The Seattle Sounders have won their first MLS Cup in franchise history after defeating Toronto FC, 5-4 on penalties, on Saturday night at a frigid BMO Field. A super intense match didn’t provide any goals but gave us its fair share of drama as Roman Torres scored the decisive penalty kick in the sixth round of the shootout to give Seattle the cup.
Both sides came out flying from the opening whistle. The first fifteen minutes was non-stop back and forth action filled with a couple of near chances and some rough tackles on each side. Jozy Altidore came the closest to opening the scoring with a left-footed low shot that just slid past Stefan Frei’s goal.
TFC controlled the half for the most part with Sebastian Giovinco having two free kick opportunities go by the wayside. The Sounders’ best moments came down their left side with Jordan Morris dribbling past several players and getting his teammates involved.
The pace slowed considerably after the opening quarter of an hour with neither side able to find a breakthrough.
The second half began the same way with the home team on the front foot. Giovinco’s presence was felt early on as his point blank chance just missed at the near post.
Intensity levels were constantly high, but the quality of play began severely dipping as time went on with turnover after turnover as the clock ticked towards the 90-minute mark.
To show how futile the attacking threat was for Seattle, their first shot attempt that didn’t get blocked came in the 83rd minute by way of a tame and wide effort by their right back.
Toronto again had the better of the chances as time wound down with Altidore coming the closest to winning it in stoppage time as his diving header was met by a diving Frei save. The regulation time whistle blew to bring on extra time.
Extra time saw more of the same with the Reds dominating play and Seattle having the occasional spurt. Neither side was able to break the deadlock during the first half of extra time.
BMO Field was almost sent into rapture just two minutes into the second half, but Tosaint Ricketts ’s volley from 12 yards out just skipped wide of the post.
Just a few minutes later, Jozy Altidore appeared to have the ball in the back of the net with a perfect looping header, but a miraculous save by Stefan Frei kept the score level.
The ref blew the final whistle on extra time meaning that penalties would decide the MLS Cup 2016 winner.
After Altidore and Brad Evans exchanged confident makes in the first round, Michael Bradley’s weak effort was easily saved and Andreas Ivanschitz scored to put Seattle up 2-1 after two rounds.
Clint Irwin stopped Alvaro Fernandez in round three after a Toronto make to level it back at 2-2 through three rounds.
Both teams converted in rounds four and five to send it to sudden death.
Justin Morrow opened round six by hitting the crossbar and Roman Torres blasted his effort into the net to give the Sounders the cup.