Champions once again

Sounders claim MLS Cup victory on home field

Daniel Newman, Sports Editor

For the second time in four years, the Seattle Sounders are the champions of Major League Soccer, defeating Toronto FC 3-1. 


In 2016, the Sounders won the MLS Cup for the first time, beating the same Toronto team in a penalty shootout at BMO Field in Toronto after neither team managed to score a goal after 90 minutes of play and two fifteen-minute overtime periods. 


When the Sounders defender Roman Torres’ penalty kick hit the back of the net, the Sounders players and fans went crazy and set off a celebration that lasted for days. 


The next year, the two teams again faced off at BMO field in the MLS Cup final, with Toronto winning the match 2-0. 


Flash forward to Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. The stage was set for another matchup in the finals between the two teams. 


To make the finals, the Sounders had to defeat the team that tied the league record for most goals in a season, Los Angeles FC. The Sounders won 3-1, advancing to the MLS Cup final. 


Meanwhile, Toronto FC defeated the top team in the Eastern Conference, New York City FC, in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and the second place team in the Eastern Conference, Atlanta United, in the Eastern Conference Finals to make their unlikely run to the final. 


Since the Sounders were the second seed in the Western Conference, and Toronto was the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, the final was hosted at Centurylink Field in Seattle for the first time. 


Tickets for the game sold out in twenty minutes, signaling that Sounders fans were jumping at the chance to see the finals in person. The official attendance was 69,274, setting a record for the most people at an event in Centurylink Field history. 


For the Sounders fans, the game didn’t start as planned. Toronto had two-thirds of the possession in the first half, and forced Sounders goalie Stefan Frei to make three saves. 


As the second half began, the Toronto domination continued and it seemed like a goal for the away team was coming. 


However, the Sounders finally got the ball out of their own half of the field and started on their first attack of the half.   


Defender Joevin Jones crossed the ball to forward Raúl Ruidíaz, who sent the ball across the field to defender Kelvin Leerdam. Leerdam cut inside and fired a shot at the net. The shot was going wide of the net, but Toronto defender Justin Morrow deflected the ball into the net. Advantage Sounders. 


The goal, and the addition of substitute Víctor Rodríguez, was the spark the Sounders needed. 


Twenty minutes later, Rodríguez slipped a shot past Toronto goalie Quinten Westberg to make it 2-0, and Ruidíaz scored a goal in the final minutes of the game. Toronto forward Jozy Altidore got a goal back, but it was too little too late. The Sounders players got to celebrate a win in front of their home crowd. 


Rodríguez was named MVP of the match for his goal. 


Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer reflected on what the win means to the team and the city of Seattle.

“It obviously means a lot, it means a lot that I was able to celebrate with the guys that do all the hard work,” Schmetzer said, according to an article from CNN. “This is something that nobody can take away from any of us in this organization or myself. I’m very happy and very proud.” 

A parade will be held Tuesday, Nov. 12, to celebrate the team. It will begin at Westlake Park at 12 p.m., and will culminate in a rally at Fisher Pavilion in Downtown Seattle at 1:30 p.m.