Toronto FC downplays MLS Cup final rematch but shows it still has a long memory

Toronto FC downplays MLS Cup final rematch

Toronto FC fans may have the date circled on their calendars but the team itself is playing down the revenge factor in Saturday’s MLS Cup final rematch in Seattle.

It was just five months ago that the Sounders defeated Toronto in a penalty shootout at BMO Field after a 0-0 championship game that saw Seattle fail to register a shot on target during regulation or extra time.

“You can’t ever make up for a final in a regular-season game. There’s no way of doing that,” said Toronto coach Greg Vanney.

He offers the company line that Saturday’s game is just another chance to pick up three points. Dig a little deeper and the emotion still seems raw, however.

While politely crediting the Sounders for the Cup win, he acknowledged calling Seattle champion is “a hard thing to say, but it’s a reality. It’s motivation too.”

And he said once his team is ready to take the field Saturday, “there’ll be a little bit of a hunger that you want to try to get one back over this team.”

Defender Eriq Zavaleta also said all the right things, while making it clear that Toronto has not forgotten Dec. 10.

“We obviously still have a bit of a sour taste in our mouths with how the year ended. But we also understand that beating them in Seattle is not going to change anything,” he said. “It’s not going to give us a better taste in our mouths and say, ‘Yeah, we deserved to win on that day last year.’ Because at the end of the day we know that chapter has ended and we’re on to a new one.”

“It’s more of a yearlong revenge tour, if you will, than it is just a one-game thing,” he added. 

Both Cup finalists suffered through slow starts to the season.

Seattle lost its opener and collected just six of 18 available points from its first six games. TFC earned seven points over the same stretch.

Toronto (4-1-4) has since found its stride and won three straight to rise to third place in the Eastern Conference. Seattle (2-2-4) has lost just once in seven outings and stands seventh in the West.

May is a hectic month for TFC, with eight matches. Given Toronto played Wednesday — a 2-1 win over Orlando City — and the club had a long flight to a game on the artificial turf of CenturyLink Field, Vanney said he will “mix it up a little bit” when it comes to his roster.

If so, Victor Vasquez could be a prime candidate to have the weekend off. The Spanish playmaker, who leads the league with six assists, has a history of knee problems and artificial turf is not his friend.

Vanney sees such long trips as “an opportunity to push some guys in different ways.”

“We keep saying we have a deep roster so it’s important that at some point guys will see the field,” he said. “Especially with this short turnaround … and we want to get some fresh guys out there that are really hungry to go get a result against the champion team.” 

The MLS Cup finalists have met at least once during the following season in every year since the league’s second campaign. And usually it does not turn out well for the champions.

The Cup-holders are 5-11-4 in those first rematches between the previous year’s finalists.

Portland’s 2-1 win over Columbus last year marked the first time since 2009 that the champions extended their bragging rights over the Cup runner-up.

After Seattle, Toronto travels to Columbus for an Eastern Conference showdown Wednesday.

 

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

 

 

 

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Kelowna RCMP investigating after woman finds a bullet in her car

The police believe it was an act of negligence

Waters: Can retired Kelowna top cop leave his old badge at the door?

Current and former Kelowna RCMP superintendents using different approaches to tackle downtown crime

Firefighters take to the roof of the Kelowna Yacht Club

Firefighters are supporting the The Bridge Youth & Family Services Society this weekend

Lake Country teen festival draws a crowd of 1,000

Summer FEST was held last weekend at Swalwell Park

Local art brings light to feral cats living in the Okanagan

The Cool Cats Project is a partnership between the Cool Arts Society and the Okanagan Cat Coalition.

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

King claims seniors crown

Vernon Golf & Country Club championship

VIDEO: Life’s a beach at this B.C. sand sculpting contest

More than $50,000 was up for grabs at the annual contest held in Parksville

Cars Cruise-In to Vernon this weekend

Sun Valley Cruise-In Car Show goes this weekend

Popularity of annual swim on steady upswing

A record number of entrants took part in the 70th anniversary of Kelowna’s Across the Lake Swim

Group urges Canada to help Holocaust denier on trial in Germany

They’re concerned about Canada’s apparent unwillingness to come to the aid of Monika Schaefer

RCMP seek person of interest after elderly man left with ‘life altering’ injuries

Burnaby RCMP believe a male teen is a ‘person of interest’ in the case

Schenker stellar for Ogopogos

Capri Insurance Men’s 45+ Soccer League roundup

MGM sues Vegas mass shooting victims, argues it isn’t liable

The company argues it has “no liability of any kind” to survivors or families of slain victims

Most Read