TORONTO – Justin Morrow has no time for labels.
Heading into the 2019 MLS Cup Final, where Toronto FC and Seattle Sounders will meet for the third time in the last four years Nov. 10 (3 pm ET | ABC, Univision, TSN, TUDN, TVAS), the veteran defender cares not who has been anointed as ‘favorites’.
“It’s not something that I’ve really thought about,” Morrow said after training Saturday. “Having so much history with them, I know it’s going to be a tough match.”
The sides split the previous MLS Cup encounters with Seattle winning 2016 on penalty kicks after 120 minutes of scoreless action and Toronto getting revenge the next year with an emphatic 2-0 victory.
While those were both played at BMO Field in Toronto, this rubber match is set for CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
“I would have liked it to be at home again,” admitted Jonathan Osorio. “But to play over there it’s going to be something different, a new experience. It’s going to be exciting: over 60,000 fans in a very nice stadium. We’re all looking forward to it.”
Those comforts of home swing in the Sounders favor this time around.
“It definitely does [play a role],” said Morrow. “They have a massive home field advantage playing where they do, that shows in their record, it’s a tough place to play.”
Seattle’s 11-2-4 record at CenturyLink was among the best in the league, but neither home field, nor being ‘favorites’ in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs has counted for much.
The Sounders knocked out LAFC, the top seed in the West and Supporters’ Shield champions, in Los Angeles in the Conference Final and TFC beat both top ranked opponents in the East – No. 1 NYCFC and No. 2 Atlanta United FC – en route to the MLS Cup Final.
Home or away, on grass or on turf, rain or shine, warm or positively chilly, it’s a cup final.
“It doesn’t matter at this point,” dismissed Nick DeLeon of another match on a synthetic surface. “One-off game in MLS Cup, I don’t care where we play. Honestly, I’m just looking forward to the opportunity.”
All those factors fade out once the whistle blows.
“It’s far gone, you’re not thinking about it, you’re so in the moment,” added DeLeon, who scored the late screamer to lift TFC past Atlanta. “It’s MLS Cup, that’s enough to get excited about.”
The stadium will be packed and rocking with a sell-out announced just hours after the tickets went on public sale.
“It shows the strength of the league,” said Morrow. “Particularly Seattle’s fanbase is very good. They’re going to make it a tough place to play, but it’s exciting for us, playing in front of that many people as well.”
DeLeon added: “That’s pretty special. Probably going to be some expensive tickets out there. Definitely, it’s building, building towards Sunday.”