Toronto FC downplays MLS Cup final rematch but shows it still has a long memory

Toronto FC downplays MLS Cup final rematch

Toronto FC fans may have the date circled on their calendars but the team itself is playing down the revenge factor in Saturday’s MLS Cup final rematch in Seattle.

It was just five months ago that the Sounders defeated Toronto in a penalty shootout at BMO Field after a 0-0 championship game that saw Seattle fail to register a shot on target during regulation or extra time.

“You can’t ever make up for a final in a regular-season game. There’s no way of doing that,” said Toronto coach Greg Vanney.

He offers the company line that Saturday’s game is just another chance to pick up three points. Dig a little deeper and the emotion still seems raw, however.

While politely crediting the Sounders for the Cup win, he acknowledged calling Seattle champion is “a hard thing to say, but it’s a reality. It’s motivation too.”

And he said once his team is ready to take the field Saturday, “there’ll be a little bit of a hunger that you want to try to get one back over this team.”

Defender Eriq Zavaleta also said all the right things, while making it clear that Toronto has not forgotten Dec. 10.

“We obviously still have a bit of a sour taste in our mouths with how the year ended. But we also understand that beating them in Seattle is not going to change anything,” he said. “It’s not going to give us a better taste in our mouths and say, ‘Yeah, we deserved to win on that day last year.’ Because at the end of the day we know that chapter has ended and we’re on to a new one.”

“It’s more of a yearlong revenge tour, if you will, than it is just a one-game thing,” he added. 

Both Cup finalists suffered through slow starts to the season.

Seattle lost its opener and collected just six of 18 available points from its first six games. TFC earned seven points over the same stretch.

Toronto (4-1-4) has since found its stride and won three straight to rise to third place in the Eastern Conference. Seattle (2-2-4) has lost just once in seven outings and stands seventh in the West.

May is a hectic month for TFC, with eight matches. Given Toronto played Wednesday — a 2-1 win over Orlando City — and the club had a long flight to a game on the artificial turf of CenturyLink Field, Vanney said he will “mix it up a little bit” when it comes to his roster.

If so, Victor Vasquez could be a prime candidate to have the weekend off. The Spanish playmaker, who leads the league with six assists, has a history of knee problems and artificial turf is not his friend.

Vanney sees such long trips as “an opportunity to push some guys in different ways.”

“We keep saying we have a deep roster so it’s important that at some point guys will see the field,” he said. “Especially with this short turnaround … and we want to get some fresh guys out there that are really hungry to go get a result against the champion team.” 

The MLS Cup finalists have met at least once during the following season in every year since the league’s second campaign. And usually it does not turn out well for the champions.

The Cup-holders are 5-11-4 in those first rematches between the previous year’s finalists.

Portland’s 2-1 win over Columbus last year marked the first time since 2009 that the champions extended their bragging rights over the Cup runner-up.

After Seattle, Toronto travels to Columbus for an Eastern Conference showdown Wednesday.

 

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

 

 

 

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Columbia Basin Trust offering business accelerator program

Trust seeking motivated companies for customized support and mentorship program

Trail military exercises provide crucial training

Exercise Sapper Crucible: ‘The nuts and bolts of what a soldier is’

VIDEO: SPCA ushers in new era with Castlegar facility

$2.69-million project had ribbon cutting on Friday

Thrums, Riondel, and Slocan, revisited

Place Names: Scottish author delighted by Thrums name origin

Last stand for Silver City summer

Fall officially arrives in Trail at 6:54 p.m. on Saturday

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

B.C. nanny charged with sex abuse of 3 children

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

‘I’m no quitter’ on climate change issues, McKenna says at G7 ministers meeting

David Suzuki says if McKenna believes what she’s saying, she too should quit

VIDEO: Inside an eerily empty mall in Canada

Only seven of 517 retail spaces are open for business as the grand opening postponed to next year

B.C. wildfires burned large areas affected by mountain pine beetles: Experts

The mountain pine beetle epidemic affected more than 180,000 square kilometres in B.C.

Tens of thousands without power following tornado in Ottawa region

Hydro Ottawa says more than 170,000 customers were without power early this morning

BALONEY METER: Do Liberal policies mean a typical family is $2,000 richer?

MPs took to Twitter to talk how ‘typical’ Canadian families have more money due to Liberal policies

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Most Read