Toronto FC 'our own worst enemy' in MLS Cup final - Greg Vanney
SEATTLE -- In an MLS Cup final in which his team controlled the tempo for much of the opening 45 minutes, only to fall 3-1 to the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, Toronto FC manager Greg Vanney called his team "our own worst enemy."
In front of 69,274 fans -- the largest sporting crowd in CenturyLink history -- the Sounders appeared overwhelmed in the first half, unable to string together simple passes, and the Reds enjoyed 65 percent of possession.
"I thought we were fluid, I thought we had generally good organization, I thought [Seattle] didn't have a great answer for some of our movement and some of the ball circulation," Vanney said in his postgame news conference. "We got into a couple good spots to have looks at goals, probably not enough in the grand scheme of things."
But after the interval, there was a noticeable change in the rhythm of the match. Toronto continued to hold the possession advantage, but not only did its threat diminish as the half wore on, the Reds found themselves trailing against the run of play courtesy of Kelvin Leerdam's goal just shy of the hour mark.
"In the second half, I thought we were turning over the ball too much," Vanney said. "I think the ball movement slowed down, too many touches by individual players trying to make something out of nothing instead of letting the ball do the work.
"I thought we were our own worst enemy in terms of ball circulation and the speed in which things were happening, and that allowed them to get back in the game and obviously to punish us with the first goal in transition."
Once the opening goal went in, the momentum quickly deserted Toronto, and the Sounders were able to score twice more in the ensuing 33 minutes, with goals coming from second-half substitute and MLS Cup MVP Victor Rodriguez and Raul Ruidiaz. Vanney made note of his players' ponderous play in the second half, overthinking ball movement in an effort to return to level footing.
"It's a big occasion," he said, "I think players sometimes get it in their heads that they can do a little bit more, they want to impact the game a little bit more."
Sunday marked the third time in four seasons that the two clubs met in Major League Soccer's showpiece final, with Seattle clinching its second title, adding to the 2016 MLS Cup it won at BMO Field in Toronto.