcomings and setbacks only to resurge and find their purpose in the premier club competition in the United States and Canada. It’s a battle between Greg Vanney’s Toronto Football Club and Brian Schmetzer’s Seattle Sounders Football Club, in the cold and icy confines of BMO Field in Toronto, Ont. The match preview, from MLSSoccer.com.
More than nine months after the 2016 season began, we’re finally ready to crown a champion. Two of the biggest clubs in the league will square off for a shot at their first MLS Cup on Saturday, Dec. 10, when Toronto FC will host the Seattle Sounders at BMO Field.
Both sides feature huge payrolls, big stars, rabid support and, most notably, no MLS Cup trophies. One will win the league championship for the first time in their history on the shores of Lake Ontario. Regardless of who lifts the trophy, we know one thing for certain: It’ll be one serious spectacle.
Toronto FC Snapshot:
- 2016 Regular Season Finish: East No. 3 seed (14-9-11 record, 53 pts / 8-3-6 home record)
- Current Form: W-L-W-W-W
- Player to Watch: Jozy Altidore: Giovinco may be Toronto’s biggest star, but Altidore is the one in the midst of an historic playoff run. The US international became the first player in league history to score in five straight playoff games when he tallied in Leg 2 against Montreal. He’s recorded an astounding five goals and four assists in five playoff matches and has been generally fantastic since returning from the hamstring injury in July that kept him out of the Copa America Centenario, notching 15 goals and seven assists in his last 19 matches between the regular season and playoffs.
- Probable Starting XI: Clint Irwin; Nick Hagglund, Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta; Justin Morrow, Will Johnson, Michael Bradley, Armando Cooper, Steven Beitashour; Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore
Seattle Sounders Snapshot:
- 2016 Regular Season Finish: West No. 4 seed (14-14-6 record, 48 pts / 4-9-4 away record)
- Current Form: W-W-L-W-W
- Player to Watch: Nelson Valdez: Choosing Lodeiro or Morris seemed a bit on the nose, so why not go with the Sounders’ wild card? After a rough regular season, Valdez has been huge in the playoffs, scoring two goals – including the winner in the Knockout Round against SKC – and adding the icing assist in Seattle’s West Championship Leg 2 win at Colorado. If he can contribute again in Toronto, the Sounders should have a solid shot.
- Probable Starting XI: Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Roman Torres, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan; Nicolas Lodeiro, Andreas Ivanschitz, Jordan Morris; Nelson Haedo Valdez
Referee: Alan Kelly
Assistant Referees: Frank Anderson, Joe Fletcher
4th Official: Allen Chapman
Toronto vs. Seattle Head-to-Head
All-Time (11 meetings)
Toronto 2 wins, 10 goals • Seattle 7 wins, 18 goals • 2 draws
All-Time Playoff (0 meetings)
All-Time in Toronto (5 meetings)
Toronto 1 win, 4 goals • Seattle 3 wins, 6 goals • 1 draw
2016 Meetings (1 meeting)
TOR 1, SEA 1 (July 2)
Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. Our live blog starts at high noon, 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET. Keep it right here on The Stoppage Time, powered by Azteca Soccer, for more world football news. Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.