MLS Playoffs: Seattle and Toronto seeking first cups

Seattle Sounders players, including Cristian Roldan (7) and Nelson Haedo Valdez (16) celebrate after they beat FC Dallas 3-0 in an MLS soccer playoff match, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016, in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

With the MLS playoffs underway, the Seattle Sounders and Toronto Football Club are two teams in strong form that will attempt to win the MLS Cup for the first time in their franchises’ respective histories.

Currently, Toronto FC are undefeated in the playoffs with a 3-1 win against the Philadelphia Union, and a 2-0 win against New York City Football Club. Both of these wins came at home at BMO Field.

Goal scoring has been consistent for Toronto FC. So far they average 15 shots per game with an average of six shots on target per game. In the 12 shots that Toronto has taken on target, they have scored five goals.

Despite being out-possessed in both games they have played, Toronto FC has been effective in retrieving the ball when they lose it. This is because Toronto has averaged 70.5 successful duels and 22.5 interceptions.

Toronto had used a 3-5-2 formation in both playoff games. This has allowed them to substitute the two full-backs included in a back-four formation for two wing backs who can help dictate play in the midfield. This has also allowed Toronto FC to stretch the width of the midfield to play on the flanks.

One of the biggest contributors for Toronto FC during this playoff run has been their striker Jozy Altidore. Altidore has not only created six chances in two playoff games played, but has also scored twice and created an assist.  

Toronto FC’s next game is a second game against NYCFC at Yankee Stadium Sunday.

The Seattle Sounders have also had a good run of form in the playoffs, defeating Sporting Kansas City 1-0 and defeating Football Club Dallas 3-0. Both games were at home at CenturyLink Field.

Goal scoring has been consistent from the Sounders as they have averaged 10.5 shots per game with an average of four shots on target per game. The Sounders have scored five goals.

The Sounders have also had a solid defense, as they haven’t conceded any goals in the playoffs so far. This is in part because the Sounders have had a total of 48 recoveries. Goalkeeper Stefan Frei has also played a big role as he currently has 10 saves.

The Sounders have used a 4-2-3-1 formation in both games played. This formation allowed the Sounders to establish versatility in their offense and in their defense as the system uses defensive midfielders to support the back four and attacking midfielders to support the lone striker.

One of the key players for the Sounders has been left back Joevin Jones, who created five chances with three assists to teammates Nelson Valdez and Nicolas Lodeiro. Lodeiro has scored twice in the playoffs.

The Sounders’ next game is against FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium.

While both of these teams have had success in the playoffs this year, neither of them has ever won an MLS Cup. The furthest the Sounders have made it in the playoffs is the conference finals in 2012 and 2014. Toronto FC has only made it to the knockout round twice, including this year.


Isaiah Chisolm is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at isaiah.chisolm@uconn.edu.