Jozy Altidore brings home MLS Cup for Toronto FC in 2-0 win over Seattle Sounders
TORONTO — Toronto FC’s magnificent 12 months was lacking one important component. And so the followers streamed into BMO Field on Saturday, bundled in multi-layers and winter caps for one other December showdown with Seattle.
The home workforce had recorded among the finest common seasons in MLS historical past and received its home cup competitors, however to boost a 3rd trophy, Toronto must avenge final 12 months’s heartbreak in opposition to the Sounders.
As afternoon become night on the chilly shores of Lake Ontario, the story was eerily comparable as Toronto didn’t crack goalkeeper Stefan Frei. In the 67th minute, nonetheless, Jozy Altidore collected Sebastian Giovinco’s fantastic go in stride and scored previous Frei en path to a 2-0 victory earlier than a sellout crowd of 30,584.
Victor Vazquez secured the championship with a aim deep into stoppage time.
“Lifting this trophy has been an obsession for the last 364 days,” captain Michael Bradley stated. “To get ourselves back here, to give ourselves another crack at it, has been — honestly, there’s no other word for it — obsession.”
And with it, a company that wanted 9 seasons to qualify for its first playoff berth two years in the past might stake a declare to MLS historical past: Several groups have received two trophies in a 12 months, however till Saturday, not one had raised three of them.
Coach Greg Vanney stated he believes this Toronto squad is the very best in the league’s 22 seasons. “And we’re still writing our story,” he added.
For Altidore and Bradley, longtime U.S. nationwide teammates, the triumph introduced a dose of redemption after the failed World Cup qualifying marketing campaign this fall. Both had been focused by followers in different cities for the American catastrophe, and whereas profitable MLS Cup won’t scrub the nationwide workforce blemish from their legacies, it proved their worth to the membership and league.
The overriding incentive, nonetheless, was the home defeat to Seattle in a penalty kick tiebreaker final 12 months.
“You could tell that was a motivated franchise — motivated coach, motivated players,” Sounders Coach Brian Schmetzer stated.
Bradley was in command, shielding the again line and launching an assault that outshot the guests 12-1 in the primary half and 22-7 general.
“His bald head was everywhere,” Altidore stated.
With Bradley in cost, Toronto was the higher facet over nearly each second of the 90 minutes. Frei’s handiwork and the hosts’ missed alternatives left the end result in the stability.
Altidore, nonetheless, discovered the web halfway via the second half.
It began in the again and adopted a direct route. The closing hyperlink was offered by Giovinco, who timed a via ball of excellent weight to Altidore piercing Seattle’s again line. The highly effective striker touched the ball away from the closing Joevin Jones and lifted a left-footed shot over the advancing Frei.
Up to that time, Toronto’s persistence had been examined. A aim would have completed wonders for the trajectory of the match, inserting it on a refreshing course after final 12 months’s goal-less affair.
Perhaps it was an excessive amount of to ask from a workforce that had faltered in comparable circumstances final winter and had labored at home this postseason. Giovinco, an attacker with mesmerizing abilities, appeared caught up in the second at instances.
When Toronto was heading in the right direction, Frei intervened.
The first half was a case of Toronto’s sustained punches in opposition to Seattle’s gentle jabs. Toronto’s one-touch passing, collaboration and use of the flanks left the Sounders chasing the ball.
Nonetheless, the match stayed scoreless to halftime.
“After a year like last year [in the final] and a half like that, you have to keep your foot on the gas and keep trying to create chances and not be afraid to give up something, have the endeavor to go win the game,” Vanney stated. “That was one of our big statements this week: Be bold.”
Toronto remained daring. Meanwhile, the Sounders had little to supply. When they did have the makings of one thing harmful, Bradley extinguished it.
Three minutes after Frei made a terrific save on Giovinco, Altidore scored his second consecutive game-winning aim.
Later, with Seattle pressed ahead, Toronto’s Armando Cooper hit the precise publish with an acutely angled shot. Vazquez deflected the ball into the vacant web from a step away.
Soon, the icy celebration was underway — one which had been a 12 months in the making.
“It’s been a long time, a long journey to get here,” Vanney stated. “Heartache along the way, but to get here tonight and to be able to lift a trophy with [the fans] and in front of them has been an incredible journey.”
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