By the time Altidore headed home Toronto's lone goal of the day, assisted by TFC man of the match Alejandro Pozuelo, the home crowd was already so deep into celebration mode the setback barely registered. They escaped Toronto FC in 2016, winning the first league championship in their history in a penalty shootout after regulation and overtime yielded a scoreless tie.
The hometown Seattle Sounders sent nearly 70,000 of their closest friends home in ecstasy in Sunday's MLS Cup final against Toronto FC, beating the Reds 3-1 in the domestic league's championship match for the second time in four years to hoist the hardware despite being thoroughly outplayed by the visitors for most of the match.
Seattle's offence came mostly on the transition as Toronto held a big edge in possession, 65%-35%.
As good as Toronto FC has been since 2014, Sunday's loss again left Reds fans wondering what could have been. Both Leerdam and Rodriguez's goals were their first of the postseason. Seattle right back Kelvin Leerdam pinged the ball across the box and Toronto defender Morrow stuck out a leg and deflected it into his own net.
The ball ricocheted off the knee of a defender and past Toronto goalkeeper Quentin Westerberg to give the Sounders a lead they never lost. They did ultimately fire off eight shots, and took eight corners to Toronto's two, but only managed to put the ball on goal twice. Ruidiaz added a third in the 90th minute, when he beat Reds defender Chris Mavinga in a foot race down the middle of the field, much to the chagrin of Westberg. It was his fourth of the MLS playoffs. By the time Altidore scored, the game was all but over.
Toronto coach Greg Vanney inserted Omar Gonzalez into the starting 11 after he missed the first three playoff games with a strained hamstring. While their possession was attractive to watch at times, some lovely combination play in central midfield zipping between exhausted Seattle players who were left chasing shadows, in the end, it led to very little. The Sounders started coming on around the 18-minute mark.
At one point, around the 34th minute, Seattle posted four corner kicks, one right after each other.
Toronto's best chance of the period fell to the Frenchman, Nicolas Benezet, whose low shot was saved at full stretch by Stefan Frei against his former club.
It was three in stoppage time when Ruidiaz chased a long ball and steered his effort beyond Westberg. The first 45 minutes ended with the score 0-0. Altidore made his first appearance in the playoffs when he was substituted into the game in the 68th minute for Benezet.