For 2017 MLS Cup MVP Jozy Altidore, Toronto is forever "a special place"

Jozy Altidore - MLS Cup 2017 - MLS Cup trophy and cup MVP trophy

TORONTO—When Toronto FC needed him most, Jozy Altidore was clutch. Again.

Altidore scored the goal that TFC needed to break the 2017 MLS Cup deadlock against the Seattle Sounders on Saturday at BMO Field, sending the home fans into rapture at the 67th minute.

The goal

Though Victor Vazquez added a stoppage-time to seal the 2-0 victory, Altidore's strike proved the winner, earning him MLS Cup Most Valuable Player honors and TFC a revenge triumph that culminated in an historic domestic treble.

Upon scoring, Altidore flew around the back of the net and didn't stop until he was face-to-faces with the TFC supporters beyond the right-side corner.

"It means everything"

“These people have been through a lot,” Altidore said. “I’ll never forget the look on their faces when [Seattle’s Roman] Torres scored that last penalty [to clinch in 2016]. They were crying. The feeling was great for all of us, but even moreso for the people who’ve been with the team since Day One.

“For them to stick around like they have, it says a lot about them and how much they love this team. This night is all for them.”

Not that Altidore won't take a night or two for himself, to celebrate the first club championship of his career.

“I don't know where I'm going to wake up tomorrow, we'll see what happens,” Altidore said.

It will be well-earned. After Altidore and fellow USMNT teammate Michael Bradley bore the brunt of responsibility for a World Cup qualifying miss – showered with thunderous boos for most away matches since – and earning a controversial red-card (suspension) in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Altidore scored the clinchers in successive series.

“Wins and losses, comes with being bosses,” Altidore said. “You're going to have ups and downs all the time. That's the life of a professional athlete. I'm just happy that we were able to cap off a special night in front of a special group of fans.”

Toronto unexpectedly opened in a 4-4-2 diamond formation and pressured Seattle from the kick off, but Sounders goalkeeper Stefen Frei ensured it was a nervy contest through the first hour. Making several big saves to keep the first half scoreless, Frei provided flashbacks to 2016's stonewalling.

Altidore acknowledged the continued struggle to finsh made for a frustrating night, and knew that the longer they went without scoring, the higher the pressure would rise. But the goal came, and the attack opened up further still, a fitting end to a deserving victory.

That it came alongside Bradley, who initiated the effort that landed Altidore with the Reds, made it all the more sweeter.

“We were in Tampa playing against Nigeria and he said, ‘Hey, you should come to Toronto,’” Altidore said. “It started off as a joke, but I started to think about it. We started to talk about it, to make it a dream come true; to come here and [make] sure that we won this thing.

“I came here and I didn’t know what to expect. I was going through a lot of stuff off the field. To come to a place where everyone was so helping, it’s incredible. They’ve helped me through so much more than they probably know or understand.

“And when I say it’s a special place, I mean it. If I could go beyond 'family' I would. That’s how I feel about this place, the staff, the fans and every player. They’re incredible. To have a night like this for everybody, it’s surreal.”

Another brick in the building of a culture. One that withstood last season's deflating finale, and aims to endure into 2018.

“We have a team that from the first game of the season was relentless," Altidore said. "We were obsessed with getting back to this game. Obsessed in every way. We've been waiting for this day. There was always only going to be one result.”