Five reasons why Toronto FC will beat the Seattle Sounders in MLS Cup
With Saturday's MLS Cup tilt between Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders now just days away, ESPN FC takes a look at five reasons why Toronto will take home the championship.
1. Giovinco makes it go
Simply put, Sebastian Giovinco is a difference maker every time he steps on the field -- 17 goals and 15 assists in 28 regular-season games say it all. Rarely does he ever have a bad day and Saturday's tilt should be no different. His low center of gravity will make defending difficult for Seattle center-backs Chad Marshall and Roman Torres, and with zero goals in the two legs versus the Montreal Impact, the former Juventus man is poised for a big-time performance in MLS Cup.
2. Altidore en fuego
Jozy Altidore delivered arguably the finest performance of his career in Toronto's second-leg extra-time victory over the Montreal Impact. A big, physical test awaits against the Sounders' aforementioned center-backs, but the confidence with which the United States international is playing is undeniable. For a player who has been riddled with hamstring and fitness issues, his energy in 120 minutes versus the Impact was impressive. Another outing like that on Saturday and it's hard to see TFC losing the cup.
3. The better bench
While Seattle does have options, Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney has better offensive weapons at his disposal on the bench. Tosaint Ricketts has been terrific this postseason, with two goals and an assist, while Benoit Cheyrou filled Giovinco's shoes with aplomb to tally the series winner versus Montreal. If the two teams are tied entering the final quarter hour, the introduction of Ricketts or Cheyrou could prove decisive for the Reds.
4. A strong spine
In Toronto's 3-5-2, one of the things that stands out immediately is the strength of the team's spine. The five-man midfield is led centrally by Michael Bradley, while the three-man defense boasts Drew Moor at center-back. An MLS Cup winner in 2010, Moor has the calm and experience that Toronto will need in the back while coping with Seattle's dangerous attack. Bradley similarly marshals the Toronto midfield, while Clint Irwin is also a steady hand in goal.
5. Red storm rising
With 36,000 expected to attend MLS Cup, BMO Field will be a cauldron on Saturday night. The rowdy Toronto faithful played a big part in pushing their team past Montreal, and now with the chance to snap a 23-year title drought in all major North American sports, Toronto fans will assuredly be at their loudest. In terms of fan atmosphere, it has the makings to be the most memorable final in MLS Cup history.
Arch Bell is based in Austin, Texas and covers CONCACAF for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @ArchBell .