The Sounders started enjoying the spoils of their victory immediately after the whistle blew on their 2-0 U.S. Open Cup championship over Seattle.
Players and coached remained on the pitch for a post-game celebration. They were handed T-shirts making their three-peat. Then they were awarded their third Open Cup trophy. They held it up to their supporters. They posed for pictures.
After heading to the locker room, they interrupted coach Sigi Schmid’s post game press conference by dousing him with champagne.
“I think the biggest motivation of all -- for me -- at the end of that game, was all the players gathered on the field … and just looking up at the stands and everybody was still there,” Schmid said. “… I think that’s a reflection of what we play for every day and what gets us motivated every day. I think the fans were superb.”
Along with their Open Cup title, the Sounders once again have earned a spot into the preliminary round of the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League. Seattle could earn direct entry into that tournament by winning the MLS Supporters Shield or making it to the MLS Cup championship game.
And the Sounders made it clear that they are aiming for more champagne showers ahead.
The quest starts Saturday, when they return to MLS regular-season play with visit from the Philadelphia Union.
“Whenever you get a chance to lift a cup, you know it’s a special occasion,” goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. “.. I said earlier out on the field: ‘We’re not done yet.’ We still have one very, very important competition left (MLS Cup) and we’re all looking forward to that.”
Keller also was involved in a fun little exchange with his coach, who had been describing the motivation to compete that is inside successful professional athletes:
Schmid: "The players bring that in their makeup and in their constitution. And so you talk about it and you realize the importance of the game. … At the end of the day, I can stand on my head in the locker room and spin around like a top. What’s going to motivate them is themselves inside…
Keller, interrupting: "I think that actually might motivate me."
Sigi, finishing his point: " ... and they get out and they motivate themselves and they get it done."