This was the first game of the MLS season for both these teams, and they both come in off the back of contrasting Champions League fortunes. Seattle had been knocked out of the competition by Santos Laguna of Mexico, while Toronto had progressed to the semi finals, after beating reigning MLS Champions, LA Galaxy over two legs.
The game started cautiously, with both teams eager to not give away an early goal. There were few chances until the 17th minute, when Seattle found the breakthrough. The goal was scored by David Estrada who managed to keep hold of the ball and almost shuffle across the goal, before powering in a strike with Toronto’s goalkeeper stranded.
After the goal, Seattle were in the ascendency and should have scored again when clean through, only for the strike to fall nicely in to the goalkeepers hands. And almost minutes later, Seattle again found themselves in a favourable position inside the Toronto area, only for Torsten Frings to make a fantastic tackle to take the ball away. The downside for Toronto is that Frings injured himself in the tackle, and was subbed off straight away after.
Next up came Toronto’s best chance of the game. A nice ball into the Seattle penalty area found Toronto’s Ryan Johnson jumping highest to get his head on the ball, only to be denied by the crossbar. After this the tempo of the game slowed with neither team really creating too many chances. It stayed like this until half-time.
The second half saw Toronto make a change, as prolific striker Danny Koevermans came on for Ty Harding. The first real chance of the second half fell to Toronto. A nice play from a free kick saw an opportunity in the area, only for Koevermans to be caught offside.
The next opportunity fell to the Sounders. A brilliantly timed pass, coupled with a perfectly timed run saw Estrada beat the offside trap and find himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper. This time Seattle made no mistake and it was buried to put the home side two up. Moments later Seattle once again had the goal in sight, but a last ditch tackle from Richard Eckersley ensured Seattle had nothing more than a corner.
Toronto reacted to this by throwing on their last sub in the form of the mini Ecuadorian, Juao Plata. Then came the best strike of the night. Almost out of nowhere Johnson ran with the ball to just outside the area and curled the ball into the back of the net to put Toronto back in it.
Just as Toronto were settling back from the goal, Seattle burst down the pitch and a lovely one-two ended up with Estrada finishing, getting both his and Seattle’s third goal of the night.
Once again, the tempo slowed after this, with Seattle doing well to restrict Toronto from getting any shooting opportunities and making some chances of their own as Toronto’s defence looked vulnerable. Late on Toronto’s Milos Kocic was forced in to a fantastic reflex save to keep the score respectable at 3-1.
Toronto head home now needing to regroup and get ready for their first game back at BMO Field on March 24th against San Jose Earthquakes.
Seattle Sounders: Gspurning, Burch, Hurtado, Ianni, Johansson, Fernandez, Alonso, Evans, Rosales, Montero, Estrada.
Goals: Estrada (17, 51, 63)
Toronto FC: Kocic, Eckersley, Aceval, Harding, Emory, Silva, Frings, Dunfield, Avila, Johnson, Soolsma.
Goals: Johnson (62)