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Jozy Altidore’s PK gives Toronto 1-0 win over Sounders

Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei couldn't stop the penalty kick by Toronto's Jozy Altidore. (AP)

AP Sports Writer

SEATTLE (AP) – Jozy Altidore earned and scored on a penalty kick early in the first half, and short-handed Toronto FC beat the Seattle Sounders 1-0 on Saturday in a rematch of last year’s MLS Cup final.

Altidore was the best player on the field even with his side playing minus star Sebastian Giovinco, and starters Victor Vazquez and Eriq Zavaleta. Even though Seattle dominated possession, Altidore and Toronto had the best chances at goal and earned a minor bit of payback for last year’s cup final.

Altidore’s goal came in the 23rd minute after he was chopped down from behind by Seattle defender Roman Torres in the penalty box. Altidore calmly put his shot into the right corner of the net as Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei went the opposite direction.

The loss ended Seattle’s 14-game home unbeaten streak.

Toronto won its fourth straight match, including a dominant midweek victory over Orlando City at home when Giovinco scored twice. Toronto is 2-0 in the Pacific Northwest this season, having already won 2-0 at Vancouver in March.

It was a far different setting than last December, when Seattle beat Toronto on penalty kicks on a frigid night along the banks of Lake Ontario to win the MLS Cup title. But rather than Seattle celebrating its title with another win over Toronto, it was a second straight week of frustration. The Sounders needed three goals in the final 15 minutes to draw with New England at home last week.

Seattle had scoring chances early in the match – even had a goal disallowed in the first 10 minutes – but the offensive skills of Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris, Nicolas Lodeiro and Will Bruin were unable to break down Toronto’s defense. Seattle appeared to score early when Morris flicked a header past Toronto goalkeeper Clint Irwin, but the goal was waived off after Gustav Svensson was flagged for being offside despite not touching the ball as it bounced past Irwin. It appeared to be the correct call as Svensson’s presence froze Irwin and kept him from making the save on the initial header.

Morris was also stuffed by Irwin on a scramble in the box later in the first half, but the Sounders’ chances were limited thereafter.