Hardly any professional needs additional motivation once their team has reached a cup final, especially one with a league championship on the line like MLS Cup.
That applies to Michael Bradley, his Toronto FC teammates and the Seattle Sounders squad they will face in the 2019 title bout at CenturyLink Field (Sunday, Nov. 10, 3 pm ET | ABC, Univision, TUDN in US; TSN, TVAS in Canada).
But according to reporting by The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal and Paul Tenorio, an intriguing clause in Bradley’s contract provides a compelling subplot ahead of this year’s big game:
Responding to a question about his contract two days before the final, Bradley declined to go into details.
“I have not talked about my contract for 199 games,” he said. “and we’re not going to start now.”
The Matchday Central crew discussed the story in the lead-up to the match:
Bradley, TFC’s captain, midfield general and one of their three Designated Players, is in the final guaranteed year of his contract, which according to MLS Players Association documents pays him $6.5 million annually, the second-largest salary in the league behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
His club holds an option year for 2020. Back in July, however, The Athletic reported that this option automatically kicks in should Toronto win MLS Cup, and at the same salary figure.
It should also be noted that Bradley has steadfastly refused to discuss his own contract situation in order to focus on this postseason run, and that he's long made clear his happiness in and commitment to Toronto.
Nonetheless, now that the prospect of a second MLS Cup title for the Reds has moved dramatically closer to reality, this year’s final contains yet another bit of additional significance for TFC and one of their longest-serving players.
The Extratime crew discuss what it must feel like to be one game away from $6.5 million: