It was a little less than a year ago when Seattle Sounders FC and Toronto FC met in each clubs’ first-ever MLS Cup Final. Seattle won that contest, but both teams got better in 2017, and now they meet again. Here’s a list of what’s changed for the Sounders and TFC since Brian Schmetzer’s team won MLS Cup at BMO Field in 2016:
- Seattle had a parade.
- Clint Dempsey came back from heart trouble, won MLS Comeback Player of Year and is the 2017 MLS Cup Playoff leader for goals scored (3).
- Toronto set a record for points in a season with 69 (nice), won the Canadian Championship and the Supporters’ Shield. They tied the Sounders for most wins in an MLS season with 20.
- Sounders brought in Bryan Meredith, Harry Shipp, Will Bruin, Seyi Adekoya, Henry Wingo, Nouhou, Gustav Svensson, Jordy Delem, Zach Mathers, Kelvin Leerdam, Victor Rodriguez, Lamar Neagle and Calum Mallace. Four or five of those players are likely to start on Saturday.
- The Reds added Sergio Camargo, Brandon Aubrey, Chris Mavinga, Victor Vazquez, Raheem Edwards, Jason Hernandez, Oyvind Alseth, Mark Pais, Ben Spencer, and Nicolas Hasler. Two or three of those players are likely to start in the MLS Cup final.
- Joevin Jones was the best attacking fullback since MLS eliminated the run-up shootout with his 11 assists.
- Greg Vanney won Coach of the Year.
- The Sounders won Team Fair Play of 2017.
- Justin Morrow, Victor Vazquez, and Sebastian Giovinco all made MLS Best XI.
- Stefan Frei had 13 shutouts to lead the league and the Sounders are the MLS record holders for consecutive shutout minutes in the playoffs (this goes back to last year and shutting out Colorado in leg two and TFC in MLS Cup) at 647 minutes and counting.
- Sounders wear a gold star on their kits now.
One thing that hasn’t changed? BMO Field still has that empty hole where they will someday place an MLS Cup.