Mark it down: The Seattle Sounders are your 2019 MLS Cup champions.
They had to work for it in a tightly-contested rematch with Toronto FC – their third championship meeting in four years – but the Sounders took the rubber match 3-1 thanks to a 57th-minute winner from unlikely hero Kelvin Leerdam and beautiful insurance goals from Victor Rodriguez and Raul Ruidiaz. Jozy Altidore added a consolation goal for Toronto in stoppage time.
The opening goal came somewhat against the run of play, as Ruidiaz switched the ball right to an isolated Leerdam, who evaded a challenge before firing in a shot that ricocheted off two TFC defenders and into the net. It was Seattle's first goal in their three MLS Cup appearances, and took the air out of a Toronto team that up until that point had looked more dangerous.
The visiting Reds certainly had the better of a back-and-forth first half, enjoying nearly two-thirds of the ball in the opening 45 and creating a number of dangerous opportunities. The first clear chance of the game came in the 11th minute as a quick take from Jonathan Osorio went straight into Stefan Frei's arms. The Seattle goalkeeper’s best moment came in the 36th minute, though, as he got down well to get a firm left hand to Nicolas Benezet’s low shot.
Seattle weren’t without their own looks in the first half, as Roman Torres put a good chance from a corner kick over the bar in the 21st minute. Ruidiaz then had his team's best chance of the half just before the whistle, sneaking in behind Omar Gonzalez only to see his 1v1 effort well-saved by Quentin Westberg.
The home team was clearly buoyed by Leerdam's goal just before the hour mark, which changed the complexion of the game. Even Altidore's introduction as a substitute in the 68th minute – his first playoff minutes since suffering a hamstring injury – wasn't enough to slow down the Sounders.
The home side was able to ice the game and send most of the 69,724 fans in attendance into party mode when Rodriguez buried an exquisite layoff from Nicolas Lodeiro in the 76th minute, while Ruidiaz added the third with a sublime chip of Westberg in the 90th minute, with Toronto pushing hard for a way back into the game.