Seat­tle wins Cup on penalty kicks

SOUNDERS 5, TORONTO FC 4

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Paul At­tfield

toronto» Ro­man Tor­res scored in the sixth round of penalty kicks to give the Seat­tle Sounders their first MLS Cup ti­tle, 5-4, over Toronto FC af­ter 120 score­less min­utes Satur­day night.

It was the first MLS Cup fi­nal to fail to pro­duce a goal in reg­u­la­tion, set­ting the stage for a dra­matic tiebreaker.

While Toronto’s Michael Bradley and Al­varo Fer­nan­dez for Seat­tle had both seen their shots saved, the game went to sud­den-death spot kicks. Toronto’s Justin Mor­row could only clat­ter his shot off the cross­bar, set­ting the stage for Tor­res to win it with a high shot down the mid­dle of the goal.

Former Toronto FC goal­keeper Ste­fan Frei was named the game’s most valu­able player.

Seat­tle be­came the first team in MLS Cup fi­nal his­tory to fail to pro­duce a shot on tar­get through­out the game. Ad­di­tion­ally, the Sounders’ three shots over­all were the fewest in an MLS ti­tle game, the first to fea­ture two ex­pan­sion fran­chises. Toronto was the first Cana­dian MLS Cup fi­nal­ist.

Af­ter a fairly sub­dued 90 min­utes of reg­u­la­tion, ex­tra time pro­duced a num­ber of op­por­tu­ni­ties, but even with Toronto en­joy­ing a 7-0 shot ad­van­tage in the 30minute pe­riod, no break­through could be found.

Seat­tle’s lone chance to score in ex­tra time came from a de­fen­sive er­ror. Toronto’s Steven Beitashour saw Brad Evans’ cross de­flect goal­ward off his leg in the 112th minute, but Clint Ir­win bravely dove on the ball to take it away from Tor­res.

Toronto coach Greg Van­ney re­moved former MLS most valu­able player Se­bas­tian Giovinco in the 103rd minute in fa­vor of To­saint Rick­etts. The gutsy call al­most paid off.

Fol­low­ing Rick­etts’ cross five min­utes af­ter com­ing on, it looked as if Alti­dore was go­ing to give Toronto the lead in the 108th minute with a loop­ing header, but an ath­letic save from Frei kept it score­less.

Leap­ing to his left, he scooped the ball off the line with his left hand, al­low­ing his de­fense to clear the ball to safety.

Seat­tle de­fender Ro­man Tor­res, right, cel­e­brates the win­ning goal he made in the sud­den-death round of penalty kicks in the MLS Cup soc­cer fi­nal against Toronto on Satur­day night. Frank Gunn, The Cana­dian Press

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