Sounders Win Second MLS Cup in Third Final Meeting vs. Toronto FC

For the third time in four seasons, MLS's championship came down to a duel between these two clubs, with Seattle adding a second star to the crest.
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The Seattle Sounders have taken the rubber match. 

Playing Toronto FC in MLS Cup for the third time in four seasons, the Sounders won 3-1 at a sold-out CenturyLink Field in Seattle to win a second MLS Cup title. A deflected Kelvin Leerdam shot snapped a deadlock in the 57th minute before Victor Rodriguez's smooth insurance strike put Seattle in control in the 76th. Raul Ruidiaz clinched it with Seattle's third in the 90th minute, with Jozy Altidore's stoppage-time header nothing but a consolation goal for TFC, which couldn't capitalize on its clear possession advantage in the opening half and instead succumbed to defeat.

The Sounders won in 2016 in penalty kicks, only for Toronto FC to take the title the following year, with both taking place at BMO Field. They headed west for the rubber match, where Seattle became the sixth franchise in MLS history to win multiple league titles.

The first half-chance of the game came four minutes in, with Nicolas Benezet trying a speculative shot from long range, one that Stefan Frei, a stalwart hero on the MLS Cup stage, made and collected with ease.

Seattle's first chance came five minutes later, when Jordan Morris went on a blazing solo run. He took on Gonzalez 1-v-1 before lacing a shot on frame, but Quentin Westberg got down to make the clean save and keep the match scoreless.

Frei was forced into his second save in the 12th minute, when Jonathan Osorio got a good look on a mid-range chance, only to fire it right at the goalkeeper instead to either corner.

Roman Torres, who hit the decisive PK in Seattle's 2016 triumph, nearly got his side on the board in the 21st minute off a corner kick. It wasn't with his head, as might be expected, but instead with a late-arriving run and a first-time volley from the center of the box, which sailed just over the bar to let Toronto off with the warning.

Michael Bradley, who reportedly has a $6.5 million contract option riding on the outcome of the match, made an important tackle just after the half hour mark, with Brad Smith surging forward down the left-hand side. His cross appeared to be earmarked for Nicolas Lodeiro in the center of the box, but Bradley remained step-for-step with Smith and made a sliding block to cut out the threat.

Seattle was robbed by Westberg just before halftime, with Ruidiaz getting a clear look from in close, only for the TFC goalkeeper to make the clutch save.

The Sounders went ahead just before the hour mark, and it came on what appeared to be an own goal. Leerdam whipped in a chance from inside the box that appeared to be going well wide, but it hit off Justin Morrow's planted leg and ricocheted by Westberg to make it 1-0 to the hosts. Official scorers credited the goal to Leerdam, though, not that he nor Seattle will care all that much.

Despite claiming it would take a small "miracle" to be fit for the final, Jozy Altidore wound up coming on for the final 24 minutes, with TFC trailing and in need of a difference-maker up front. It was Altidore's chance in 2016 that was denied by the famous Frei save and his game-winner in 2017 that served as the landmark moments in the last two MLS Cup matchups between the two clubs.

Instead of TFC getting closer, Seattle wound up extending its lead. The goal came from Rodriguez, and it was a beauty, with the Spanish midfielder gliding through to the top of the box, taking a layoff pass from Lodeiro and slotting his finish by Westberg to make it 2-0.

Seattle finished off its triumph with Ruidiaz's seventh playoff goal in six career postseason games. He muscled off Chris Mavinga for a ball over the top and finished on the break, making it 3-0. 

Altidore did manage to make his desired late-game impact, scoring on a clinical header in stoppage time, but it did nothing but reduce the margin of defeat.

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Here were the lineups for both sides: