Seattle Sounders FC needed extra time Tuesday before emerging with a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union for an MLS-record-tying fourth U.S. Open Cup championship.
A second-half goal by Chad Barrett erased an early Philadelphia lead before designated players Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins created the winning margin in the extra 30 minutes.
It was the third extra-time match in Seattle’s five-game match to the championship.
“I think it is credit to what we did in the offseason,” Seattle captain Brad Evans said. “To be able to bring in guys like Chad Barrett and Kenny Cooper, and to bring him and (Marco) Pappa on, it’s big pieces to the puzzle. Tonight we were fortunate to bring Oba off the bench and being able to wear a team down. When he plays with Clint, it provides something that I don’t think any other team has other than maybe when (Los Angeles’ Landon) Donovan and (Robbie) Keane are playing at their best — maybe then. Otherwise, probably the best combo in MLS.”
The Sounders’ fourth trophy moved them even with the Chicago Fire for the most Open Cups among Major League Soccer teams. (The overall record in the 101-year-old tournament is five championships by Maccabi Los Angeles and Bethlehem Steel.)
Along with the trophy, the Sounders also earned a $250,000 prize and a place in the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League.
All of that seemed a hard climb away in the 38th minute Tuesday when the Union jumped ahead before its home crowd at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania.
The play began with a free kick from Cristian Maidana that Maurice Edu head in from 5 yards.
Barrett drew the Sounders even in the 47th minute with a header of his own, this one coming after a corner kick that was knocked around the penalty area, but never cleared.
Regulation played out scorelessly from there, although both teams had good chances.
Dempsey notched what would prove to be the winning goal in the 101st minute, completing a give-and-go with Martins and beating Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath from 7 yards.
Martins added an insurance goal 13 minutes later, making a long run to the corner of the area before slipping the ball past defender Raymon Gaddis and MacMath.
“Obviously, Clint and Martins would pull off a play, and eventually they did,” Union acting manager Jim Curtin said. “Seattle is a great team. Seattle is the best team in our league. I thought we went toe to toe with them. We could’ve got a win there, but I was proud of our group.”
Seattle’s road to the championship began with a 5-0 win over amateur team PSA Elite and continued with wins over San Jose by penalty kicks, Portland in extra time, then a 6-0 thrashing of Chicago in the semifinal.
Over their five games, the Sounders used 23 players, and 10 of them scored.
None scored more than forward Kenny Cooper, who didn’t play Tuesday but still ended as the leading scorer of the tournament with six goals.
The Open Cup marks the first trophy of Dempsey’s club career.
The Union trophy case remains empty.
“Maybe a few too many mental errors,” said Philadelphia forward Sebastien Le Toux, who was part of the Sounders’ 2009 Cup championship. “We kind of pushed the ball forward toward the end, but unfortunately we didn’t. And we didn’t play well in extra time and that’s the difference. Congratulations to them. But it’s very disappointing for us.”
Seattle returns to league play at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the New York Red Bulls.