After a 0-0 draw in regulation and overtime, Toronto FC lost to the Seattle Sounders 5-4 in penalty kicks in the MLS Cup Final at BMO Field in Toronto. This was the first time a Canadian team competed for the MLS championship. Jim Liston, president of CATZ, is the Director of Sports Science for Toronto FC and was instrumental in making Toronto the fittest team in the MLS.
TORONTO — Throughout the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs, not a single Eastern Conference goalkeeper could keep Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore off the scoresheet.
Seattle Sounders stalwart Stefan Frei – who spent five years with the Reds – stoned Altidore with a spectacular save in extra time during MLS Cup 2016 at BMO Field, keeping the clean sheet and allowing the Sounders to earn their first MLS championship after penalty kicks (5-4).
When Justin Morrow's high rocket caught the crossbar, it put Roman Torres at the spot with a chance to clinch. His upper-middle strike was square, and crushed the hopes of a stadium-record 36,045 fans, who were chasing the same dream, in just a second postseason appearance after eight futile regular-season runs.
A energetic and frenetic, though scoreless, first half featured Toronto FC pushing forward for set pieces, working the Jozy Altidore-to-Sebastian Giovinco give-and-go to pepper seven shots at Frei. Seattle was content to pick their spots on the counter, otherwise prodding laterally without finding enough space to send a single shot on goal.
Toronto created a pair of chances in the second half, fittingly from Giovinco in the opening minutes and then Altidore just before the whistle. Giovinco's shot in the 49th minute appeared to beat the Seattle 'keeper, but found side netting; after the Sounders conceded a corner in the first minute of stoppage time, Altidore's attempt at a diving header was disrupted by an airborne Frei.
Giovinco was subbed off in the 103rd minute due to an apparent injury. His replacement, Canadian product Tosaint Ricketts, struck for a near winner in the 107th – a volley missed inches wide – before chipping a cross toward Altidore, who's high-arcing header hung just long enough for Frei to get a hand on it at full extension and keep the clean sheet.