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MLS: Rematch set between Toronto and Seattle

For the second year in a row, the Seattle Sounders will travel to BMO Field and take on Toronto FC in the MLS Cup.

Last year, the Sounders lifted the trophy, with a penalty kick victory over the Canadian team.

This year, both teams have some differences that could be a decision maker in the final game.

Toronto FC

For Toronto, goalkeeper Alex Bono is in net instead of Clint Irwin. Bono, a 23-year-old from Syracuse, New York, has started 28 out of 29 matches this season, registering 2,570 minutes.

Bono has recorded 10 shut outs, 72 saves and has allowed 32 goals past him during the regular season. In the playoffs, Bono has recorded two shut outs in four matches.

The Canadian club reached this point by defeating the Columbus Crew SC, with an aggregate score of 1-0, on Wednesday. Jozy Altidore provided the lone goal of the series, after a suspension from the first match.

Altidore isn’t the only star player for Toronto as well; captain Michael Bradley has been consistent in the midfield, and fellow forward Sebastian Giovinco leads Toronto with 16 regular-season goals.

Bradley had high praise for Altidore after the game.

“When you’re standing in the tunnel on nights like this and you look behind you, when you see Jozy, it’s a damn good feeling because you know what he’s going to be about, you know that he’s going to give you everything he has,” Bradley said. “On a night when it didn’t necessarily come easily or simply, and in a moment when nobody would’ve thought twice if he had gone off, he found a way to keep going and make a big play for us.”

“That’s what you need this time of year. It’s never straightforward.”

Seattle Sounders FC

For the Sounders, the return of Clint Dempsey has been immense. Dempsey did not feature in the playoffs last season, due to a medical condition with his heart.

This year, Dempsey has appeared in 29 matches, starting 25. He has scored 12 regular-season goals, which is his second-highest tally in a Sounders uniform.

In the playoffs this season, Dempsey appeared in three matches, starting all of them. He has scored three goals, but provided no assists.

In their Western Conference final, the Seattle Sounders took down the Houston Dynamo with an aggregate score of 5-0.

Seattle’s secret weapon has been Will Bruin.

Bruin, who featured for the Dynamo for six seasons before joining the Sounders, has scored 11 goals in 31 appearances during the regular-season. He added to that number with two goals in the post season. However, he does work getting the ball to others, recording two assists in both the regular and post seasons.

The Sounders also celebrated the return of Jordan Morris, who hasn’t featured in about a month due to injury.

“I’m just enjoying this moment right now but obviously a rematch of last year, it’s going to be a great game,” Morris said. “They’re a very good team and they’re going to be out for some revenge, for sure. It’ll be a tough game and hopefully we can go there and do what we did last year.”

Prediction

This match won’t be anything like it was last year. There are huge differences with the rosters, starters and overall talent on each side.

There’s no doubt that Toronto is going to want revenge, especially on their home field, but Seattle won’t let them get by easy. I don’t expect to see a penalty shoot out, with a scoreless regular and extra time.

With the talent at forward that each side has, there’s no way this won’t be a high scoring affair.

However, both teams have solid, all-around talented defenses. Scoring won’t be as easy, but there’s a chance it will get done — multiple times.

Despite the loaded roster and depth Toronto has, they showed many weaknesses against Columbus, while Seattle was nothing but dominant against Houston.

On December 9, the Seattle Sounders have all the tools to lift their second-straight MLS Cup.

 

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Buchanan/USA Today Sports.

Follow @RachaelMcKriger for all MLS coverage.

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Rachael McKriger
Sports Journalist

Rachael McKriger writes for RSEN Report (Lead Editor), Pittsburgh Sports Castle (Content Editor), Mon Goals and W2M Network, in addition to being a sports stringer/reporter for the Mon Valley Independent newspaper.

A senior of California Univ. of Pennsylvania, you can follow her on Twitter, @RachaelMcKriger, where you can find all of her articles. Search “McKriger Photography” on Facebook, to see her photos.


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