The soccer news starts with a clear distinction. It doesn’t take much to notice the difference between Toronto vs Seattle on December 9, 2017 and Toronto vs Seattle later tonight at BMO Field. The MLS standings does the job for us. Toronto won their first game of the 2018 season last Friday, shutting out Philadelphia 3-0 at home to move from bottom of the Eastern Conference to 10th-place. Seattle didn’t win at home and a man up against Columbus, drawing 0-0 to remain in last place in the Western Conference.
It also doesn’t take much to point to reasons for both clubs currently struggling in MLS. Toronto put the focus on the Concacaf Champions League. Losing the final doesn’t make that the wrong choice, with plenty of games on the schedule to get back into contention. As it seems like all of us writing about MLS point out at least once a week, this is a forgiving league where any club can make a late push to qualify for the playoffs. Seattle is all of six points out of the playoff picture, 12th in the West due to injuries as much as anything else.
Both clubs enter Wednesday night with problems they can’t address right now. Toronto FC announced that Jozy Altidore will miss 4-6 weeks after surgery to remove bone fragments. Seattle is without Nicolas Lodeiro with an injury and Clint Dempsey due to a choice to rest him. So an MLS Cup rematch angle that has already taken significant hits based on both teams’ form is now without key contributors.
Setting aside what happened at BMO Field last December doesn’t make sense even for two teams struggling right now. Toronto is the defending MLS champion and Seattle is the team they beat in the 2017 MLS Cup. Shifting priorities in Toronto and trying to overcome injuries and absences doesn’t change that enough to set it aside. That both teams need the points is a given. The missing word there is “desparately”. We’re not there yet with either of these teams, a concern not just for them but both conferences should one or both return the form we expected for this season.
The Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker previews Toronto vs Seattle. The Toronto Sun’s Kurtis Larson with Seb Giovinco’s public push for a new contract. The Washington Post’s Steven Goff has DC United potentially interested in Wayne Rooney. The St Paul Pioneer-Press’s Andy Greder looks at LAFC’s Banc of California stadium as the example for Minnesota United.
The Guardian’s Sid Lowe looks at Leganes attempting to stay up in La Liga. Inside World Football’s Paul Nicholson reports that the World Leagues Forum is opposed to FIFA’s plans for revamping the Club World Cup and starting a global nations league due to fixture congestion. MLS and Liga MX are part of the World Leagues Forum.
Breaking: Chicago Cubs owners the Ricketts Family have signed a letter of intent to acquire the controlling stake of the Chicago USL franchise aiming to launch in 2020. Its planned home is a new 20,000-seat stadium on Chicago’s North Side. More to come in @sbjsbd today.
— Ian Thomas (@byIanThomas) May 9, 2018
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