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The MLS Cup trophy atop the Space Needle in Seattle this week. (Seattle Sounders FC Photo via Twitter)

It’s a familiar feeling. For the third time in four years, the Seattle Sounders FC and Toronto FC will meet in the MLS Cup to settle the question of soccer supremacy.

But there’s also something familiar about what’s going on off the pitch. The two cities aren’t just competing in professional soccer — the names Seattle and Toronto are consistently showing up on lists identifying the world’s premier technology hubs.

Whether it’s tech talent, job growth, livability or places where Amazon’s HQ2 could have landed, Toronto is a mainstay in the tech-hotspot mix that seems to always include Silicon Valley at the top, followed by Seattle and a host of contenders such as Austin, Washington, D.C., Boston, Vancouver, B.C., and others.

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This summer, The Sun reported on Toronto’s rise to the No. 3 city in North America for tech talent. The largest city in Canada added 80,100 tech jobs over the past five years for a total of 228,500 tech workers in 2018. At No. 2 on that list? Seattle.

But when it comes to pay, all of those Toronto tech workers are making much less than their American counterparts. Another recent report showed Seattle at No. 2 again, this time on Hired’s State of Salaries, which had average pay at $138,000. Toronto is looking good with a 9 percent “paycheck growth rate” from 2017 to 2018 to $100,000 per year. But adjusted to American dollars, tech workers are making $74,000 annually — half what they could make in Silicon Valley.

Seattle has been reshaped by the impact of tech in the past several years, most notably in the South Lake Union neighborhood where Amazon went bonkers and built a little city — 45,000 employees, 11,000 current job openings — as out-of-towners like Google, Facebook and Apple came in and set up sizable engineering outposts.

Toronto is being reshaped by tech, too, or at least that’s the plan, quite literally, for Sidewalk Labs, the Alphabet (Google) initiative whose Sidewalk Toronto vision aims to reimagine a section of the town in the name of better infrastructure, jobs, housing and so on.

The Toronto skyline. (BigStock Photo)

But while Toronto is consistently trailing Seattle on some of the tech-centric lists mentioned above, its list of sports titles is a little more robust.

I grew up across Lake Ontario from Toronto, in Rochester, N.Y., but haven’t been back to the world class city since long before it became a tech hotspot. Just as Toronto has seemingly turned to Google to figure out what it’s going to become, I turned to Google for answers about what Toronto already is — at least as it relates to sports.

RELATED: From new owners to on-field analytics, here’s how technology impacts Seattle Sounders FC

None of these bullet points really translate to anything meaningful in regard to who will win Sunday’s soccer match in Seattle — in two prior MLS Cups, Seattle beat Toronto in 2016 and Toronto beat Seattle in 2017. But it’s safe to say that the same geeky, educated audience that enjoys the Sounders should enjoy learning a little bit about the other sports teams in the city we’re taking on.

  • The Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship in 2019. The Seattle SuperSonics won a title in 1979 and after 41 years in the city, left for Oklahoma City in 2008. That doesn’t sting a bit. We’re perfectly fine about it.
  • The Toronto Blue Jays are Canada’s baseball team (the Montreal Expos moved to Washington, D.C., in 2004 and just won a World Series as the Nationals). The Blue Jays won back-to-back World Series titles in 1992-93. The Seattle Mariners have never reached a World Series and are the last MLB team with that distinction. The team is also in the midst of the longest playoff drought in professional sports. Again, no biggie. We’ll get there, right?
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs have won 13 Stanley Cup titles in the National Hockey League. The last one was in 1967, but the team is still beloved, because … Canada. The puck will drop on pro hockey in Seattle in 2021 when a team-to-be-named-after-fish-or-something begins play and promptly makes the playoffs to embarrass the Mariners.
  • We’re pretty good in not-Canadian football. Toronto has to borrow the nearby Buffalo Bills once in a while to stage NFL games. The Seattle Seahawks, who share a stadium with the Sounders, have won one championship and were thisclose to winning another the following year before something happened that we still can’t watch.

On Friday, Sounders Rave Green fever even eclipsed the customary Seahawks Blue Friday all over Seattle:

And the mayors of the two cities did what mayors do during these sorts of occasions: they placed a bet aimed at humiliating the public official on the losing side of Sunday’s score.

If Toronto FC wins, Mayor Jenny Durkan will:

  • Send three albums from Seattle-area artists, including Brandi Carlile’s “By The Way, I Forgive You”; TacoCat’s “This Place Is A Mess”; and Nirvana’s “Nevermind”
  • Send a basket from Seattle Made
  • Light Seattle City Hall up in red on the following Friday.
  • Wear a Toronto FC scarf for a full day.

If the Sounders prevail, Mayor John Tory will:

  • Send three albums from Toronto-area artists, including Drake’s “Take Care”; The Weeknd’s “Starboy”; Blue Rodeo’s “Lost Together”
  • Send a basket of Toronto-made products.
  • Light the giant Toronto sign in front of City Hall green on the following Friday.
  • Wear a Sounders FC scarf for a full day.

Nearly 70,000 fans are expected at Sunday’s match, which starts at noon.

That’s a lot of “Scarves up!” as they say.

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