Usually when teams approach a key game, like a championship or rivalry match, coaches avoid giving the other team any sort of bulletin board material. They speak in cliches and vague plaudits. Toronto FC coach, and former Sounders broadcaster, Greg Vanney decided to take a different approach. He questioned if the Seattle Sounders are “ready for the intensity of an MLS Cup final?”
Here is the interview with Vanney https://t.co/DTtIGlgMiX— Kristian Jack (@KristianJack) December 2, 2017
While Vanney is completely correct that Toronto FC struggled in their playoff run, creating intensity despite being overwhelming favorites after their record-setting regular season, the idea that Seattle doesn’t understand intensity ignores a few things.
- The two teams met in the MLS Cup Final just last year. We all know who won, even without registering a shot on goal.
- Sounders are +7 goal differential in the 2017 playoffs and +12 over the Schmetzer era. Vanney’s TFC, despite having a better regular season in both years, is also +12 (thanks a lot, NYCFC ‘16).
- Vanney’s teams are so “intense” that they gave up home goals to the Red Bulls in ‘17, Montreal ‘16, Philadelphia ‘16, and of course, failed in the shootout in ‘16.
- The vaunted TFC attack’s leading goal-scorer is... well, it’s three dudes, with a single goal each. Clint Dempsey has as many goals in the MLS Cup playoffs as the entire TFC roster. Will Bruin has as many as Altidore and Gio combined.
- Seattle just beat the 6th best defense, 5-nil. TFC advanced by edging the 11th best defense, 1-0.
- If only there was a test of mental intensity.
Maybe Vanney isn’t intense enough? His talented, twice as expensive team, doesn’t seem to perform as well in the playoffs.