Five reasons why the Seattle Sounders will beat Toronto FC in MLS Cup
With Saturday's MLS Cup tilt between the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC now just days away, ESPN FC takes a look at five reasons why Seattle will take home the championship.
1. Lodeiro leads the way
He has only been in Major League Soccer for a few months, but Nicolas Lodeiro has quickly risen to the top as one of the league's best players. The Uruguayan playmaker sets Seattle's table and his inch-perfect crosses into the area will pose problems for the Toronto FC defense. There is no denying the importance of the former Boca Juniors man to his side and the feeling is that he will get the better of Michael Bradley in midfield.
2. Big game Jordan
Whether at the collegiate, international or club level, Jordan Morris has a knack for coming through in the clutch. He scored the winner in the United State's last victory against Mexico, a 2-0 friendly win back in April 2015, and bagged a brace in the final to help lead Stanford to last season's College Cup. And, of course, he came up huge with his winner in the semifinal second leg at the Colorado Rapids. This is a player who thrives in the big moments.
3. The land of Oz
There will be no bigger test for Sounders defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso than neutralizing TFC danger man Sebastian Giovinco. Luckily for Seattle fans, Alonso is one of the best in the league at his position; he'll tackle, deflect or block passes and frustrate opponents to no end. To boot, he's an accurate passer. The Cuban veteran can still cover a lot of ground and assuming his knee is healthy, he can be the guy to finally halt Giovinco.
4. The boys in the back
Chad Marshall and Roman Torres make up one of the most intimidating center back pairings in the league and should enjoy more success than Montreal had in stopping TFC forward Jozy Altidore. Their experience should provide the Sounders with some needed calm in the back. Each player can also be an X factor on set pieces. With Lodeiro capable of serving up a perfect ball on a free kick, a goal via header from Marshall or Torres would be no surprise.
5. Destiny's child
There is just something about this Seattle side that screams destiny. Other Seattle teams have had more talent, but this squad has gotten hot at the right moment and is brimming with confidence. They took down Supporters' Shield winner FC Dallas and then went to Colorado and became the first team all season to beat the Rapids on their home turf. With players who have played in soccer's biggest games (Lodeiro in the Argentine Superclasico vs. River Plate and Nelson Valdez for Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich), the Sounders will be unflappable on Saturday night in Toronto.
Arch Bell is based in Austin, Texas and covers CONCACAF for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @ArchBell .