It all comes down to Saturday for Seattle Sounders FC.
The MLS Cup final between the Sounders and Toronto FC kicks off at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at BMO Field in Toronto, with the winner claiming the league championship. This is a rematch of last year’s final, which was won by Seattle in penalty kicks following a scoreless 120 minutes, so the Sounders have a shot at repeating, which would make them just the fourth repeat champion in league history.
Therefore, this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll asked readers to predict who will win Saturday’s final. Here’s what you said:
POLL: Do the Sounders beat Toronto FC on Saturday to win their second straight MLS Cup? Full context here: https://t.co/T9c3ZSwdea
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) December 4, 2017
Add the two up and 72 percent of responders believe Seattle will win Saturday, while 28 percent think Toronto will prevail.
This goes against conventional wisdom heading into the game. Toronto had the better record during the regular season, earning a league-record 69 points compared to 53 for Seattle. Toronto won when the teams met head-to-head, prevailing 1-0 in Seattle on May 6 despite being without the services of star forward Sebastian Giovinco and star midfielder Victor Vazquez. And Toronto has the all-important home-field advantage. But Toronto was the favorite last year as well, yet Seattle claimed the cup.
It was interesting tracking the voting data in this one. During the first day voting was pretty even, with Toronto actually holding a slight edge. However, after the Twitter poll was retweeted by other Herald accounts on the second day, the voting surged hard in the Sounders’ favor. I couldn’t tell you with any confidence what this means, but I thought the information was worth sharing.
There’s been some news about player availability for the final since the poll was first posted. Seattle has ruled out captain Osvaldo Alonso because of his quadriceps injury — though the Sounders have figured out how to play without their primary holding midfielder as Alonso was on the field for just 16 minutes during Seattle’s four playoff games. Meanwhile, Toronto target man Jozy Altidore, who was considered questionable because of an ankle injury picked up during the second leg of the Eastern Conference finals against Columbus, has declared he will play.
Saturday’s game is being televised on ESPN, with pregame coverage beginning at 1 p.m.