10 things we learned about 2016 MLS Cup final featuring Seattle’s win against Toronto

Plenty of credit goes to Seattle for that. Frei came up with an outstanding moment, of course, but Roman Torres and Chad Marshall had superb games defending Altidore in central defense as well, and Alonso – on one leg, apparently – put in a terrific shift in central midfield.

But Toronto, in total control over the 120 minutes, just didn’t come up with enough quality. Sebastian Giovinco was disappointing, while the central midfield around Michael Bradley wasn’t nearly incisive enough.

This will be extraordinarily painful for Toronto – especially so for manager Greg Vanney, who has now lost MLS Cup for the fourth time.

After the way they beat the Impact, playing the final at home with the entire city behind them, Vanney must have felt like it was his team’s year.

It wasn’t to be. But TFC made incredible strides this year. If they stay the course as a club, they’ll be in the winner’s circle soon enough.

4. Waiting for Ricketts

TFC’s best chance – the one that forced the miracle save out of Stefan Frei – was created when Tosaint Ricketts skipped by Roman Torres and set the table for Altidore.

Ricketts had been hot off the bench all postseason long, and his impact upon arrival in this game begs the question why he only got fifteen minutes in a game in which Toronto clearly could have used an injection of pace.

In fact, Ricketts only got on when he did because Giovinco had to be subbed off. In a sense, Greg Vanney managed the game backwards. He began aggressively, starting Jonathan Osorio over Will Johnson, and then became increasingly cautious.

Why both Johnson and Benoit Cheyrou came on with TFC chasing a goal at the end of normal time is hard to understand. Ricketts’ pace was one of the only factors that made Torres and Chad Marshall uncomfortable all night. Toronto could have used him earlier.

5. Bradley’s Wait For Vindication Continues

Michael Bradley was Toronto’s best player in this game. He was omnipresent – excellent defensively on Nicolas Lodiero, tidy on the ball, and crucial to TFC’s territorial dominance.

And had Bradley scored his penalty, he would have ended the night by lifting MLS Cup as a Toronto legend. But Bradley has never been a good penalty taker, and his attempt was, by some margin, the weakest of the night.

It’s been a tough ride for the US captain since the 2014 World Cup. His worth has been questioned time and again, for both club and country. Tonight could have – should have – been redemptive. Instead, that wait for Bradley will have to continue.

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  1. CTBlues December 12, 2016
  2. Steve December 13, 2016

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