The Sounders advance to the title game with a 3-1 win over Chivas USA -- which had called the match the most important in their club's history.
It was a hard-fought and physical game through the final minutes, and wasn't settled until Nate Jaqua scored his second goal of the night and fifth of the tournament, heading in a cross from Roger Levesque.
The Sounders will try to defend their U.S. Open Cup title against Columbus on Oct. 5 at Qwest Field.
But first, some of their reaction to the semifinal win:
SIGI SCHMIDOverview: Obviously we weren’t happy with the goal that we gave up because we always try to be perfectionists and so forth, but I thought our ball movement at times was good, Zakuani was sharp today, he got the better of Trujillo on the outside, so that was important. It’s a field that lends itself to speed of play getting faster, and I think we took advantage of that.
On Zakuani: I think he got a lot of respect. Once he got them early and set up that first goal, after that I think Trujillobacked up and for sure in the second half they got people over … to double and triple him.
On Jaqua's two point-blank goals: Well, they all count, whether they’re 6 yards away or they’re 25 yards away. He made some good runs today. We talked about it before the game, I said, ‘Hey, you’re the leading scorer in the Open Cup, you want to stay there.’ And obviously he tried to stay there – or stayed there – with the two goals tonight. A lot of the work for his goals – great service by Roger, great service by Steven. We were unlucky a couple of other times … but I’m very happy for Nate.
STEVE ZAKUANI"Now we can look forward to the final at Qwest Field. I think that was kind of the carrot at the end of the stick. So, we went out there, got the early goal. We got the second one. They came back, but we managed to close it off. So now is a good time to win."
On Chivas' rough play: People get frustrated and kick you. I’ve had that a long time my whole career. It’s something you get used to. It means I’m doing my job, so if I get that every game I’ll be happy.
On the first goal: Ozzie has good understanding. He found me. I think I actually took a heavy touch and went wide, but then I managed to turn the defender. Nate was in the right spot, I found him, and he finished. It’s one of those that we probably do a lot on the training ground, and it’s good to see it come off in a game.On how long he's had that move: Maybe since I was 7. It’s just something you improvise on the field. I try to be creative. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but when it works I’ll take it.
On Jaqua: He’s one of those guys. He’s always going to be in the box. He makes the honest runs. You saw today he got two goals just by being in the box, and he’s got five goals in the Open Cup, so it’s no surprise. It’s good to see him back. He had a tough injury, but he’s back scoring goals and if it helps us win that’s great.
FREDY MONTERO (via translator)Overview: We're very happy. We came as a host and played as a champion and the title we won last year will help us to play in this final. Now it's a matter of playing in this final.
On Zakuani: "All the credit for both goals, Jaqua's and mine, go to him. A player that is coming from injury and he can still give a lot more. Credit to him. It's always good to have a player like that."
On the team's rhythm: "Excellent. The forwards are converting opportunities. The midfielders are arming the play. The defenders are defending. Whoever's coming in and out is performing well."
On his form: "Twelve goals plus a few assists. That doesn't stop here. That's the beginning of what Fredy Montero can do and offer, and the team can still offer a lot on the pitch."
NATE JAQUAOverview: Great win for us tonight. A chance to play a final at Qwest stadium in front of our fans is an unbelievable opportunity. A great, hard-fought win by the guys. It was fun.
On the final goal: It was one where maybe Roger should've taken to the corner, I thought he was going to. But I saw him kind of look up and made the run in, just happy I didn't get crushed by Zach.
On the goals: The first goal was Zakuani's. He made a great run and he had one right before that and I cut back and tried to get him to cut one back to me and I think we played it across and I'm like, 'All right, I'll cut back in that way the next time.' He was able to find me and great ball, great run by him. On the last one Roger put one in and it was nice to finish the game off.
On his health: "I feel all right. Good. Knocked up. I need to get in the cold tub, but I feel good. It's was nice just to be on the field, get a start and play the whole game."
On scoring early: I think it was big. After the second one we started to let down after that. We thought the game was over. I was a little upset with that we started to kind of let them have the game and then they scored a good goal and got a little bit scared there. Fortuantely the team rallied around, got back to playing solid and kept the ball a little and held them off."
Scoring Summary: SEA -- Nate Jaqua (Steve Zakuani) 10SEA -- Fredy Montero (Steve Zakuani) 58CHV -- Jesus Padilla (Justin Braun) 68SEA -- Nate Jaqua (Roger Levesque) 92+
Chivas USA -- Zach Thornton, Michael Umana, Mariano Trujillo, Ante Jazic, Dario Delgado, Marcelo Saragosa (Jesus Padilla 54), Paulo Nagamura, Rodolfo Espinoza, Jonathan Bornstein (Michael Lahoud 46), Justin Braun, Giancarlo Maldonado (Sal Zizzo 63).
Substitutes Not Used: Carlos Borja, Yamith Cuesta, Ben Zemanski, Kevin Guppy.
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Jesus Padilla 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Jesus Padilla 2); FOULS: 13 (Paulo Nagamura 3); OFFSIDES: 3 (Justin Braun 2); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Rodolfo Espinoza 7); SAVES: 6 (Zach Thornton 6)
Seattle Sounders FC -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Tyrone Marshall, Taylor Graham, Leo Gonzalez, Alvaro Fernandez (Roger Levesque 83), Osvaldo Alonso, Nathan Sturgis (Mike Seamon 66), Steve Zakuani (Jeff Parke 90), Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua.
Substitutes Not Used: David Estrada, Michael Fucito, Zach Scott, Terry Boss.
TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Steve Zakuani 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Steve Zakuani 3); FOULS: 9 (3 tied with 2); OFFSIDES: 1 (Fredy Montero 1); CORNER KICKS: 10 (Osvaldo Alonso 7); SAVES: 5 (Kasey Keller 5)
CHV -- Paulo Nagamura (caution; Reckless Tackle) 51
SEA -- Osvaldo Alonso (caution; Reckless Tackle) 79
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: -Colin Arblaster; Mike Kampmeinert
4th Official: Josh Wilkens
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-67-degrees
82nd minute: Levesque in for Fernandez.
10 minutes left: Getting rough. Including, ironically enough, Thornton complaining about getting hit by Montero.
68th minute: Chivas sub Jesus Padilla beat the Sounders defense to a ball in the area and blasted it past Kasey Keller to slice the Sounders lead in half, 2-1. Assist to Braun, who headed it in.
66th minute: Sounders sub Seamon for Sturgis.
59th minute: Sounders go up 2-0 on another fine assist by Zakuani. This time he carried down the left side, lost a double-team with a sweep juke to the middle, then continued his run before rolling the ball across to Montero, who ran on and finished, giving Thornton no chance.
Halftime: Sounders take 1-0 lead into locker room.... with Alonso and Nagamura chattering at each other along the way.
Sounders took 10 shots and put four on goal; Chivas two shots, one on goal.
44th minute: Riley simply outhustles his way through the Chivas defense -- which isn't playing like this is the biggest game in club history -- but Thornton settled the issue with a nice punch save.
Through 30 minutes: Ole, ole, ole ... these guys are playing about as fast, joyful and frisky soccer as I have seen them play, ever. Just running circles around Chivas so far. And their spacing on this small pitch is dazzling.
Shame it's not on TV. How's the videocast? Better than last time, I hope.
10th minute: Sounders jump ahead after seeming in control of what had been an end-to-end start.
The score came with a nice Steve Zakuani run down the left side and then a turn along the end line before passing in front of the goal, where Nate Jaqua sent it in from about three yeads
Kickoff: The game has begun, Chivas in blue/blue, Sounders in electricity yellow/yellow.
Winner will play Columbus: The winner of tonight's game will host the Columbus Crew for the 2010 U.S. Open Cup title. The Crew took a come-from-behind extra-time win over D.C. United tonight.
If Seattle wins, it will host the Crew at 8 p.m. Oct. 5 at Qwest Field.
Chivas supporters here: There's an unusual number of Chivas supporters in the house, all decked out in their red-and-white jerseys, and waiving flags and banners. They're tucked into one full section of the southwest corner.
Lineups out: The Sounders have released their lineup for tonight, and there are a lot of familiar names in it: GK Keller; D Riley, Marshall, Graham, Gonzalez. M Fernandez, Sturgis, Alonso, Zakuani. F Montero, Jaqua. Reserves: Boss, Estrada, Fucito, Levesque, Parke, Scott, Seamon.
For Chivas: GK Thornton; D Umana, Trujillo, Jazic, Delgado; M Saragosa, Nagamura, Espinoza, Bornstein; F Braun, Maldonado. Reserves: Guppy, Borja, Cuesta, Lahoud, Padilla, Zamanski, Zizzo.
Columbus-DC in extra time: The other U.S. Open Cup semifinal has gone into extra time. The item below has a link to the match center updates.
Other semi: Meanwhile, in the other Open Cup semifinal, D.C. United has jumped to a 1-0 lead against Columbus. You can keep up from the MLS website.
Pregame: I arrived at Starfire Sports Stadium pretty early, but the Soundwave marching band arrived earlier, practicing the anthem and getting ready for tonight's game: 7:35 p.m. at Starfire. No tickets remain, and the only other way to watch is from a videocast at the Sounders website.
I'll also try to post a bit more than usual from here and from twitter.com/donruiztnt.