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Sounders Poised To Win Rare Back-To-Back MLS Cup Titles

Sounders2017WesternConfChamps.jpg
Ted S. Warren
/
AP Photo
Seattle Sounders players huddle with coach Brian Schmetzer before the second leg of the MLS soccer Western Conference final between the Sounders and the Houston Dynamo on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, in Seattle.

The defending champion Seattle Sounders play Toronto FC in Canada tomorrow afternoon in the MLS Cup championship game. It’s a rematch of last year’s title game, where the Sounders won their first-ever MLS Cup.

KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel explains why it would be such a big deal if the Sounders become champions once again.

Not A Fluke

The Sounders won their first-ever MLS Cup last year on a dramatic penalty shootout. Some people said it was a fluke. Thiel said things are different this year.

"This is not going to be a fluke," he said.

"The Sounders have been very dominant in the last part of the season. They've got it together with a lot of changes that actually improved the team rather than diminished it."

Why It's Different

"This year's team has the return of Clint Dempsey. He missed that game a year ago with a heart irregularity that is now, obviously, quite solved."

"He came back as the team's leading scorer and was MLS Comeback Player of the Year."

"They had two guys at the beginning of the season, Will Bruin and Gustav Svensson, who have played big roles in the team."

"They've also advanced a 20-year-old native of Cameroon, Nouhou Tolo, who has been a revelation to a lot of people. A lot of upside."

"But he may be replaced by Roman Torres, who sat out the Western Conference final with a yellow card accumulation."

"So, all those guys are new. And Dempsey really gives this team a depth and a star-level talent that they haven't had before."

Thiel thinks Dempsey will be the difference-maker and that the Sounders will win a second MLS Cup title.

Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Sports With Art Thiel with iTunes or Google Play now. You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and Crosscut.com.

Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between historylink.org and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.
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