Toronto FC in disbelief over first goal controversy after losing MLS Cup to Seattle Sounders

SEATTLE — After largely controlling play through the first half but failing to capitalize, Toronto FC conceded the first goal in MLS Cup 2019 to the Seattle Sounders against the run of play.

Once Kelvin Leerdam's deflected strike found the back of the net in the 57th minute, Seattle never looked back and cruised to a 3-1 victory, lifting their second MLS Cup in four years. 

After the goal, several Toronto FC players ran to the referee Allen Chapman pleading about an infringement. The incident in question wasn't clear at first, but they argued the goal should have been called back due to a potential foul by Cristian Roldan on Jonathan Osorio, a play which sprung the Sounders attack that led to the opening goal. 

The goal was upheld, and standing in a somber locker room following defeat, a handful of Toronto FC stars had their say on the incident.  

"It happened two meters from me. I was able to see Roldan obstructed Osorio's run, it was a clear foul for me," Alejandro Pozuelo said through a translator. "The referee didn't call it, there's nothing we can do. It wasn't only that call, it was a lot of things that happened during the game that he didn't call. I was fouled in the first half, but he didn't show the yellow card. I don't like to talk about referees, but we don't know what really happened today. There were a lot of plays he was not calling." 

Below is the play in question:

"I took a touch into a space, I got the jump on Roldan and got in my way," Osorio explained. "It should be a tactical foul, no problem. ... But he doesn't call it. They get the ball and score on that play, on a deflection." 

"After the play, you can only say so much to the ref. He told me I ran into Roldan," Osorio added, pausing as his facial expression revealed disbelief. "When a guy explains the play to you in a whole different way than it happened, what can you do?"

From there, Toronto began chasing the game and Seattle punished them in transition. Victor Rodriguez, the MLS Cup MVP presented by Audi, scored a second in the 76th minute then Raul Ruidiaz added a third in the 90th minute. Jozy Altidore headed in a consolation goal in the 93rd minute.

"Until they scored in the second half, I'm not sure they passed midfield," Michael Bradley said. "That was part of our frustration with the play with Osorio in midfield. Again, up until that point, we'd been on top of things. ... Oso comes away with the ball and, for me, it's a foul. But that's football. These things go both ways. In the moment? Sure, there's frustration on a play that a lot of us on the field thought was a foul that wasn't called, but that's football." 

After falling in the final, Toronto FC may spend the offseason wondering what could have been if that call had gone their way, but they're proud of the year they had. 

"After the first goal, psychologically we were impacted by that," Pozuelo said. "After that, Seattle didn't really do much on their home field and because we were attacking to find that goal, that's when their [other] goals came. Unfortunately, that's the way it ended, but we're happy for the season we had."