Another season of thrilling MLS action is at an end, and Seattle Sounders are your 2019 MLS Cup Champions. The Sounders’ second Cup triumph in four years, Seattle have once again proven themselves to be one of the division’s most consistent and experienced rosters around, regularly defying the odds throughout this season and in what has been their eleventh straight year in the competition.
They faced off against Toronto at Century Link Field in what was the two sides’ third meeting in the past four years, with both sides having won once apiece before the game. And though they might have had homefield advantage and the scoreline might look convincing enough from a glance, Sounders were made to work hard for much of the game against this spirited Toronto side who have excelled against the odds all year.
Sounders had finished their regular season second in the Western Conference with 56 points, whist Toronto were fourth in the East on 50, with the two sides ranked fourth and ninth respectively in the overall table. They came into their opening round of Play Off fixtures with outsider soccer odds of +1500 for Seattle and a whopping +2500 for Toronto.
Toronto stunned our MLS predictions several times this year, defeating both the Eastern Conference champions NYCFC and 2018 MLS Cup winners Atlanta United on their way to the final, despite being the road team and heavy, heavy outsiders on both of those occasions.
Whilst Seattle were favourites in their two opening homefield games against Dallas and Salt Lake, their big shock came when they overcame Bob Bradley’s Supporters Shield winners LAFC in California in the Western Conference final, despite being -217/+590 rank outsiders in our soccer betting markets.
We had priced Seattle as pretty clear favourites for the win here at -225 in comparison to Toronto’s +163, however it was the Canadian side that arguably had the better of the first half, enjoying nearly two thirds of the possession and coming close several times before the hour mark. Jonathan Osorio’s quick first time hit into Stefan Frei’s gloves was the first chance of the half, with Frei being called into action again in the 36th minute with an absolutely superb one-handed save from Nicholas Benezet, who must have thought he was about to spoil Seattle’s party.
If this Seattle side have shown one thing however, it’s that they know how to find a result. Kelvin Leedram’s 57th minute strike might have taken two deflections on its way past Toronto keeper Quentin Westberg, who once again looked impressive all season, though that hardly mattered to the majority of the 69,000 fans inside the stadium. Victor Rodriguez and Nicolas Lodeiro then combined together for a sublime exchange taken straight from Barcelona and made it 2-0 in the 74th minute, effectively putting one hand on the cup from then on.
The sublime football continued for the Sounders as Raul Ruidiaz’s lovely chip past Westberg piled on more pain for Toronto before club legend Jozy Altidore finally gave the Canadian outfit something to cheer about, stealing Seattle’s clean sheet in the 93rd minute. 3-1 the final score.
Though obviously there can only be one winner on the day, the 2019 MLS Cup Final should provide both Seattle and Toronto with plenty of encouragement for the 2020 season ahead. With both teams being unfancied in our soccer betting guides pretty much throughout the whole season, making an MLS Cup Final should be a great foundation for them to go forward with and lay a serious statement of intent to the remaining sides in the division. It’ll be fascinating to see how both of these sides fare in next season’s MLS as we watch another year of drama unfold.
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