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Toronto FC fall on penalties to Seattle Sounders in MLS Cup heartbreaker

The Reds dominated much of the game at BMO Field but could not find a goal, and they paid for it in the toughest manner possible.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto sports just can't seem to get away from heartbreak no matter how far they come. The wounds from tonight's loss on penalties aren't likely to heal and time soon.

No player scored in front of a record crowd at BMO Field during regulation, but Roman Torres netted the decisive penalty to give the Seattle Sounders the win and the MLS Cup.

Toronto FC had the bulk of the chances early on in the match. Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore combined well up top for a chance that the latter put just wide. Seattle, however, were up for the match as well. Their high press caused TFC all kinds of problems early in the half, as did Jordan Morris from the left wing.

The match, as one would expect, was also chippy from the start, with neither team wanting to give an inch. Attackers on both sides suffered harsh tackles against, many of which could well have resulted in cards under other circumstances.

Both sides defended very well in the first half, which made for a relative lack of action. Toronto dealt well with Seattle trying to play Morris through on long balls, while Seattle kept Toronto outside of their box for the most part.

Toronto were the better side, but had nothing to show for it when the whistle went. The match went scoreless into the break with neither side able to take advantage of the chances they had created.

The cagey affair continued to be just that in the second half, again with Toronto on the front foot. Again, execution was poor in the final third as the Sounders defenders did a good job of smothering Toronto attacks.

Toronto earned a number of set pieces towards the mid-way point of the half, but nothing was doing. Giovinco, who is usually strong from set pieces, consistently hit the ball into the Seattle wall.

Greg Vanney made a  couple of substitutes to try and change that, but it made no difference in the 90 minutes. Will Johnson and Benoit Cheyrou, a pair of veterans, replaced Jonathan Osorio and Armando Cooper in midfield.

Neither side found a breakthrough in regulation and the game went to extra time. That's when Vanney made an even bigger decision, pulling off Giovinco for Tosaint Ricketts. Giovinco had been withdrawn with cramp in the second leg of the conference final against the Montreal Impact and did not hit his usual heights here.

In the second half of extra time, Ricketts missed what was a glorious chance to put Toronto ahead on a volley in the middle of the box. Moments later,  Ricketts found Altidore on the penalty spot, but his well-placed header was somehow palmed away by Stefan Frei. It was the best save of the MLS playoffs.

At the other end, Roman Torres, who had a fantastic match, almost ended it when Steven Beitashour mishit a clearance. However, he fanned on his shot and the ball dribbled to Clint Irwin.

Nobody else would get much of a chance, and the match would be decided by penalties after going scoreless through regular time.

After Michael Bradley and Alvaro Fernandez had missed to keep it even through five penalties, Justin Morrow hit the crossbar in the sixth round and Torres scored the next one to give the Sounders the win.