The Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC have held their final practices at BMO Field, site of Saturday’s MLS Cup Final between the Western Conference and Eastern Conference Champions. Toronto obviously has the home field game going 8-3-6 at BMO field during the regular season.
BATTLE OF WILLS
Take out a raucous pro-Toronto FC crowd, temperate weather conditions, and what you will have is a battle of will’s as in who will be able to impose their will on the other. While both sides will have their moments of victory regarding domination of possession, the team that can sustain that dominance will be the winner.
TORONTO ATTACKING MIDFIELD
In every soccer game midfield play dictates the tempo and more times than not, the winner. On Saturday, Toronto FC captain Michael Bradly will try to dictate the tempo of the game by holding on to the ball and look for fellow USMNT teammate Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco. Altidore physical forward who likes to hold on to the ball inside the opponent’s goal box and power himself to a goal. Giovinco is a gifted dynamic play maker who can break a team down with his ability to keep the ball on his foot as he weaves through defenders. Giovinco was Toronto’s top goal scorer with 17.
Seattle will try to counter Toronto’s strong midfield play by clogging the middle of the field with the one -two punch of Cristina Roldan and Osvaldo Alonso. Roldan will try to pressure Toronto midfielders Bradley, Armando Cooper,and Will Johnson into making bad passes that the laying in wait Alonso can pick off and start a Seattle counter attack by getting the ball to playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro.
Lodeiro is a mirror image of Giovinco, a gifted playmaker who can break down any defense given and space with the ball.Lodeiro will be hoping to drop the ball in the space between the Toronto midfielders and defenders so that rookie of the year and leading goal scorer (12) can collect it on a speedy run to the Toronto FC goal
While the game will be played in a cold climate, the only weather-related issue would be gusting winds from Lake Ontario which is a few meters from the stadium. The match up of Altidore vs Chad Marshall is very intriguing. You have two physical players who like to rumble and tumble. Marshall’s roll-dog Roman Torres is another imposing bruiser who will take turns bodying up Altidore. If Seattle can survive the first twenty minutes, its quickness on the wings could cause problems for the Toronto defense. Both teams are disciplined in their defending in the open field and set pieces so a momentary lapse of reasoning could be the difference in deciding the 2016 MLS Cup Champion.