This year’s MLS season has certainly been a crazy one in roughly a million different ways, and as the campaign came to a gradual end this past weekend, the league maintained that same energy for the 2019 MLS Cup Final.
In the end, as reported by MLS Soccer and The Guardian, Seattle Sounders walked away with their hand held high as they defeated Toronto FC to become MLS Cup champions. It was an entertaining game from start to finish, but beyond that, the resiliency, determination and overall talent of this Seattle team needs to come into consideration.
They may have finished high up in the Western Conference, but if nothing else, they were looked upon as a squad that could cause a handful of issues in the playoffs before falling at the feet of the big dogs. In the end they made their own rules, and they tore a hole through everyone in their path – in a manner that only the Sounders can.
They had their legion of fans behind them for this one with more than 69,000 being in attendance in Seattle, and with that kind of fan power alone, you just knew that the pendulum was going to be swinging in their direction.
The first half felt like a bit of a feeling out process, with both teams working one another out in what was the third MLS Cup showdown in the last four years for these two elite franchises.
Then, in the second half, Kelvin Leerdam opened the scoring to send the home fans into a state of ecstasy. Less than 20 minutes later they were able to make it two courtesy of Victor Rodriguez, and with their foot on the pedal and the trophy in sight, Raul Ruidiaz put the finishing touches on this magnificent win in stoppage time. Jozy Altidore was able to grab a consolation goal for Toronto, but they were unable to win a second title in three years as the MLS Cup Final series between the two went to 2-1 Sounders.
Making it count
“I’m going to get a little emotional because it’s really a good moment for the city of Seattle, the fans, the players who have overcome a lot of adversity this year,” said head coach Brian Schmetzer.
“The first goal kind of started us going,” Schmetzer said. “We were able to find our footing, and our team’s a dangerous team.”
This was an important message for all teams in Major League Soccer, and playoff sports as a whole, that it isn’t over until it’s well and truly over. LAFC, LA Galaxy, NYCFC and Atlanta United were all positioned in the media as the big dogs, and perhaps understandably so. However, the fact that old warriors like Seattle and Toronto were cast to one side is a real shame – and something of an insult.
Instead of moaning about it, though, they used that chip on their shoulder and they pushed forward with the kind of efficiency and resiliency that we’re so used to seeing.
Congratulations, once again, to the 2019 MLS champion Seattle Sounders.