Seattle (Penalty) Kicks Their Way To The Title

The Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer (MLS) captured their first MLS Cup title Saturday with a grueling win over Toronto FC in Toronto.  After Justin Morrow’s penalty kick attempt hit the underside of the crossbar on Toronto’s sixth attempt, Seattle’s Roman Torres booted the cup winner past Toronto goalkeeper Clint Irwin.

Seattle won the title in spite of only registering three shots on goal in the game and in extra-time.  Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei came back to haunt his former team.  Frei kept the Sounders with a tremendous save in extra time on Toronto’s best shot.

The championship game was the latest ever in MLS history.  The cold weather in Toronto did not deter a record capacity crowd of 36,045 at BMO Field although most went home disappointed in the outcome.

The Sounders were near the bottom of the league standings in mid-July but rallied to become the 11th team in league history to win the cup.  Seattle defeated Sporting Kansas City, FC Dallas and Colorado in the playoffs to get to the MLS cup.  They entered the league in 2009 as the third Sounders team to play professional soccer in Seattle.    


I will admit that I am not an avid soccer fan.  I watch it occasionally but I tuned in for the end of this game since it was the championship game.  I watched both teams battle through an exhausting and physical overtime period.  Then I watched it go to penalty kicks which created another level of drama but I felt like it cheapened it some.  I have never liked games going to this method of determining a winner.  I thought about it and came up with a few suggestions to settle ties:

  • Replace penalty kicks with corner kicks.  Teams would get alternating corner kicks until a goal is scored.  After a corner kick, the ball would be in play until the defending team could clear the ball out of the box.  This would still engage the entire team instead of a one-on-one contest with the goalkeeper.
  • If the game is still tied after extra-time, the team with the most shots on goal in the overtime period would be the winner.  This would encourage shots being taken.
  • Even go back to the old North American Soccer League (NASL) shootout.  This method was a much better competition between shooter and goalkeeper.  The offensive player gets the ball at the 35 yard line and five seconds to score.  The goalkeeper does not have to remain on his goal line but can come out to challenge the offensive player.

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