Vanessa Kuffner, Staff Writer
Seattle’s own Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris have been nominated for the 2017 Male Player of the Year. Voting closes on Dec. 12 and the winners will be announced throughout the month of December. Dempsey and Morris are also competing against Toronto FC’s Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore for the title, who they will be taking on in a rematch of the 2016 MLS Cup Final game on Dec. 9 at BMO field in Toronto.
Dempsey came back to the U.S. national team after he was gone for seven months with an irregular heartbeat that put him out of commission in August of 2016. During his first game back, Dempsey scored a hat trick to help win the game 6-0 against Honduras in the FIFA World Cup qualifying game. He scored a team-high of 12 goals for the Sounders and was named 2017 MLS comeback player of the year. Dempsey is also a three-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year (2007, ’11, ’12).
Morris had his moment in the spotlight when he scored the 88th-minute game-winner over Jamaica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final game. During his club season he played with an ankle and hamstring injury, but was still one of the best young talents of the U.S. men’s pool. Morris was also nominated for the 2016 Young Male Player of the Year last year, but the award went to Christian Pulisic. After three months, Morris returned from his injury and finished the regular season with three goals and an assist.
On Saturday, Dec. 9, the Sounders played Toronto on Toronto’s home field. The last time these teams played was the 2016 MLS Cup where the Sounders took the victory in an intense match. The match went to a shoot-out when neither team could score in over time. Eventually the game ended 5-4 in the shoot-out when Justin Marrow’s kick for Toronto hit the crossbar of the goal, which gave Roman Torres the opportunity to take the win for Seattle. Torres drilled the shot down the middle past Clint Irwin who had dove to the left. It was an unlikely win for the Sounders, because they set the MLS low in total shots (3) and shots on target (0) according to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl. Early in the game, Toronto had a chance to take the lead when Sebastian Giovinco passed the ball to Jozy Altidore, who barely missed a shot on goal in the second minute of the half. In the 30th minute Toronto had another attempt on goal, but goalkeeper Stefan Frei was able to save it. The second half was similar to the first, with some success on goal but all of the Sounders shots were off target. The game ended at 0-0 and went into overtime, where once again neither team could put the ball in the back of the net. Finally, the two teams went into a penalty kick shoot out where Seattle took the Cup for the win.
With the rematch on Dec. 9 The fans were extremely excited on both sides, the Sounders fans have even created fan hype videos that are posted on the Sounders website for viewing.