The entire MLS season comes down to one game on Sunday night as for the third time in four years the MLS Cup Final will be between the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC, who battle it out for the title at CenturyLink Field.
Both teams won one of the previous two finals in this recent run of dominance between the pair so the trilogy will be settled on Sunday when they go at it in what should be a wonderful occasion out in Seattle.
Both these sides have had to do things the hard way but Seattle Sounders should take a lot of confidence from knocking off the Supporters’ Shield winners Los Angeles FC in a brilliant performance in the Western Conference final last time out. That was a display which showcased their playoff credentials and another one like that here will make them tough to beat, especially on their own patch.
If there is one thing we have seen in this playoff series so far it is that you have to have goals in your ranks and be prepared to risk all in the quest for the victory. That is what has made it so exciting and there is no doubt Seattle have shown they have those credentials. In an ideal world they will be tighter defensively but they were pretty solid against LAFC, which should give them real belief here.
Given that they have had to win their last two matches on the road, against Eastern Conference’s top two sides New York City FC and Atlanta United, nobody can claim that Toronto FC do not deserve their place in this final. We would be fibbing to suggest that Toronto have dominated or been in control throughout in the playoffs but they have seen off three very strong challengers to fire up their belief ahead of this match.
What I have liked about Toronto FC in this postseason is how they have held their nerve under pressure, stayed calm and still delivered the goods. They were under the cosh against both New York City FC and Atlanta United and still managed to weather the storm and find a winning goal, not necessarily through obvious sources either. That sort of thing ensures belief within very quickly.
With the 10 days or so between the Conference finals and the MLS Cup final you wouldn’t expect too many injury concerns on either side. Will Bruin is the only absentee for Seattle, although they’ve known that from day one.
Jozy Altidore is rated as questionable for Toronto FC but you get the impression this is far too big an occasion not to name him in their 18 even if he is only on the bench as an option should things start to go wrong.
I’m siding with the Seattle Sounders here. I just feel they have more to give in the attacking areas and are the side potentially likelier to commit more men to try and win the game with their full-backs going up the pitch and the class of Nicolas Lodeiro pulling the strings. Jordan Morris has been in electrifying form in the postseason and he could have a big say in this final.
Assuming Altidore is not declared fit to start, and the signs are that he won’t be, then I believe Toronto FC will be relying too much on Alejandro Pozuelo to deliver the goods and that isn’t a position I like. I’d be surprised if Nick DeLeon has another goal in him like the one which beat Atlanta last time out so I am expecting Seattle Sounders to have just a little too much for the Canadian side in this one.
WON – Back Seattle Sounders to beat Toronto FC for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with Betway