Congrats to the 2016 MLS Cup finalists in Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders. The matchup on December 10th from BMO Field in Toronto is bound to be exciting. For fans, one can only hope it lives it up to the epic two-leg Eastern Conference Final between Toronto and Canadian rivals Montreal Impact. Here’s what we’re looking forward to the most:
A First-Time MLS Cup Champion
The 2016 MLS Cup marks the inaugural appearance in the championship match for both clubs, so we’re guaranteed a first-time champion. With Toronto starting MLS play in 2007 and the Sounders in 2009, both clubs are still relatively new to MLS. While both clubs are going for their first MLS Cup title, they’ve both tasted success in other competitions. The Sounders have won four U.S. Open Cups and a Supporter’s Shield, while Toronto is a five-time Canadian Champion.
USMNT Star Power
With Jozy Altidore teaming up with Michael Bradley for Toronto and Jordan Morris having an outstanding rookie season for Seattle, MLS Cup has plenty U.S. Soccer star power on both sides. Even though he’s been out the second half of the season with an irregular heartbeat, Clint Dempsey is arguably still the face of the Sounders as well. Jozy is in the best form of his life, including scoring in five straight post-season matches, and Morris scored the only goal in Seattle’s second leg at Colorado. With the present and future of the USMNT strike force representing on either side, it will make for a must-watch match for fans of the national team.
BMO Field Atmosphere
Toronto previously hosted the 2010 MLS Cup, back when the league used a neutral site for its title matches. That match saw the Colorado Rapids beat FC Dallas in front of almost 22,000 fans. Since 2012, the highest-seeded team has hosted the MLS Cup, in order to create more of a home field advantage and boost attendance.
Earlier this season, BMO Field finalized a two-year expansion that added an upper deck to one side of the field and a roof across the entire seating area, to raise its capacity to 30,000. The atmosphere in the cold and rain during the second leg of the Eastern Conference Final was electric and we’re expecting an even greater atmosphere for MLS Cup.
With a pair of long-term and major sponsors – BMO for Toronto and Microsoft with Seattle – we’re eager to see how these sponsors leverage this historical moment for both clubs. Earlier this season, BMO extended their stadium naming rights deal for ten years. They’ve also put out a fun series of videos showcasing the relationship between the fans and the team and how they help make each other better together. Microsoft uses their Xbox brand as the primary jersey sponsor of the Sounders and earlier this season leveraged it to highlight the new Gears of War 4 game coming out. Ahead of the holiday season, it will be interesting to see how Microsoft uses this moment in the spotlight.
Header image via MLS