With one swift leg swing from Center back Roman Torres, the Seattle Sounders became MLS Champions for the first time in their storied history. Torres converted the winning penalty to give the Sounders a 5-4 penalty shootout victory in a game they did not register a shot on goal during regulation and extra time
The game between the Western and Eastern Conference Champions was supposed to be a high scoring affair in which Toronto was given the slight advantage because of the home field advantage. The 36,045 red-clad Toronto fans did their part as they set a new attendance record for BMO Field.
The game started as you would expect with the home side on the front foot. Toronto nearly scored in the fourth minute when Michael Bradley lofted a ball to Italian playmaker Sebastian Giovinco who chest passed it to the onrushing Jozy Altidore who’s right-footed shot went just wide of the Seattle goal. No goal but a definite sign of intent by the home team.
SEATTLE DEFENSE HOLDS
Toronto kept the pressure up and nearly had the game’s first goal in the 30th minute but Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei came up big on a Jozy Altidore header from the center of the box. It looked like it was a matter of when not if as Toronto increased the pressure on Seattle by bringing Altidore into the midfield which opened up spaces around the Seattle goal. Although Toronto had several touches in the front of the goal the Seattle defense stood tall and was able to keep Toronto from being able to get off any shots that troubled Frei.
SCORELESS IN TORONTO
The second half started much like the first half with Toronto on the front foot with Giovinco turning an Osvaldo Alonso turnover into a goal in the 49th minute. Giovinco’s shot from the right side was wide of the Seattle goal. Seattle settled down the rest of the way and actually managed two shots on goal. At half time the shot chart read Toronto seven and Seattle zero. Both teams because somewhat cautious and the game went into two 15 minute extra time periods.
Toronto went back on the offensive to start the first period but it was to no avail as Frei once again denied Altidore when he saved the strikers right footed strike. Frei who was the games Most Valuable Player saved his best save for last as he denied Altidore a third time in the match. Altidore’s header in the second period of extra time was headed for the back of the net until Frei swatted it away for a save that will long be remembered in Sounder folklore.
Is this real life? #MLSCup pic.twitter.com/JVfmsCvXpz
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) December 11, 2016
PENALTIES The game went into the dreaded penalties and it was there that the Sounders were able to capture their first MLS title with the 5-4 conversion. Toronto’s Altidore, Benoit Cheyrou, Will Johnson and Justin Morrow were able to convert their kicks while Michael Bradley and Justin Morrow were not, opening the door for the Seattle win. Seattle’ Brad Evans, Andreas Ivanschitz,Joevin Jones, Nicolas Lodeiro and of course Roman Torres, all converted to give the Sounders the win. The only Sounders penalty take not to find the back of the net was Alvaro Fernandez but in the end, it did not matter .
Catch your breath yet?! Great! Rewatch the penalty shootout now! #MLSCup pic.twitter.com/0wFM7bOwHe — Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) December 11, 2016
- Sounders FC became the 11th club to win MLS Cup on Saturday evening. Seattle now has a 11-10-5 record all-time in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
- Sounders FC is 7-2-3 all-time against Toronto FC in MLS competitions, with this being the first postseason meeting between the two sides.
- Sounders FC became the first team in MLS history win the MLS Cup with zero shots on goal. In the first half, the Rave Green also became the first team in the history of the final to not record a single shot in a half.
- Sounders FC occupied the ninth position in the Western Conference on September 16, before embarking on a 10-2-1 run, including a 5-1-1 mark to close out the regular season and a 4-1-1 run in the 2016 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
- Seattle extended its club record with a fourth series win in a single postseason.
- Head Coach Brian Schmetzer has posted a 12-3-5 record since taking over managerial duties on July 26.
- While competing against his former team, Stefan Frei recorded seven saves, one shy of the MLS Cup record, and earned the MLS Cup MVP.