TORONTO – For the second straight year, the weather has become a talking point at MLS Cup.
The forecast doesn’t look promising for Saturday’s rematch between Toronto FC and Seattle Sounders FC at BMO Field (4 pm ET | ESPN and UniMás in USA; TSN and TVAS in Canada). The predicted kickoff temperature of 34 degrees shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but snow is looking increasingly likely to fall during the game.
According to AccuWeather, there’s a 70 percent chance of snow Saturday, with two to four inches of accumulation expected over the course of the day. Any snow sticking would obviously play a huge factor in MLS Cup, but the Sounders aren’t worried about the prospect of breaking out the orange ball.
“More or less, it’s an it is what it is sort of thing,” Seattle forward Will Bruin said on Wednesday night. “It was chilly this past week in Seattle so that kind of gave us a little prep, but you don’t really feel anything once you get warmed up.”
Last year’s MLS Cup was the second coldest in league history, with the temperature at 23 degrees at kickoff. That match was a notably ugly affair, with the Sounders failing to register a single shot on goal in 120 minutes before outlasting Toronto in a shootout.
The field didn’t affect the match, however, with Seattle head coach Brian Schmetzer praising the BMO Field groundskeepers on Tuesday for their work prepping the pitch. The field, which has an underground heating system to melt any snow and prevent the surface from icing over, has been in good shape throughout the playoffs and is expected to play well Saturday.
“The groundskeepers last year did a great job,” Schmetzer said. “I thought the field last year was very good; I’m expecting the same. They had the [CFL playoffs] so they had to do some extra work, but look, it’s cold in Seattle too, so it is what it is.”
Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei agreed that the conditions didn’t affect the final last year, and doesn’t anticipate it playing too much of a role Saturday.
“I mean if the pitch is half frozen and players are half-frozen it doesn’t make it very comfortable for them, so maybe in that aspect it does,” Frei said. “But I think what dictated last year more was just in the very beginning both teams testing each other out and as long as the game progresses and there’s no goal, neither team wants to make the mistake and get scored on in the dying minutes of a game.
“So that could be potentially something that changes the whole game this year. What if there is an early goal, the other team has to open up, it changes the nature of the game and how both teams have to approach it? I think [that will factor] more than the weather and the shape of pitch.”