Seattle Sounders FC will get its shot at an unprecedented fourth consecutive U.S. Open Cup championship.
Seattle fired its way to a fourth straight final with a 4-1 win over Chivas USA on Wednesday before a sellout crowd of 4,500 at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila.
The final hurdle is Sporting Kansas City, a fellow Major League Soccer club that also advanced Wednesday with a 2-0 win at Philadelphia.
The clubs will meet for the 99th Open Cup on Aug. 8 at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. It will be Kansas City’s first appearance in the final since 2004, when the club won its only Open Cup.
“Obviously it will be difficult, being away from home, playing at Kansas City,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “It would have been great playing at home because I think we would have had more than we had last year. I think to set this record of four in a row, I think – who knows? – maybe we’d have sold out (CenturyLink Field) at 60,000. But we’re going to Kansas City. It means the first one we won on the road (at DC United), and we’re going to try to win the fourth one on the road.”
Seattle dominated from the start against Chivas. In addition to the eventual three-goal victory margin, the Sounders outshot the Goats 18-4, and put nine shots on goal to Chivas’ four.
The lead came in the 31st minute, when Osvaldo Alonso threaded a pass to Eddie Johnson just as he sprinted through the Chivas defense.
Johnson then won his one-on-one match with goalkeeper Dan Kennedy from about 20 yards.
“When it means something in a game like this, you’ve got to try to tuck away your chances,” Johnson said. “The team has won it three years in a row, and I sure don’t want to be the reason the team doesn’t win a fourth one. So, I’m going to go out there and play my butt off.”
Seattle doubled its lead early in the second half. The sequence started in the 46th minute, when Fredy Montero was taken down in the penalty area by Chivas defender Rauwshan McKenzie. Alonso nailed the penalty kick, making it 2-0.
Chivas got on the board in the 74th minute, when substitute Cesar Romero rebounded his own shot from in front of the goalmouth and sent it past keeper Bryan Meredith.
However, Seattle responded with a pair of late goals from reserves. The first came from Brad Evans, who subbed on in the 61st minute and scored in the 83rd. The other was from Sammy Ochoa, who came on in the 86th minute and scored in the 88th.
“I wasn’t happy with (the Chivas) goal,” Schmid said. “It’s one of those things where we sort of dozed off a little bit and didn’t clear their ball. We still have to manage the game a little bit better. But it was good to get a goal right away on a good combination between Montero and Evans. And I guess if you figure out minutes played, I guess if I played Ochoa 90 minutes he’d score like 100 goals.”
The victory ran Seattle’s Open Cup winning streak to 18 matches. The Sounders have outscored their opponents by a combined 43-10. They have won their four matches in this season’s tournament by a combined 15-2.
“I’ll take a step back and think about it after Aug. 8 and look at it,” Schmid said. “You look at the history of any league around the world, and you don’t see (many) teams winning four straight FA Cups or Copa del Reys. Teams might win four league championships in a row; but because there (are) so many things that can go wrong on a one-off game, it’s tough to win four in a row.”
The Sounders return to MLS play at 1 p.m. Sunday, visiting the New York Red Bulls.email@example.com 253-597-8808 blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt