6. Would the Sounders Have Won With Sigi Schmid In Charge?
If you listen to Sigi Schmid tell this story, he’ll more or less tell you that Seattle’s turnaround was inevitable.
He might not be wrong. Schmid was fired just as Nico Lodiero was signed, just as Roman Torres returned from injury, and just as Jordan Morris started to figure out MLS.
Brian Schmetzer made some sound moves in his time in charge – notably making Christian Roldan a fixture in central midfield – but it’s not inconceivable that the Sounders would have righted the ship with the only MLS coach they’d ever known.
Instead, Schmid was left watching from a suite at BMO Field and quietly congratulating his former players on the field after game. Even in its most glorious moments, this can be a cruel, cruel game.
7. Alan Kelly
There were some frustrations voiced about the performance of referee Alan Kelly in this game, but they were misguided.
Kelly lets games flow. He calls among the fewest fouls in the league, and that’s one of the biggest reasons why he’s generally regarded as MLS’ best official.
Kelly stayed true to form on Saturday night. He would not whistle soft fouls – not even for Giovinco – and he kept a game that could have spiraled out of control early when Nelson Valdez started flying around intact.
It was a poor game. But that wasn’t Kelly’s fault.
8. A Missed Opportunity?
MLS could have used a great game. This might have been the league’s most high-profile game since David Beckham’s debut almost a decade ago: Two marquee clubs in a primetime Saturday night final on a major network.
Instead, Don Garber and company got 120 minutes that frequently bordered on unwatchable. The weather – it was around 20 degrees in Toronto – didn’t help, but it’s fair to say that the occasion got to both teams.
It’s hard to say whether that will have any tangible impact – after all, how many people are converted to MLS fandom after watching a single game? – but the game likely won’t have helped to advance the league’s cause in the United States.
What this postseason did do, however, was galvanize Canada. Between the Montreal-Toronto series and the country hosting the final, the league might have made a serious leap up north.
9. Alonso’s Crowning Glory
The Sounders’ stand-in captain said that he took a total of eight painkilling injections on Saturday night – four before the game and four at halftime – and they were well worth it.