Plus: My three favorite, random scenes from the post-match locker room celebration following Seattle's first MLS Cup triumph.

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TORONTO — Alan Hinton was crestfallen that he wouldn’t be able to make the trip.

Hinton was standing in his usual spot at Sounders practice early last week at Starfire, off the near sideline in the corner, watching his former player Brian Schmetzer coach up his charges.

No, Hinton didn’t think he was going to make it Toronto, he said, voice cracking. He is in remission now, but the four-year war with bladder cancer has taken its toll. At 74, having to take multiple connecting flights and sit out in the freezing cold on game day were just too big of risks.

Yet on Sunday night inside the visiting locker room at BMO Field, in the aftermath of Seattle’s MLS Cup triumph on penalty kicks, Hinton was amidst the wild celebrations. The giddy, white-haired Englishman grinned from ear to ear.

“I’m so happy I did come,” Hinton said, his eyes watering with a happier emotion. “I’m so happy that I’m here.”

Hinton came to Seattle in 1980 to coach the original, NASL Sounders. Schmetzer was one of his first signings. Hinton had led the team to its last appearance in a top-flight title game, the loss to the New York Cosmos in Soccer Bowl ’82.

He found a home in the Puget Sound. Barring a single season spent coaching the Vancouver Whitecaps in 1984, Hinton has never left.

There was acrimony between he and his beloved club when he was pushed out of the Sounders’ broadcast booth prior to the 2014 season. After the past few days, Hinton says, bygones are officially bygones.

“The Sounders really pushed out the boat,” he said, reserving him a seat on one of their direct, staff charter flights; setting him up in a downtown Toronto hotel; even getting him a spot in the packed-to-the-gills indoor press box on Saturday night at BMO.

The night before the game, at a party for traveling supporters at the oh-so-Canadian Loose Moose tavern downtown, Hinton was in his element. He led the fans in a group sing-along, held court at a table overlooking all the action.

At one point, his former protégé Schmetzer walked in with the rest of his coaching staff to a standing ovation.

“I was in tears, really,” Hinton said. “It brought back all of the emotions of 1982.

“I love big-time happenings, and I’ve been here for almost 40 years. It’s just a marvelous moment for me.”

– Osvaldo Alonso says he took eight painkilling injections in his sprained left knee on Saturday – four before kickoff and four more at halftime. Schmetzer was exaggerating when he said last week Alonso would “cut off his right arm so that his left knee could play,” but apparently not by much.

For a visual in what it meant to Alonso to be able to play in MLS Cup, this photo by our own Lindsay Wasson of the Cuban and Joevin Jones not even able to look at Roman Torres’ winning penalty kick is illustrative:

– Nelson Valdez was substituted out in the 73rd minute with what the team called lower-body cramping and what he defined more colorfully after the match. 

“I now have pain everywhere,” Valdez said.

Few players left more on BMO’s field than Valdez, who after a scoreless regular season ended up tallying two goals and an assist in six postseason appearances. Back in June, with his contract up at the end of this year, the 33-year-old Paraguayan said he only wanted to show Sounders fans what he was really made of before he left.

Does he feel like he accomplished that mission?

“Not yet,” Valdez said.

So does he expect to be back in Seattle next season, in that case?

“I don’t know. You’ll have to ask the other guy,” Valdez said, with a gesture toward Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey over in the corner. “I’m happy here. I can’t say more, but you never know.

“I’m happy (that I) showed my quality in the most important time for Seattle. I’m very happy and very proud.”

– Below are my three favorite, random scenes from the post-match locker room celebration, in no particular order.

The players chanting “dou-ble, bon-us-es” — clap, clap, clapclapclap – when majority owner Adrian Hanauer took his turn drinking out of the Cup; Herculez Gomez, who has now won a few of these, bragging about not needing goggles to shield himself from the bursts of celebratory booze; Jordan Morris and Chad Marshall both noting that Heineken stings when it sprays onto brush-burned knees and elbows, a revelation precious few are ever fortunate enough to make.