Previous
Real Madrid
CSKA Moscow
5:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Viktoria Plzen
AS Roma
5:55 PM UTC
Game Details
Ajax Amsterdam
Bayern Munich
8:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Benfica
AEK Athens
8:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Manchester City
TSG Hoffenheim
8:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Shakhtar Donetsk
Lyon
8:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Valencia
Manchester United
8:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Young Boys
Juventus
8:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Next
Seattle Sounders FCSeattle Sounders FC
Portland TimbersPortland Timbers
(2) 3
(4) 2
FT-Pens
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 4Portland Timbers wins 4-2 on Penalty Kicks.
Game Details
Portland TimbersPortland Timbers
Seattle Sounders FCSeattle Sounders FC
2
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
 By Matt Pentz

Seattle Sounders just hitting their stride ahead of MLS Cup, says Frei

TORONTO -- When the Seattle Sounders landed in Ontario last December, they were running on fumes. Having expended so much energy just to reach the 2016 MLS Cup final, they were bruised and exhausted ahead of the title game itself.

The squad that arrived at Pearson International on Wednesday evening ahead of this weekend's rematch with Toronto FC is healthier, better rested and in higher spirits, according to goalkeeper Stefan Frei: "We're just now starting to hit our stride."

"Our journey this year to the finals has been a bit more calculated, a bit more of a steady growth throughout the year, not a crazy roller coaster like last year," Frei said, referencing how the 2016 team dug out of a 10-point deficit in late July to qualify for the postseason.

Frei in goal vs Seattle 161210
Stefan Frei's heroics led the Seattle Sounders to an MLS Cup win in 2016.

"When we finally were able to string some results together, we needed to maximize that streak just to make it to the playoffs. You try to draw [hot streaks] out as long as possible, but they can grow stale a little bit. ... We were starting to struggle a little bit toward the end. Thankfully, we were able do it with the last game."

Seattle edged Toronto on penalty kicks in last year's championship game despite not managing a single shot on target over 120 minutes of game action.

"This year, we're just now starting to hit our stride," Frei said. "Our last two games, three games, we've been very clinical offensively and defensively. I think that bodes well. Our journey to this point has been a bit more professional, a bit more calculated and a bit more of a steady growth, which I think you prefer as an athlete. It helps the nerves, for sure."

The Sounders routed Houston 5-0 on aggregate in the Western Conference finals in order to set up the rematch with TFC.

Matt Pentz is a Seattle-based soccer reporter covering primarily the Sounders, Timbers and Whitecaps. Follow him on Twitter @mattpentz.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.