Sounder at Heart Archives for January 2017

Sounders 2 continue to seek talent in West Africa, pursuing Nigerian winger

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S2 and Sounders have history signing talent from the region, including First Team players Nouhou and Sanna Nyassi.

In the last two seasons Seattle Sounders 2 signed three Cameroonian players each year. Their biggest success, Nouhou, earned a full MLS contract and was a major contributor to the repeat run to the MLS Cup Final.

Major Link Soccer: Liberians elect former soccer star as their next president

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Also: Why Paris is such a hotbed of soccer talent, and the NASL sends a strongly worded letter to the USSF.

Seattle

Valve's massive Dota 2 tournament, The International, may be moving from its Seattle venue to one in Vancouver. There's no official word yet, but signs are pointing to a move away from Key Arena.

Postseason pontifications: What to make of an imperfect season?

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There was a lot to like but reason to be frustrated.

The gulf in emotions before and after MLS Cup was shockingly wide. As sports fans, we've surely all experienced other losses in championship games. We may have even known what it was like to be roundly outplayed in those games.

But this year's loss felt different.

Sounders questionably linked to Croatian left winger

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Ante Erceg is an intriguing target, but there are reasons to doubt the move.

A relatively quiet offseason on the rumor front finally sprung to life on Thursday, but some cold water was thrown on the rumor almost as quickly. It started when a Croatian newspaper said the Seattle Sounders had already submitted a €6 million transfer offer for winger Ante Erceg of Hajduk Split.

Major Link Soccer: Kekuta Manneh heads south

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US Soccer news and a fan rather go through chemo instead of telling his story to The Sun.

MLS

The 2018 MLS Draft will be here before you know it. Here's Mock Draft Version 1.0 from Top Drawer Soccer.

10 winter storylines that will define the MLS offseason.

Orlando CIty SC trades for Jose Villarreal, Acquires Left Back Mohamed El-Munir.

Vote now: 2017 Seattle Reign Awards

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Help our Ride of the Valkyries staff pick MVP and other team awards.

While they didn't make the playoffs for the second year in a row, and said goodbye to the only coach they've known in the offseason, Seattle Reign FC players left us with a lot of great memories this season: beautiful goals, triumphant returns from injuries, record-breaking matches, and so much more.

Major Link Soccer: Harry Kane sets the Premier League record for goals.

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Tottenham's striker bagged a hat trick against Southampton.

Seattle

Free rides on Metro for New Year's Eve - Queen Anne & Magnolia News

MLS

Soccer: USMNT prospect Shaq Moore and his time with FC Dallas | SportsDay

With expansion teams going to bigger stadium plans, money, and market size; Pamplin Media Group - Would MLS pick Portland today?

BMO of Horrors

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Or, how the Seattle Sounders made a repeat trip to MLS Cup by being good D&D players and failed in the end.

2017 is a year of sequels. So much of modern culture is references back to what was once great, and emerging in new ways. Whether it is Star Wars, Blade Runner, Logan, or Guardians of the Galaxy, culture finds ways to keep referencing itself.

Major Link Soccer: David Ousted to DC United

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DC is solving their keeper problem with Hammid on his way out.

Happy Boxing Day! If you have the day off, enjoy the soccer. If you don't...well...be creative?

MLS

You've read a lot of Christmas stories but this one is about Atlanta United and Jeff Larentowicz. The Night Before Larentowiczmas - Dirty South Soccer

Saving the Crew is something everyone (except maybe Austin fans) seems to support.

Stars, Soles Split Weekend Twin Bill

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A pair of weekend games saw the Stars pick up third win of the season.

A small quirk on the schedule this year saw two-time Ron Newman Cup finalists Soles de Sonora visit the Accesso ShoWare Center in Kent on back-to-back nights. The Stars knew the 1-9 Soles squad would provide a tough test and the Stars would need to keep forward Franck Tayou in check.

Major Link Soccer: Merry Christmas

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Get warm in front of our yule log as you read soccer news.

Merry Christmas if that's your thing. It is my thing, but I wanted to make certain to share the news of the long weekend with you. There isn't much surrounding Seattle. The rumor mill is dry, so far.

Read some links, talk to each other.

Vote for the 2017 moment of the Year

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A lot happened in 2017, what will you remember years from now?

The Sounder at Heart Annual Awards wrap up with voting for the Moment of the Year in 2017. Past winners, in order from ‘09 to ‘16, are fans meeting the team after winning the Open Cup in DC, Nyassi brace to win the Open Cup repeat, Alonso's dagger to earn Open Cup three-peat, Zakuani returns to MLS play & exchanges jerseys with Mullan, Traore's goal to draw level with Tigres in CCL play, Pappa pickpockets Pinedo to secure Supporters' Shield, the Red Card Wedding and The Save.

A gift guide for each Sounder on your list

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Yes, we've fallen for the cliché...

We like to avoid clichés. But sometimes stories become clichés because they work. This is one of those times.

We assembled a gift guide for every player and first-team coach on the Seattle Sounders (we even included guys who are still free agents).

MLS invites several with Puget Sound ties to Combine

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Seattle University's Alex Roldan and former Academy keeper Paul Christensen are among Combine invitees.

Of the 60 NCAA Division I seniors invited to the MLS Draft Combine, seven of them have Puget Sound ties. Alex Roldan is a Seattle University student-midfielder who played for TSS Rovers (PDL) and OSA FC (NPSL).

Open Flavor Friday: Power Ranking Holiday Movies

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Got an itching to watch a movie this holiday season? We rounded up and voted for our favorite and best movies for the holidays, so you don't have to make any decisions for yourself.

Well friends, the holidays are upon us, and with it, the holiday spirit. I hope you're all getting your fill of latkes and nog and all the wintery delights as you curl up in front of a roaring fire (or at least a video of a yule log).

60 percent of 2017 MLS Re-Entry Draft selections ex-Sounders

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LAFC take Calum Mallace, MNUFC take Tyrone Mears, Galaxy select Servando Carrasco.

What's the worst part about having a successful season in MLS? Getting a lousy spot in the MLS Re-Entry Draft, of course. Okay, so that's not true. Seattle Sounders did not select any players today in Stage 2 of the 2017 MLS Re-Entry Draft (they also passed on a selection in Stage 1), but they did see one member of their 2017 squad, Calum Mallace, picked up by LAFC.

Preki close to joining Sounders coaching staff

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Tacoma Stars legend has one of the more interesting and decorated careers, but this would be his first professional coaching gig in the Puget Sound area.

One of the most decorated players in Puget Sound soccer history could be joining the Seattle Sounders coaching staff, according to someone who usually is very reliable on this sort of story.

Major Link Soccer: Hope Solo one of eight finalists for US Soccer President

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MLS signings and some NWSL news.

Seattle

In the just about 18 months since Brian Schmetzer took over head coaching duties, we have heard him say many things. One of the most common being "he's a tough kid". Now it's time to go out an get a tough kid patch.

MLS

The Colorado Rapids have signed US international Edgar Castillo to a loan deal for the 2018 MLS season.

Saying goodbye to a Seattle soccer institution

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The tale of Seattle's longest running soccer shop and the family behind it, the Schmetzers.

It was a seminal moment in the shared experience of Seattle area soccer history. To the casual observer it would've appeared to be American boys run amok. To Walter Schmetzer, however, it was the inspiration that would launch a business of 43 years and probably thousands of stories.

Nos Audietis, Episode 268: It was fun while it lasted

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Those MLS Cups are better when you win.

That was not how we thought it would end. The Sounders were absolutely dismantled by Toronto FC, losing 2-0. Maybe we got wrapped up in the narrative or we simply started to believe our own hype, but the Sounders were just not up for it and now we have to try to understand what happened.

Vote for the 2017 Sounder at Heart Offensive Player of the Year

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Previous winners are Nico, Oba, EJ, Fredy and Mauro

This award is given by the readers of Sounder at Heart to best attacking player in 2017. Nominations were limited to any player that had at least five goals or assists in all competitions.

Previous winners of the Sounder at Heart Offensive Player of the Year award are Nicolas Lodeiro, Obafemi Martins (twice), Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero (three times) and Mauro Rosales.

Major Link Soccer: MLS is going to Nashville

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Atlanta was a success so now they'll have a more natural rival than Orlando.

Seattle

Former Sounder, Michael Gspurning, is calling it a career and moving to sidelines as a coach. The former keeper retired from Union Berlin and signed on to become a goalkeeping coach for the second division German side.

What we know about the Sounders’ schedule so far

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The first few months could be very busy.

One of the best things about the new CONCACAF Champions League schedule is that it will make sense. No longer will a single tournament be spread out over eight months, and span parts of two separate MLS seasons. Rather, the entire tournament will take place between late February and late April.

Major Link Soccer: Giovanni Savarese officially named Portland Timbers head coach

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CONCACAF Champions League draw, Mia Hamm talks NWSL and another USL team in the future?

Seattle

Roman Torres was named Latino Player of the Year for 2017 by fans.

The Sounders now know who they face in the Round of 16 in the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League. First up will be Santa Tecla FC out of El Salvador.

Seattle Sounders vs. Toronto FC: MLS Cup player ratings

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Biff! Bang! Powww! Whaaamm! Flrbbb! Zammm! Oof!

After a dominant run through the Western Conference playoffs, it would have been great to see the Seattle Sounders play spectacularly and win a second straight MLS Cup. It would have been okay to see the team perform decently and fight for a chance to win.

2018 CONCACAF Champions League draw: Sounders will open against Santa Tecla FC

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Pack your bags for El Salvador

The CONCACAF Champions League draw is complete and the Sounders face off against Santa Tecla FC of El Salvador in the Round of 16. Santa Tecla FC have qualified for the CCL only once before, in 2015-2016, when they placed third in their group, drawing both home matches and losing both away matches.

Sounders will host LAFC in season opener

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LA Times also reporting that Sounders will be LAFC's first MLS opponent at Banc of California Stadium.

For better or worse, the Seattle Sounders are going to play a somewhat significant role in LAFC history. The Sounders will host LAFC in both teams' season-openers — likely on or around March 3 — and also be the opponent in LAFC's home opener on April 29, according the the Los Angeles Times.

Explaining the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League Draw

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Sounders will discover their Round of 16 opponent as well as their potential path to the finals.

A bunch of ping-pong balls will determine the Seattle Sounders' path to the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League final. The draw takes place tonight in Miami at 4 PM Pacific Time and will air live on Univision Deportes (livestream above).

S2 Player Recaps: The Loanees

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A look at the players signed to the First Team who saw time with S2 this season.

Time for part two of this thing. Feel free to check out part one again. This installment of the S2 player recaps will cover the players who were/are on a First team contract who also saw time with S2. There is not a ton more to say so let's get to the players.

Major Link Soccer: Kaka officially retires

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The Brazilian legend calls Orlando City his last playing home; plus more stuff you missed over the weekend

Seattle:

Seventeen coaches across the United States professional leagues and national teams completed the second annual U.S. Soccer Pro Coaching Course, including Bryan Schmetzer.

The Kitsap Pumas have posted their 2018 open tryout dates.

Clint Dempsey put on quite a show at Stu Holden’s charity soccer match

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Dempsey scored a bicycle kick goal and a rabona penalty.

A virtual who's-who of American soccer royalty helped raise about $300,000 for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts during Saturday's Kick In For Houston charity event, but the star of the day appears to have been Clint Dempsey.

By all appearances, Dempsey had the game's best goal as well as the best penalty in the deciding shootout.

Vote for the 2017 Sounder at Heart Defensive Player of the Year

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Previous winners were Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Osvaldo Alonso (four times), Leo Gonzalez, Chad Marshall and Stefan Frei.

This award is given by the readers of Sounder at Heart to best defensive player in 2017. We consider anyone whose primary role is to keep the ball out of their own net a defensive player.

Kick in for Houston, live stream: Start time, TV channel, and how to watch

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Kick In For Houston charity match featuring three Sounders, Landon, Mia, OchoCinco, Lalas, Twellman, a US Soccer Presidential candidate and more

Author's Note: Yes, we are really doing a gamethread for the Kick in for Houston charity event. Welcome to the off season, sometimes we talk about soccer and sometimes we rank fruit.

December Q&A

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I have no party. Ask me questions.

I'm going to do a monthly Q&A/AMA during the offseason. It will fall on a weekend when I don't have plans, which means this weekend in December, because well, it's not the weekend of Christmas.

November's Q&A is here.

Open Flavor Friday

which we're bringing back with funky stuff from all of us at SaH.

Major Link Soccer: LAFC sign Uruguayan Young DP

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Lodeiro says he's good. Also, Mayor Durkan pays up on MLS Cup bet.

Seattle

The staff at the Toronto mayor's office will be snacking on Beechers, Oberto, and Totem Smokehouse after Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan makes good on her MLS Cup wager.

Major League Soccer

LAFC continue to aim high in their signings.

Vote for the 2017 Sounder at Heart Young Player of the Year

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Who will follow in the footsteps of Morris, Roldan, Zakuani and Montero?

This award is given by the readers of Sounder at Heart to the player under the age of 23 who had the best year in 2017. Members of the Seattle Sounders First Team, S2, the Academy, and Academy alums still within the organization (potential HGPs and/or Sounders U23 players) are eligible.

Stars will return home after a rough roadtrip

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Seven weeks in the Tacoma Stars need some inspiration at home

We are one-third of the way thru the Tacoma Stars season. At this point a lot of the Stars media, myself included, would have thought that things would be a tad bit different.

After the two match road trip to Kansas City and Milwaukee, where the Stars lost twice more, we see a team in trouble.

Sounders acquire veteran Costa Rica international in trade with Crew

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Seattle parts with $50,000 in Allocation Money to sign Waylon Francis.

The task of restocking the roster has already begun for the Seattle Sounders, who announced a pair of signings on Thursday. The more high-profile of those signings is defender Waylon Francis, who the Sounders acquired from the Columbus Crew in exchange for $50,000 in Allocation Money.

Cristian Roldan voted 2017 Sounders MVP

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Golden Boot, Defender of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year also announced.

Seattle Sounders FC announced the winners of their 2017 club awards today, showcasing both on-field as well as off-field team leaders. The players and technical staff voted Christian Roldan as the team's Most Valuable Player, and Chad Marshall as Defender of the Year.

Major Link Soccer: US Youth International named to Liga MX best XI

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Jonathan Gonzalez made the best XI at age 18 and could be the next USMNT star.

Seattle

After spending two years in rehabilitation, the man charged with stabbing a professor after a Sounders game in 2013 is being re-charged for the deadly attack.

MLS

The rumors of Obafemi Martins to Vancouver seem to have had cold water thrown on them as the Nigerian signed an extension with Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.

Sounders GM lays out offseason plan

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There's a good chance that the team could sign a TAM-level player soon, but Garth Lagerwey doesn't seem to be in a hurry to sign a new Designated Player.

TUKWILA, Wash. — Perhaps the most notable thing about the list of players whose options the Seattle Sounders exercised on Tuesday was how long it was.

MLS Cup reflections

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Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer asked us to share this letter on his behalf.

Dear Sounder fans,

I salute you on a great season. Your support is critical to the success of the team and I will never stop appreciating the fans in Toronto over the weekend, the season filled with tifos, flags, faces painted green, voices heard and the celebrations winning the Western Conference.

Major Link Soccer: FIFA Club World Cup Action

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Also: 2018 CONCACAF Champions League and MLS offseason news

Seattle

2017 was a long, grueling season for the Sounders and when you make it to the MLS Cup final, the offseason is always short and hectic. But this year, the Sounders have even less time to rest and recharge their batteries because in February they return to the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Champions League (CCL).

Exposing Osvaldo Alonso was calculated risk, Sounders GM says

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Garth Lagerwey indicated he was pleased that Alonso went unselected.

TUKWILA, Wash. — Osvaldo Alonso was not selected in the MLS Expansion Draft on Tuesday, despite being made available. That's exactly what the Seattle Sounders expected would happen, and GM Garth Lagerwey seemed happy to head into 2018 with Alonso still on the roster.

MLS Expansion Draft: Sounders lose Tyler Miller

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The Sounders backup goalkeeper heads to Tinseltown with the first pick of the expansion draft.

The losses keep coming for the Seattle Sounders. The latest may not be the worst, but it hurts nonetheless. LAFC has selected backup goalkeeper Tyler Miller with the first pick of the MLS Expansion Draft on Tuesday.

Major Link Soccer: Darlington Nagbe heading to Atlanta?

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MLS Expansion draft and MLS Cup ratings.

Seattle

We can take one small victory over losing MLS Cup this past weekend. Ratings rose 75% from 2015, the last time ESPN aired the final. So, take that.

MLS

A lot of change is going on with the Portland Timbers. First, it was Caleb Porter and the Timbers parting ways.

2017 MLS Cup Photo Gallery

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The Seattle Sounders' second consecutive trip to Toronto for the MLS Cup final could not have gone more differently than the first. Rather than repeating as champions, the Sounders were outplayed to a degree that was hard to fully understand. The Sounders came in confident but ultimately ended in tears.

Seattle Sounders vs. Toronto FC: Community player ratings form

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Sounders make it to second straight MLS Cup Final, are unable to make it a second straight win.

Well, that happened. The Seattle Sounders made it to a second straight MLS Cup Final, riding an ever-increasing shutout streak, and featuring an attack that was really starting to click. Then, over the course of 90 minutes, Toronto FC made us forget about all of that.

Stefan Frei didn’t hold back on Sounders’ performance in Toronto

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The best player in rave green picked apart his team's poor showing in MLS Cup loss

TORONTO, Ontario — There were very, very few positives to take from the Seattle Sounders' 2-0 loss to Toronto FC at BMO Field on Saturday night. But Stefan Frei's monstrous performance in goal was one of them.

Free standard shipping on Sounder at Heart gear

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Today only, you can save $4.95 on free shipping in the USA

Our apparel partner, Web Community Tees, prints everything on demand. That means you can get the color, cut, size of choice without massive inventory on their end. It also means we can have funky, quirky designs. Finally, it means today is the last day to order and receive the purchase by Christmas without paying for expedited production.

Major Link Soccer: MLS Offseason already in full swing

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Several trades have already gone down, including LAFC's first ever

Seattle

The Sounders Alliance has released additional details on the move to SeatGeek as the club's primary ticket distributor.

Harry Shipp is getting a ring this week, following up a tough Saturday with an expectedly happier one: his wedding.

Ozzie Alonso seems to be venting about the Sounders' Protected List

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He's using a meme to take a shot at the Front Office, maybe.

Sports can be a harsh business. Injuries and time take our players from us, and in American sports expansion drafts add to potential ways to lose players beyond just reirement, trade and purchase. The Seattle Sounders did not protect their 2017 captain.

Sounders expose Osvaldo Alonso to MLS Expansion Draft

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Joevin Jones is only starter from MLS Cup final to be unprotected.

Los Angeles FC will have a couple former captains to choose from the Seattle Sounders in the Dec. 12 Expansion Draft. Free agent Brad Evans being unprotected was expected. Slightly more surprising, but not entirely unexpected as seen in this year's protectinator results, is that Designated Player Osvaldo Alonso is also on Seattle's unprotected list.

Seattle Sounders vs. Toronto FC, MLS Cup: Highlights, stats and quotes

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"The final game is what matters most, and we didn't come to play." -Cristian Roldan

Match Recap

SUMMARY

Seattle Sounders FC 0 - Toronto FC 2

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Venue: BMO Field

Referee: Allen Chapman

Assistants: Adam Wienckowski, Jeremy Hanson

Fourth Official: Kevin Stott

VAR: David Gantar

Attendance: 30,584

Weather: Clear

SCORING SUMMARY

TOR - Jozy Altidore (Sebastian Giovinco) 67'

TOR - Victor Vazquez 90'+4'

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

TOR - Victor Vazquez (caution) 90'+5'

LINEUPS & STATS

Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam, Román Torres, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones (Nouhou 90+1'); Cristian Roldan, Gustav Svensson, Nicolás Lodeiro - captain, Clint Dempsey, Victor Rodriguez (Jordan Morris 71'); Will Bruin

Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Tony Alfaro, Harry Shipp, Lamar Neagle, Jordy Delem

Total shots: 7 (Dempsey, 4)

Shots on goal: 2 (Jones/Dempsey, 1)

Fouls: 9 (Svensson/Lodeiro, 2)

Offside: 1 (Dempsey, 1)

Corner-kicks: 3 (Lodeiro, 3)

Saves: 9 (Frei, 9)

Toronto FC - Alexander Bono; Steven Beitashour, Drew Moor, Chris Mavinga, Justin Morrow; Michael Bradley - captain, Marco Delgado (Benoit Cheyrou 90+3'), Jonathan Osorio (Armando Cooper 85'), Victor Vazquez; Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore (Nick Hagglund 86')

Substitutes not used: Clint Irwin, Nicolas Hasler, Eriq Zavaleta, Tosaint Ricketts

Total shots: 22 (Giovinco, 7)

Shots on goal: 11 (Giovinco, 4)

Fouls: 3 (Beitashour, 2)

Offside: 1 (Morrow, 1)

Corner-kicks: 11 (Vazquez, 9)

Saves: 2 (Bono, 2)

Post-Match Quotes

BRIAN SCHMETZER – HEAD COACH, SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC

It seemed like especially in the first half Toronto was first to everything.

Lessons from MLS Cup: Sounders must start reloading now

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Degree to which Sounders were outplayed needs to be a warning sign.

TORONTO, Ontario — To say the Sounders were overwhelmed in Saturday's MLS Cup final rematch may not quite do the situation justice.

From almost the opening whistle until the bitter end, Toronto FC dominated. The 2-0 scoreline understated the degree to which they were the better team, as only several world-class stops by Stefan Frei kept it from getting completely out of hand.

MLS offseason starts now

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The Sounders are about to lose some players.

Losing MLS Cup sucks. It's about to be worse, because several players will no longer be Sounders by the end of the weekend. By 9 a.m. Sunday the Seattle Sounders will exercise their options and make bona fide offers on the players where those conditions apply.

One stat looms large over Sounders MLS Cup loss

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Seattle were utterly dominated in 1v1 duels, an area in which they've excelled in all season

TORONTO, Ontario — There's no denying that the Sounders were outplayed on Saturday night against Toronto FC in their second consecutive MLS Cup final against the Canadian club. The 2-0 result was fair, and probably a bit generous considering how the Sounders played for most of the match.

Toronto FC vs. Sounders, MLS Cup recap: No repeat

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Despite a world class Stefan Frei performance, Seattle couldn't come up with the goals and are thoroughly outplayed.

TORONTO, Ontario — Well, it was a good run.

Toronto FC, quite possibly adding the final piece they needed to call themselves the "best team in the history of MLS", dominated from end to end to win the franchise's first-ever MLS Cup.

Macklemore’s ‘Ain’t Gonna Die Tonight’ provides fitting soundtrack for MLS Cup

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Choice lines like "History is ours tonight" should get you in the perfect mood to #DefendOurCup.

It's matchday in Toronto! Let's go #DefendOurCup.

@macklemore pic.twitter.com/M8SvLLLxN2

— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) December 9, 2017

Of all the songs the Macklemore songs the Seattle Sounders could use for one more hype video "Ain't Gonna Die Tonight" seems particularly fitting.

Sounders at Toronto FC, MLS Cup Final: Full coverage

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It's a rematch of Seattle's first ever MLS Cup victory. Watch on ESPN, UniMás, TSN, TVAS, or MLS LIVE at 1 PM PT on December 9, 2016.

The 2017 MLS Cup Final is a rematch of the 2016 contest that Seattle Sounders won, but the two teams are different. Toronto FC set the record for points earned by an MLS team with 69.

Sounders vs. Toronto FC MLS Cup Final, live stream: Game time, TV schedule and lineups

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ESPN coverage starts at 1 PM. Watch with us.

A rematch in MLS Cup is a great thing. Toronto FC has the storyline of revenge, merged with the possibility of being the greatest team in MLS history. Only one thing stands in their way. The Seattle Sounders aren't interested in last year. They are unconcerned with history.

It’s cold at BMO Field

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There's even a tiny chance of snow flurries

In what is becoming a recurring pattern, MLS Cup will be cold. The forecast is for low-to-mid-30s during the game, and a 15 percent chance of snow. Seattle Sounders practiced both in Toronto FC's bubble at their facility and at BMO Field itself. Long sleeves, snoods and hoodies were popular.

Why Seattle will win the MLS Cup Final

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The Sounder at Heart writers all gave their predictions for the final — and yes, Cristian Roldan comes up a lot.

By now you already know that Seattle has done some incredible things in their playoff run and broken some records. The Rave Green finally broke their winless streak in Houston and eclipsed the ten hour mark for shutout soccer, so why will they claim their second MLS Cup title in a row?

Scouting Report: Freezing out the Toronto FC offense

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The Reds' powerful offense faces down Seattle's soul-crushing defense. Only one can survive.

Building on yesterday's look into Toronto's defensive structure, tactics, and weaknesses, today we'll dig into their offensive game and what it'll take to stop it.

How Toronto sets up

For a team that led the league in goals, TFC's offensive setup is surprisingly sparse.

MLS Cup 2017: Defend One More (A hype trailer)

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Just in case you needed a little adrenaline boost.

As if you needed a shot of adrenaline before one of the biggest matches in Seattle Sounders history, Likkit is here to provide it. Once again, he's transformed a pulse-quickening trailer (Avengers: Infinity War, in this case) and made it into an even better Sounders hype video.

“It takes a city”

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Latest official hype video features Sounders across generations.

Our history includes legends. They walk with us, talk to us, they are us. America's greatest keeper is one of us. A Congo-London-Akron-Seattle native who pops into local soccer bars unannounced is one of us. A beautiful left foot is one of us.

Christmas comes early: More TAM for everyone

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Garth Lagerwey's off-season shopping budget just got a huge boost.

As first rumored last month, MLS announced today an increase in the amount of Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) that each team has available. Similar to 2017, teams will have $1.2M in TAM available annually for the 2018 and 2019 seasons, funded by the league.

Brand him a Sounder

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He may live in Toronto, but his former NASL Sounder Jack Brand's heart remains in Seattle.

He commenced his career in Toronto, played for Canada's Olympic and national teams, and has made the Great White North's largest city his home. And yet on Saturday, despite never setting foot in CenturyLink Field, Jack Brand will bleed Rave Green.

Cristian Roldan might just be the most valuable player in MLS

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Cristian Roldan isn't the league's best player, but no one gives a team more bang for the buck.

Once upon a time, Bill Simmons came up with the idea of ranking all the players in the NBA by their trade value. Jonah Keri and Dave Cameron extended that idea to MLB. As far as I know, no one has attempted this for MLS.

Clint Dempsey’s stripped down game is perfect for a stage like this

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It's another opportunity for Dempsey to bolster his "big game" credentials.

Clint Dempsey's legacy seems secure, regardless of what happens on Saturday. The discussions about the greatest player in American men's soccer player are unlikely to be swayed either way. The debate about whether or not it was a good move for him to return to MLS will rage on.

Hope Solo enters USSF presidential race

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The former Reign goalkeeper wants Sunil Gulati's job.

In June, Hope Solo was interviewed by Ville Magazine about what the future held for her as she recovered from shoulder surgery. While she did not close the door on playing for a club or the United States, Solo said it had to stand for something bigger than just the luminaries that come with representing your country at the highest level of international competition.

Osvaldo Alonso ruled out of MLS Cup final

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Midfielder has only made one substitute appearance since the end of September.

Osvaldo Alonso has failed his physical and won't be available for Saturday's MLS Cup final, head coach Brian Schmetzer told the media on Thursday.

The news is a bit of a blow, but not entirely surprising. There had been hopes that Alonso would be available after he was able to get through at least one full training session on Nov.

Jozy Altidore leaves no doubt, he’ll play in MLS Cup

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Toronto FC forward is dealing with an injury but says "it doesn't matter."

Jozy Altidore left no doubt about his availability for Saturday's MLS Cup final and gave no room for excuses when asked about the pain level of his ankle injury.

"It doesn't matter," Altidore said succinctly, simply staring at the reporter until another question was asked.

Nos Audietis, Episode 267: Back where we belong

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We don't quite buy the narrative that the Sounders are decided underdogs.

Well, it sure is nice to be here again. The Sounders are back in the MLS Cup final, looking to become the fourth team in MLS history to repeat as champions. They also have a chance to win their seventh MLS trophy, which would be the third most of all time and more than any non-Canadian team since they entered the league.

These guys want to win a first ring with Sounders

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About a third of the team doesn't have rings, and that's part of why the squad is still hungry for more.

TUKWILA, Wash. — About a third of the Seattle Sounders team that made it to MLS Cup 2017 are not repeating their visit; this is their first time making MLS Cup in rave green. Of the group of new players, only Will Bruin has made MLS Cup before.

Scouting Report: How to score goals in Toronto

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Here's all the defensive intensity Seattle will have to face, and how they can handle it.

Since there's a little more at stake this weekend that usual, it seems like a good idea to take a deeper look into what Seattle is facing. Today we'll overview Toronto's defensive system and a couple strategies the Sounders can use to open holes.

The Protectinator: 2018 Edition

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It's that time again. . . again. . again. Pick the protected list you'd like to see from the Sounders for the 2018 expansion draft.

This year, the pilfering grab-arses who want to steal our players reside in the City of Angels, where Bob Bradley is already starting to assemble his inaugural roster.

NFL Hall of Famer Walter Jones is one of us

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Walter Jones is one of us. There's just a few differences between us. He has a Gold Jacket from the NFL Hall of Fame; I have a Golden Scarf. His number adorns the Ring of Honor; I took a picture of that once. He has a Super Bowl ring; I have a replica Seattle Sounders MLS Cup Ring.

Small things really, but we are unified in something significant.

Major Link Soccer: Clint Dempsey feels good about Seattle’s chances

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Helicopters and mic'd up coaches and more info on Laura Harvey moving to Utah

Seattle

We are now just a few days away from the 22nd MLS Cup and second straight featuring Seattle Sounders FC and Toronto FC. MLSsoccer did a position by position breakdown. Apparently, they feel Toronto is the better team.

Legendary Seattle mountaineer back to help finish what we started 9 months ago

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Jim Whittaker reminds us "The Summit Awaits."

Back in March, the Seattle Sounders put out a hype video previewing the season. It was narrated by legendary Seattle mountaineer Jim Whittaker in which he spoke about how reaching the summit only serves to increase your desire to do it again. Any sentient being should get chills watching it.

16 pieces of MLS Cup trivia to impress your watch party

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Seattle isn't the first to enter MLS Cup on a playoff long shutout streak but they have the longest.

Seattle has had one impressive playoff run. After drawing 0-0 in the first leg against Vancouver, the Seattle Sounders scored multiple goals in every game. Not only has the Sounders offense been clicking but the defense has produced not allowed a single goal this postseason, just the third time a team has gotten to MLS cup on a shutout streak.

Sounders at Toronto FC, MLS Cup Final: Three Questions

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Better defenses, better attacks, and two teams trying for history.

Remembering the Seattle Sounders win over Toronto FC in 2016 to take MLS Cup is fun, but it is poor preparation for MLS Cup 2017. Both teams are changed, in some ways obvious and others that only those who follow the teams intently may notice.

Toronto FC letting everyone know last year’s failure is on their minds

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Sounders seem to have the mental edge in this one.

Toronto FC has already amassed an amazing season by any metric. They've collected the most points in MLS history (69), posting a jaw-dropping +37 goal differential along the way. They've secured a spot in CONCACAF Champions League by winning the Canadian Championship, and are now the first double-winner in their country's professional history.

Angels on Parade picks Will Bruin in mock Expansion Draft

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Tough choices left the number two scorer available.

Just days (Dec. 12) after MLS Cup the Seattle Sounders are likely to lose a player in the Expansion Draft. While Los Angeles FC will only boost their roster by taking five players, the Sounders are a deep, great squad. They cannot protect everyone.

Decades of Dominance: The Movement in Seattle

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Or, how children's birthday parties helped build a soccer legacy in the Northwest.

The Movement, now in its second season on MLSsoccer.com, is a video series that explores the growing soccer movement in North America, focusing much of its attention on the sense of community found around supporter groups and passionate fan bases throughout the league.

MLS Cup is better with friends

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Watch with us

Sports are better with friends, and so are MLS Cups. Whether you are going to Toronto, watching at home, listening on the road, or at one of the many watch parties, the pleasure of joining together dreaming of victory amplifies the experience. Sounder at Heart will have two reporters and a photographer at the match.

Major Link Soccer: We’re hungry for everything MLS Cup related

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Also: MLS Expansion Finalists Make Closing Arguments

Seattle

Toronto Coach Greg Vanney felt he needed to clarify his prior remark questioning whether the Sounders were "ready for the intensity of an MLS Cup final." Reportedly "miffed that his previous comments gained such traction" Vanney said they were "probably not well-articulated in the moment.

Clint Dempsey on decision to return to MLS: “I wouldn’t change a thing”

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Dempsey makes it clear he still feels as though there's work left to do, though.

Most Seattle Sounders fans would probably agree that Clint Dempsey's decision to return to MLS worked out pretty well. When healthy and available, he's produced at a solid clip and the team experienced some of its best seasons while he was here.

Reign FC sign Lydia Williams for 2018 season

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The Australian international had three appearances for Seattle last season.

Seattle Reign FC announced today that they have retained the services of Australian international goalkeeper Lydia Williams for the 2018 NWSL season. Williams is currently on loan to Melbourne City FC of the Australian W-League and will return to Seattle at the start of next season.

Sounders getting MLS Cup sendoff Wednesday

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Fans can join the celebration at Starfire Sports in Tukwila.

As they did before last year's trip to the MLS Cup final, the Seattle Sounders are partnering with the city of Tukwila for an official sendoff celebration that will be open to the public.

Starting at 10:30 AM on Wednesday, Dec.

Major Link Soccer: Diego Valeri wins MLS MVP

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The Portland playmaker earned over 50% of the vote.

Seattle

Seattle Center's revamp went through and likely will lead to a NHL team to coming to Key Arena. The renovation of the Key rose from SoDo's ashes.

Two Washington players made the United Soccer Coaches All-America teams.

MLS

Complimenting Portland is not always an easy task but Diego Valeri won MLS MVP hands down and definitely deserved it.

Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo: Player ratings

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Will Bruin mauls former team to help send Sounders to a second MLS Cup Final matchup with Toronto.

What does a perfect Western Conference Final look like? For a Sounders fan, it was Seattle versus Houston, last Thursday night: a shutout, three goals thanks to a dynamic attack, an early curtain call for Dempsey, Morris back, no injuries, etc.

Injury layoff gives Jordan Morris new appreciation for game he loves

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Morris returns from three month absence just in time to help his team try to repeat as champions.

TUKWILA, Wash. — In just about every way, Jordan Morris' rookie season was a dream come true. The Seattle native was starring for the club he grew up rooting for, the one for which his father worked as team doctor, and living in his childhood home.

A Tale of Too Hype

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It was the best of times, it was the time to GET HYPE!

Once again, for the 22nd year in a row, the MLS Cup Final is upon us. Though, in a recent turn of events, this iteration of the finals showcases something never before seen: the Seattle Sounders returning to the final as defending MLS Champions.

Victor Rodriguez may be the key to a Sounders MLS Cup win

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He's only been around since late August, but his impact is evident.

The beauty of this year's Seattle Sounders squad is the depth and danger at virtually every position. The hydra that has become synonymous with the Sounders attack now extends across the midfield — to help the team win and possess the ball — and along the back line, which is riding a 10-hour shutout streak during the MLS playoffs.

How Can Vlatko Andonovski Fix His Goalkeeping Problem?

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Will Haley Kopmeyer be traded?

That question has been turning over in my head since it was announced that former Seattle Reign FC GM and Head Coach Laura Harvey made a trade for Lydia Williams on August 31.

In her brief time with Reign FC, Williams amassed 1 win, 1 draw and 1 loss.

Williams did look more solid at times in net than Kopmeyer did, but comparing one of the top international goalkeepers on the women's side to a 4-year backup who was in her first season of starting full-time might be a bit unfair.

Playing hooky for MLS Cup? Brad Evans has you covered

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He wrote a note you can give your boss/spouse.

Getting to Toronto from Seattle is no easy task, especially on relatively short notice. There's booking a flight, finding a place to sleep and, most likely, getting off from work. The Seattle Sounders want to at least help with that last part.

Just like they did last year, they've prepared a letter that will allow you to fill in your name and formally request the day off.

Major Link Soccer: What if Garth Lagerwey had stayed at Real Salt Lake?

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As the GM solidifies his legacy in Seattle, it's worth wondering what might have happened in Rio Tinto had he stayed in Utah.

Seattle:

Whether you are planning to travel to Toronto or just want to sign the banner that will be held during the match, Emerald City Supporters has your presence at MLS Cup covered.

These Sounders are impossibly easy to love

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And it's not just that they keep winning stuff.

Winning obviously helps, but I'm not sure there's ever been a time when the Seattle Sounders have been easier to love. The players seem to all have great personalities and every public face in the organization seems to get how important it is to feed the bond with fans.

Allen Chapman named MLS Cup Final referee

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The MLS Referee of the Year will be in the center for the MLS Cup re-match.

Allen Chapman, the MLS Referee of the Year, has been announced as the center ref for the MLS Cup Final. Chapman has had most of the playoffs off, only being on the field for the Atlanta United - Columbus Crew match in the knockout round.

MLS Cup is a rematch between two significantly changed teams

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Both Seattle and Toronto are better teams than they were when the Sounders beat the Reds on December 10, 2016

It was a little less than a year ago when Seattle Sounders FC and Toronto FC met in each clubs' first-ever MLS Cup Final. Seattle won that contest, but both teams got better in 2017, and now they meet again.

If one team can ruin Toronto FC’s ‘best-ever’ season, it’s the Sounders

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Sounders exude feeling of confidence going into the MLS Cup final.

SEATTLE — The smell of sprayed champagne permeated the air. It surrounded you, stinging your nostrils and reminding you that a rather wild celebration had just occurred here. The carpet was drenched, the lockers still covered in protective plastic.

Sounders at Toronto FC, MLS Cup Finals: Streaming, news, highlights, analysis

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It's a rematch of Seattle's first ever MLS Cup victory. Watch on ESPN, UniMás, TSN, TVAS, or MLS LIVE at 1 PM PT on December 9, 2016.

The 2017 MLS Cup Final is a rematch of the 2016 contest that Seattle Sounders won, but the two teams are different. Toronto FC set the record for points earned by an MLS team with 69.

Greg Vanney doesn’t know if Sounders are “ready for intensity” of MLS Cup

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Just in case Seattle needed bulletin board material.

Usually when teams approach a key game, like a championship or rivalry match, coaches avoid giving the other team any sort of bulletin board material. They speak in cliches and vague plaudits. Toronto FC coach, and former Sounders broadcaster, Greg Vanney decided to take a different approach.

Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo: Community player ratings form

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Was the dismantling of the Dynamo supposed to be that easy?

The second leg of the Western Conference Finals wasn't supposed to go like this. The Seattle Sounders brought two goals back to the Northwest. It was time to bunker, time to hang on for dear life. Instead, your Sounders fielded an attacking lineup and turned on the style.

Post-win Boom-Boom-Clap will give you chills

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No one does this chant better than Sounders fans.

SEATTLE — One of the most famous cheers in the soccer world has become known as the "Viking Clap." Of course, we know it here by "Boom-Boom-Clap" and have been performing it at CenturyLink Field since at least 2010.

Seattle Sounders fans certainly weren't the first to do it, but for my money we perform it as well as anyone.

Check out the skills on Will Bruin’s assist to Victor Rodriguez

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Side-footed pass in traffic helps open the scoring in Sounders' big win.

SEATTLE — When Will Bruin came to the Seattle Sounders this past offseason, he was mainly known as a physical forward with a reliable scoring touch. He was not someone who was generally known for his finesse or passing.

Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo, Leg Two: Highlights, stats and quotes

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"Houston came out ready to play, but I think my team matched their effort. I think my team matched their enthusiasm for the big moment. We were fortunate to have players of that quality and that caliber to make plays." -Brian Schmetzer

The Seattle Sounders are going back to MLS Cup! What started as a match that looked hard for the Houston Dynamo to win quickly became almost a victory lap for Seattle as the home team tacked on goals throughout a dominant performance to win the West.

Major Link Soccer: MLS Cup rematch edition

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Read the reactions as the Cup teams are set. Also, the rest of MLS is in offseason mode, making roster decisions.

Seattle

ICYMI, the Seattle Sounders defeated the Houston Dynamo by an aggregate score of 5-0 to move on to an MLS Cup rematch in Toronto. (Who knows, maybe you don't watch the games, and just wait to learn the results in the links post!

Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo, live stream: Game time, TV schedule and lineups

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Leg 2 of the Western Conference Finals is on ESPN at 7:30 PM. Watch with us in the stadium, via TV, or online.

Thanks to goals by Gustav Svensson and Will Bruin the Seattle Sounders carry a two-nil away victory to their home match against the Houston Dynamo. With any win, any draw, and any one-goal loss they would advance.

Puget Sound turns rave green

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Landmarks and organizations all around Seattle show their support for Sounders.

Ahead of one of the most important matches in Seattle Sounders history, landmarks all around the area showed their support for the defending MLS Cup champions.

Last night, Seattle set the tone.

Sounders vs. Dynamo, recap: We’re going back

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Sounders put finishing touches on 5-0 aggregate goal win to punch ticket for MLS Cup final.

SEATTLE — The dream of back-to-back MLS Cups is alive and well.

The Seattle Sounders dismantled the Houston Dynamo, winning the second leg 3-0 on Thursday to put the finishing touches on a 5-0 aggregate-goal victory in the Western Conference finals.

Take another chance to appreciate Harry Shipp’s assist

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It. Was. Perfect.

SEATTLE — Harry Shipp's season has not gone how he probably hoped it would. At one point, he went about two-and-a-half months without playing. After May 27, he started twice in a 20-game span. Through it all, head coach Brian Schmetzer repeatedly sung his Shipp's ability to continue working hard in training and help in any way he could.