Toronto FC had its chances in the 2016 MLS Cup. The Reds had 7 shots on goal in the game to 0 for the Seattle Sounders. Former Toronto FC goalie Stefan Frei had 7 saves, including what will be described as "the save" in extra time on a Jozy Altidore header.
The difference between the teams became a penalty kick that went off the crossbar. The Seattle Sounders won the 2016 MLS Cup 5-4 on penalty kicks.
Toronto FC scored 17 playoff goals in 5 games — a MLS playoff record — yet scoring last night proved a difficult task. Altidore scored in every playoff game except the MLS Cup. Sebastian Giovinco scored a hat trick in Leg 2 against New York City FC but didn't score a single goal in the rest of the playoffs.
Giovinco came out late in the game, replaced by Tosaint Ricketts. Both teams missed a single kick in the first 5 rounds. Seattle won the game in the 6th round.
The teams managed to be the first MLS Cup participants to go scoreless in 120 minutes. The MLS Cup in 2006, 2009, and 2013 also went to penalty kicks.
Toronto FC penalty kicks
Frei's best save came in the 108th minute. Ricketts drove down and passed the ball to Altidore. All Altidore could get on the header was a soft touch. The shot was almost high enough but Frei deflected the shot.
Altidore led the Reds with 3 shots on goal in regulation; Moor, Cheyrou, Ricketts, and Jonathan Osorio each had a shot on goal.
The 2016 MLS Cup forced Fox to do something the network doesn't like doing: broadcasting the Canadian national anthem. We have slammed Fox every year for refusing to show O Canada during the All-Star Game. Fox hasn't broadcast any Toronto Blue Jays playoff games.
Jennifer Strype did a lovely job in starting out O Canada before letting the crowd sing loud and strong.
We know that different standards are assigned to sports, so the soccer folks have no issue with airing the anthem while the baseball folks are scared to show O Canada. But the baseball folks should know that O Canada can sound good. Maybe the soccer folks have more respect for Canada than the baseball folks.
"It's been 23 years since the city of Toronto last claimed a major sporting title: the Blue Jays winning the World Series." — Rob Stone
Fox Sports 1 on Friday and Fox on Saturday spent the pregames reminded the folks about the drought, but as it applies to a "major" sporting title.
We've heard this argument during the MLB and NBA playoffs that the CFL does not count. Most Torontoians would likely nod in agreement on that statement. Hearing that in the context of MLS in the United States is a bit of a surprise. This was the first MLS Cup on English-language OTA television since 2008. Does MLS count as major?
That fact that both the Toronto Argonauts and Toronto FC play at BMO Field makes for obvious comparisons. Leg 2 of the Eastern Conference final and the MLS Cup outdrew the Grey Cup, though the Argos didn't play in the Grey Cup. The Reds outdrew the Argos in the regular season by a considerable margin. The attendance at the 2016 MLS Cup was an impressive 36,045, slightly better than Leg 2 against the Montréal Impact.
The Toronto Argonauts have won 4 Grey Cups since Joe Carter's walk-off home run in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. Doug Flutie guided the Argos in 1996 and 1997. The team also won the Grey Cups in 2004 and the 100th Grey Cup in 2012 at Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays have been to the playoffs twice, the last 2 years getting to the American League Championship Series. 2016 was only the second year where the Toronto Raptors won a playoff series.
The Maple Leafs have 9 playoff series wins. 6 of those series wins happened in the 3 years where Toronto lost in the conference finals in 1994, 1999, and 2002. The Leafs last playoff series win was in 2004 and have only won 3 playoff games since then.
Things are getting better for Toronto teams, but the drought is a stubborn one. Perhaps Toronto should start appreciating the Argos titles because the CFL team has been the only consistent winner in the city in over a generation.
If you are a casual soccer fan but a huge hockey fan, you had to recoil a bit about having a championship decided by penalty kicks. The Stanley Cup doesn't get decided by penalty kicks.
There was an honour in the way Montréal and Toronto FC played in extra time in Leg 2 where both teams didn't seem to want penalty kicks.
Perhaps MLS could take away a couple of players from each team and make them play sudden death. The teams knew that penalty kicks would decide the championship. Toronto had more chances but none nearly as good as what the Reds had in previous playoff games. The game was incredibly boring as Seattle played to lose as opposed to win.
All this would be just as true if Toronto FC had won the 2016 MLS Cup.
MLS Canadian teams playoffs results
|2016||December 10||Seattle @ Toronto FC||Seattle||0-0 (5-4 PK)|
|2016||November 30||Montréal @ Toronto FC||Toronto FC||5-2 (OT)|
|2016||November 22||Toronto FC @ Montréal||Montréal||3-2|
|2016||November 6||Montréal @ New York Red Bulls||Montréal||2-1|
|2016||November 6||Toronto FC @ NYCFC||Toronto FC||5-0|
|2016||October 30||NYCFC @ Toronto FC||Toronto FC||2-0|
|2016||October 30||New York Red Bulls @ Montréal||Montréal||1-0|
|2016||October 27||Montréal @ D.C. United||Montréal||4-2|
|2016||October 26||Philadelphia @ Toronto FC||Toronto FC||3-1|
|2015||November 8||Portland @ Vancouver||Portland||2-0|
|2015||November 8||Montréal @ Columbus||Columbus||3-1 (OT)|
|2015||November 1||Vancouver @ Portland||Tie||0-0|
|2015||November 1||Columbus @ Montréal||Montréal||2-1|
|2015||October 29||Toronto FC @ Montréal||Montréal||3-0|
|2014||October 29||Vancouver @ Dallas||Dallas||2-1|
|2013||October 31||Montréal @ Houston||Houston||3-0|
|2012||November 1||Vancouver @ LA Galaxy||LA Galaxy||2-1|
photos credit: MLS/Fox