It’s being called “The Trilogy.”
For the third time in four years, Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders will meet Sunday afternoon (3 p.m. ET on ABC) in the MLS Cup.
This time, the championship will be played in Seattle after the teams split the 2016 and 2017 title games in Toronto. The Sounders won in penalty kicks after a scoreless draw in 2016 and the Reds triumphed 2-0 in 2017.
“I think really it’s incredible for two teams, now in the league with 20-plus teams, to find their way back through both conferences three times out of four years,” Toronto coach Greg Vanney said. “There’s really something special to that.”
The Sounders (19-10-8) finished second in the Western Conference in the regular season, then defeated FC Dallas (4-3), Real Salt Lake (2-0) and Los Angeles FC (3-1) in the playoffs to extend their winning streak to five matches.
“Being able to end up second in our conference (in the regular season), being able to win the Western Conference and then have the final here means a lot to us,” Sounders midfielder Gustav Svensson said. “It shows that we are a team to reckon with. And I think it shows we have a lot of players who will never give up. It doesn’t matter how we play or who we play.”
Toronto (16-10-11), the fourth seed in the East, beat D.C. United (5-1), New York City FC (2-1) and Atlanta United (2-1) to reach the final and extend its unbeaten streak to 13 matches (7-0-6).
“It shows the consistency of the clubs in the last four years and what it means to be a top club in this league,” Toronto midfielder Jonathan Osorio said of the matchup with the Sounders. “All three times that we’ve made it to the MLS Cup, we’ve done it different ways. So it’s pretty amazing. I think Seattle has done it different ways as well.”
Toronto striker Jozy Altidore, who is second to Alejandro Pozuelo on the team with 11 goals (Pozuelo has 14), is listed as questionable with a quad strain. Altidore hasn’t played since the regular-season finale on Oct. 6.
The Sounders are led by forwards Raul Ruidiaz (14 goals) and Jordan Morris (13), the MLS Comeback Player of the Year, and playmaking midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro (nine goals, 16 assists).
The Sounders have a 10-4-2 edge in the all-time series, including 5-2-1 in Seattle. The Sounders prevailed 3-2 at home on April 13 in the only regular-season meeting between the teams this year.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)