Yet another setback for Toronto FC in their title defence campaign. The Seattle Sounders came into BMO Field and executed their gameplan almost to perfection, scoring two goals on the counter and weather most of TFC’s chances.
This is a script we’ve seen from Seattle before; they sat back a lot, and they were happy to give up possession. Their defence (and their goalkeeper) held fast. TFC will have to try and make up for this on the weekend, when they travel to Foxborough to play the New England Revolution.
Highlights and commentary from the game are below. More to come on Waking the Red.
93’ — Damnit. Tosaint Ricketts made contact with a cross, but Effin’ Stefan Frei was there to stop it.
90’ — Now Seba takes a yellow card, probably for dissent. Ugh.
88’ — Seattle’s Jordy Delem takes a yellow card for yanking Seba back by the shirt while the Italian was running in plenty of space. Honestly, I think that needs to be punished a lot more more harshly. Pretty egregious, and he gets away with it easily.
84’ — Things are getting fiery at BMO Field now. Giovinco gets called for diving, and a fan throws a beer can on the field (please don’t do that, guys). Greg Vanney animatedly shouts at Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer to get back in his technical area; he was almost at the halfway line.
81’ — Michael Bradley picks up a yellow card for... something.
70’ — Greg Vanney is really going for it here, as his last substitution will see Tosaint Ricketts come on to replace Marky Delgado.
60’ — Jay Chapman is coming out of the game for Jordan Hamilton. Giovinco may now be able to drop a little deeper and create.
54’ Toronto FC 1-2 Seattle Sounders — TFC’s defence breaks down yet again, and this time it’s Bwana who scores to make it 2-1 for the bad guys. TFC have a lot of work to do now, and it’ll be tough to do it without Vazquez. Goal may have been offside, but life goes on.
46’ — Uh oh. TFC kick off to start the second half, and Ryan Telfer is in the game in place of Victor Vazquez. He seems to be playing up in the left of the three attacking midfielders, and Jonathan Osorio has slid into the middle.
HT — That’ll do it for a (perhaps surprisingly) action-packed first half. The Reds come out of it without the lead they may have wanted, but they managed to respond after going down a goal. All left to play for in the second half; all I can tell you is this isn’t going to penalties.
40’ Toronto FC 1-1 Seattle Sounders — Of course it’s Osorio! The hometown boy puts Toronto FC level before halftime by knocking in an assist from Sebastian Giovinco, who had brought down another perfect ball from Victor Vazquez. That’s a big goal for the Reds, who have been really unlucky (or bad at finishing) a few times in this half.
38’ — Arrghhhh. Giovinco lines up a wide free kick attempt, and his shot hits the post. Had Frei beat completely. Jay Chapman failed to capitalize on the rebound, as well.
36’ — Heart-stopping play at the top of the TFC box as Bono makes a brutal pass. It takes an impressive team effort from van der Wiel, Delgado, and Bradley to get the ball to safety.
33’ — Toronto FC just had maybe their best chance of the day, as Marky Delgado was played through. His shot nicked off a Sounders defender, but the referee didn’t see it and Seattle get a goal kick.
26’ Toronto FC 0-1 Seattle Sounders — Will Bruin takes a through ball from Magnus Wolff Eikrem that van der Wiel just can’t get to, and his counter-attack goal puts the away side up 1-0. Way against the run of play, that; TFC have had 80% possession so far.
15’ — More than once now, Ager Aketxe has chipped lovely passes over the Seattle backline. The first time, Seba thought he was offside and didn’t get a real chance off. The most recent one, though, Jay Chapman made good contact with his head. Stefan Frei (not for the first time) saves the TFC header to keep it 0-0.
7’ — Gregory van der Wiel makes a spectacular sliding tackle on Handwalla Bwana, who looked to be completely on his own in the TFC box. There have been a couple very nervy moments for Toronto at the back...
1’ — Here we go! Toronto FC will play toward the north end for the first half, as usual, and Seattle will kick off. The wind picked up a bit in warmup, but it doesn’t look too bad now. Overall, a beautiful night for some football.
Lineups have been posted below. Nicolas Hasler seems to have been sidelined, and Jay Chapman gets a big opportunity for Toronto FC. Plenty of youth on the bench, as well.
Ah, them again. Toronto FC just can’t seem to get away from the Seattle Sounders, both on the pitch and in the league table. Both clubs enter this rematch of MLS Cup 2017 a decimated, haggard version of their December selves.
The Reds have, of course, lost four of their starting 11 from the final to injury (plus one to free agency). The Sounders are also missing some crucial pieces, though — Jordan Morris, Roman Torres, Nicolas Lodeiro, and Victor Rodriguez are all out, and Harry Shipp probably is as well. So, Seattle’s injury problem is a little more spread out across the lineup (that is, they haven’t lost every single centre-back they have).
Still, the season has started perhaps even more poorly for Seattle than it has for TFC. The Rave Green are last in the Western Conference with five points (TFC have seven). They’ve scored just five times in seven games, and they have just one win to speak of from the 2018 MLS campaign. For a while, they, too, could blame the CONCACAF Champions League for their poor league form, but they’ve been out of that competition since they lost to Chivas in the quarter-finals.
So, this may not be the marquee clash of titans MLS was hoping for when it scheduled this match. Still, it should still be entertaining. TFC are beginning to get their footing in MLS, while Seattle... hasn’t scored in their last two games (against 10-men Columbus and LAFC). They did beat Minnesota United 3-1, though, so that’s... great.
In fact, the Sounders have only scored away from home in one game this season (a 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City). They actually haven’t scored a goal against Toronto FC since a league match in summer 2016, months before they lifted the MLS Cup at BMO without scoring.
So, today we have a decimated backline (Toronto’s) up against an impotent attack. We’ll see how this plays out. Who knows? This could be the game where the Sounders break out as they vie for revenge against TFC. Or, the Reds could double-down on their supremacy and really highlight the difference in these two clubs’ trajectories.
Team news: injuries & suspensions
Toronto FC: Jozy Altidore is out 4-6 weeks after foot surgery. Nick Hagglund and Drew Moor are both out long-term as well. Chris Mavinga, Eriq Zavaleta, and Justin Morrow are all unlikely to feature here, but may be a little closer to returning.
Seattle Sounders: Forward Jordan Morris; midfielders Victor Rodriguez, Nicolas Lodeiro, and Harry Shipp; and defender Roman Torres are all expected to miss out tonight.
Predicting Toronto FC’s lineup against Seattle (Benedict Rhodes)
Jozy Altidore out 4-6 weeks after surgery (Charlie O’Connor-Clarke)
Greg Vanney’s formation tinkering key to Toronto FC’s success (Allan Singh)
Injury crisis has helped Toronto FC learn more about itself (Mitchell Tierney)
How Sebastian Giovinco became multiple players for Toronto FC (Charlie O’Connor-Clarke)
How to watch
Match date/time: Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 7:30 p.m. EST
TV channel: TSN 2 (Canada), Fox Sports 1 (USA)
Live stream: TSN GO (Canada), ESPN+
Radio: TSN 1050 (Toronto)