By: Christopher Smith (@WannabeaCPA), DJ Reider (@Reider_DJ) and Rex Eastwood @REast_Eazy
Fourteen teams entered the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs and we’re down to the final two. The Brkdwn’s top soccer analysts, DJ, Rex and Chris, break down the final matchups before the final match on Nov. 10, 2019. Read below to see what we think will happen in the finals and reach out and discuss with us what your thoughts and opinions are.
Toronto FC @ Seattle Sounders–November 10, 2019 – ABC, Univision, TUDN, TSN4, & TVAS
Chris – Seattle Sounders
The finals are finally here and it’s a matchup that no one saw coming. Both of these teams have, somehow, upset the top two teams in MLS and ruined my chances of winning any futures bets. The Sounders are playing host to Toronto in a sold-out crowd of over 70,000 people. If there is any home-field advantage in MLS, it’s at this match. I’m going to keep my thoughts short and sweet in that Seattle wins this match 2-1 or 3-2. These two teams play close with the winner being decided by one goal in all competitions (since 2013) except for the 2017 MLS finals when Toronto shut them out in Toronto.
Seattle has the better team going into this matchup. Seattle has one of the most reliable center backs in Kim Kee-hee with Kelvin Leerdam and Brad Smith going down the wings creating chances for Seattle to score. Toronto’s top defender, Omar Gonzalez, has yet to make an appearance during the MLS playoffs due to injury. Should he get the start it could very well disrupt the cohesion that they currently have at the position.Seattle has the better pair of wingers in Jordan Morris and Joevin Jones. Toronto’s offensive attack hasn’t been nearly as consistent as Seattle with the team changing their lineups throughout the year. If Toronto wants to have a decent chance at an offensive showdown they need to keep what has worked this whole post-season.
This match, like all the others, will be decided by one goal. It’ll come down to whose keeper is on point and will make that key stop to prevent it from going to penalty kicks. Stefan Frei is the better keeper and will give the Sounders that key save that’ll win another MLS Cup for the trophy case.
Rex – Toronto
In the third meeting in four postseasons, Toronto versus Seattle will not disappoint. What MLS team has yet to lose on US soil in the playoffs? TFC. They will be underdogs for the third straight match for this playoff and they are feeding off the energy. Michael Bradley and Alejandro Pozuelo have kept this squad in top form. Toronto won in 2017 at Seattle and they will again in 2019.
Bradley got his poor game behind him to start the match in Atlanta and has not looked back — exactly what you need from your leader who helped spark the comeback. After falling behind, they kept the pressure on Atlanta and did not shrink in a tough moment. That proved this squad, who returns players who won in 2017, has what it takes. The status of Jozy Altidore remains in the air and at this point, anything he could contribute will add to a solid attack. The attack should hold their own against Seattle’s defense, but TFC’s defense concerns me.
Greg Vanney has put together a solid backline amidst the injuries. TFC has held the two offensive juggernauts to two goals so far on the road. Will it be able to hold it together for one more match? The time off has favored Toronto more than Seattle. The defense sure has needed it and may allow for Omar Gonzalez to return as well. Well-rested and having had more time to develop chemistry, if Gonzalez remains out, they have the talent to withstand the experienced attack of Seattle.
DJ – Seattle Sounders
I think the Seattle Sounders will bring home the MLS Cup once again. The Sounders will be playing in front of a record-breaking crowd at CenturyLink Field, as they’ve opened up the top bowl. This will provide space for 70,000+ fans in a market that loves to support their team. Homefield advantage might be enough of a reason to select Seattle to win, but they also have some special players that can edge them through as well.
Kim Kee-hee has proven to be a consistently solid choice that can hold down a backline. With supporting cast members like Brad Smith, Kelvin Leerdam and Xavier Arreaga, they should be able to silence Toronto’s Jozy Altidore, if healthy, Alejandro Pozuelo, Tsubasa Endoh and others similar to how they were able to keep LAFC’s Carlos Velo and Diego Rossi at bay.
With a midfield of Cristian Roldan, Gustav Svensson and Nicolas Lodeiro, they should be a little more mobile and energetic than Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio and Marco Delgado. Lodiero also links up very well with Raul Ruidiaz, who has 14 goals on the season and Jordan Morris, who has 13 goals this season.
With both teams having superstars throughout the field, it may come down to who has a better netminder, and that advantage also probably goes to Seattle. Toronto’s Quentin Westberg has been pretty good for the Canadian side, making some massive saves, but nothing tops what Seattle’s Steffen Frei has been able to do in big games. Remember the MLS Cup 2016 final? Yeah, I’m sure both sides remember. If you don’t, here is a short clip of the fantastic save that essential won them the final:
Both teams have the power to win this game, but with the final being in Seattle, and how solid and consistent the team has been this season along with their postseason experience and success of recent times, I have to give them the win here. Toronto only have a slim chance of winning this in my opinion.
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