Everyone knows that Toronto FC cut Herculez Gomez unceremoniously late in preseason. Then Herc wanted to go to only one team, it happened to be the team that wanted him, Seattle Sounders FC. That is not the only connection between Seattle and Toronto, though, and some of them are downright odd.
Let’s hit the other TFC-SSFC connections you probably know. Stefan Frei played 99 competitive matches for TFC, and four for their USL Reserve team back in 2013. Even though Frei played for Toronto from ‘09 to ‘13, he already has many more matches with Seattle (113), due to being in good health and the actually making the playoffs thing.
Nathan Sturgis played for both teams, too. That shouldn’t be a surprise. Sturgis played for eight different MLS teams with his two stops in Seattle bracketing Toronto. He also played for LA, RSL (where Garth Lagerwey was his GM, remember this...), Seattle, Toronto (after Vancouver took him in the expansion draft and dealt him on Thanksgiving 2010), Houston, Colorado, Chivas USA, Houston again, and Seattle again.
Chivas USA, remember them? Once upon a time the Sounders loaned Eriq Zavaleta to Chivas USA. At the end of that season Toronto acquired him from Seattle where he joined his uncle, head coach Greg Vanney.
You may not remember Vanney’s more direct connection to the Sounders, but you should. He was the Sounders’ first-ever color commentator of the MLS era, all the way back in 2009 when he worked with Kevin Calabro. KC was great at basketball, but the soccer thing didn’t work out. He was OK at baseball back when he subbed in for Dave Niehaus on rare occasions.
Man, I miss Dave. He sure could call a no-hitter. No, I’m not distracted from soccer right now. Check out the catcher, Scott Bradley. You know his brother and nephew really well. His brother is over at Swansea and his nephew plays for the USMNT and Toronto FC. Michael Bradley is also related to former Sounder Andy Rose by marriage.
Remember when you were told to remember Lagerwey acquiring Sturgis at Real Salt Lake in 2008? That was because when Lagerwey was RSL’s GM, he worked for Bill Manning who was the President of RSL. Manning is now the President at TFC. Lagerwey is the President of Soccer (which is a better title, tbh) for Sounders FC.
Clement Simonin played for the Sounders U23s before the Reds drafted him.
Once upon a time the atmosphere at BMO Field was the best in the league. It was two years before the Sounders joined the league. When expansion became reality, Sounders staff regularly visited Toronto to learn about what worked there and if it could work here.
Turns out, they were onto something.