MLS Cup final preview capsule
SEATTLE (AP) — A look at Sunday’s MLS Cup final between Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders:
WHERE: CenturyLink Field.
WHEN: 3 p.m. EST.
ATTENDANCE: Game is a sellout, with more than 69,000 expected.
REFEREE: Allen Chapman. He was also in charge of the 2017 final in Toronto.
ALL-TIME MEETINGS: The Sounders have a 9-3-2 edge in the regular-season series (including 5-2-1 in Seattle). The teams have split their two championship games. Seattle won in 2016 in a penalty shootout after a 0-0 tie and Toronto won the 2017 final 2-0. Both were in Toronto.
THIS SEASON: Seattle (16-10-8) finished second in the Western Conference. Toronto (13-10-11) was fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Sounders won 3-2 when the teams met in April in Seattle.
PLAYOFF RUN: Seattle beat No. 7 FC Dallas, No. 3 Real Salt Lake and No. 1 Los Angeles FC to reach the final. Toronto dispatched No. 5 D.C. United, No. 1 New York City FC and No. 2 Atlanta United FC.
FORM: Toronto has won four straight and is undefeated in its last 13 matches, regular season and playoffs (7-0-6). Toronto’s last league loss was a 2-0 defeat Aug. 3 at the New York Red Bulls. Seattle has won five straight and has lost just twice in its last 12 league matches (8-2-2) since mid-August.
HOME/ROAD: Seattle tied for the fourth-best home record during the regular season at .765 (11-2-4). Toronto had the fourth-best away record at .441 (4-6-7).
STILL TO COME: In its two finals appearance Seattle has yet to score a goal.
INJURIES: Toronto striker Jozy Altidore has not played since the Oct. 6 regular-season finale because of a quad strain. Toronto coach Greg Vanney must choose between Laurent Ciman and Omar Gonzalez at center back. Gonzalez was the starter but missed time because of a hamstring issue and Ciman has looked good filling in for him. Seattle has no known injury concerns going into the final.
SOUNDERS TO WATCH: Uruguayan midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro is the playmaker, moving around the field looking to create. Peruvian Raul Ruidiaz is the danger man up front. “He’s really relentless in the way he plays off the ball and it’s really a joy to watch,” Seattle midfielder Cristian Roldan said. Goalkeeper Stefan Frei is the anchor in the back and was the star of Seattle’s 2016 championship win.
TORONTO PLAYERS TO WATCH: Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo figures to play farther forward again in Altidore’s likely continued absence. His movement drags defenders away and opens space for teammates. Goalkeeper Quentin Westberg has come up big this season, making big saves including penalties. Midfielder Nick DeLeon and fullback Richie Laryea have been Toronto’s super-subs in the playoffs.
MILESTONES: Sunday will mark captain Michael Bradley’s 200th game in all competitions for Toronto. Toronto coach Greg Vanney has 99 wins in all competitions. Seattle is expected to post the second-largest attendance for an MLS Cup final, behind last year’s championship match in Atlanta.