SAN LUIS OBISPO – Forward Justin Dhillon has the opportunity to become the first former Cal Poly men's soccer player and just the fourth former Big West Conference player to appear in a Major League Soccer Cup final as his Seattle Sounders FC host Toronto FC on Sunday, Nov. 10
Kickoff time from Seattle's CenturyLink Field is scheduled for 12 noon with action televised live on ABC.
Dhillon (above, with MLS Western Conference championship trophy) made 14 appearances and scored six goals for second-tier USL Championship side Tacoma Defiance before being signed by parent club Seattle on June 28. With Tacoma, Dhillon produced a five-match scoring streak from May 12-June 8 and made history on May 18 by scoring just nine seconds into a 1-1 draw with Reno 1868 FC to record the quickest goal in USL Championship history.
A day after signing for Seattle, Dhillon started, played 89 minutes and placed two of four shots on goal during a 1-0 Sounders victory versus Vancouver Whitecaps FC. He also started and played 82 minutes in Seattle's next match, a 3-0 loss at New York City FC.
Dhillon made three further appearances for Seattle to close the regular season. During the 2019 MLS playoffs, Dhillon has been an unused substitute during Seattle's three matches.
A two-time All-Big West honoree at Cal Poly (2013-16), Dhillon ranks eighth in program history with 73 appearances and ninth with 15 goals.
On Sunday, Dhillon can become the first former Big West player to appear in an MLS Cup final since UC Irvine alum Brad Evans (2003-06) captained Seattle Sounders to the 2016 championship. Evans also won the 2008 MLS Cup with Columbus Crew SC alongside former UC Santa Barbara defender Andy Iro (2004-07).
Joining Evans and Iro among the Big West's previous MLS Cup representatives has been former CSUN defender Sean Franklin (2004-07), who lifted the trophy with LA Galaxy in 2011 and 2012 and former UCSB goalkeeper Joe Cannon (1993), who prevailed with San Jose in 2001.
Former UC Davis forward Quincy Amarikwa (2006-08) was an unused substitute for Colorado Rapids during its 2010 MLS Cup championship. Former UC Santa Barbara forward Rob Friend (2001-02) was on the LA Galaxy roster in 2014, but did not play in that season's MLS championship.