Another Chance At History
By MATT GASCHK
Sounders FC Insider
TUKWILA, Wash. - No Major League Soccer team has won the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in three straight years. The Sounders FC moved one step closer to that aim when they topped FC Dallas 1-0 in front of a sellout crowd of 4,593 at Starfire Sports Stadium.
The Sounders will meet the Chicago Fire in the Open Cup final October 4 at 7 pm at CenturyLink Field. Tickets go on sale on Tuesday, September 6 at 10 am.
“We always want to put trophies and to win three in a row would be something to be proud of,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “It’s one and done. It’s not like if you have a bad game you can come back the next week and regroup. I’m very proud of what our team has done.”
It was a tale of two halves as the Sounders outshot FC Dallas 11-5 in the first half, but finished the match trailing 14-13 in the shot column.
“I thought in the first half we were the better team and had more chances,” Schmid said. “In the second half, they were more aggressive and played forward a little bit quicker and played with a little bit of desperation. We didn’t always handle it well and didn’t really counter as well as we needed to to take advantage of that.”
The difference in the game in the first half when Fredy Montero unleashed three incredible shots, bringing the crowd to their feet for the first two before finally connecting on the third.
Montero just missed on a bicycle kick from seven yards out, missing just wide of the net in the 38th minute. Two minutes later, he was a bit more fortunate.
Alvaro Fernandez played a ball to Montero at the top of the box and Montero controlled the ball and faked a right-footed shot to get clear of his marker before snapping off a left-footed shot that curled around the glove of Kevin Hartman and inside the post for his second goal of the Open Cup, giving the Sounders a 1-0 lead in the 40th minute.
“I kept working and luckily the second one from distance went in and gave us the spot in the final,” Montero said.
Kasey Keller needed just one save on a ball from Maicon Santos in the first half that didn’t really challenge Keller much. However, the second half did provide some dangerous moments, including one shot from Marvin Chavez that hit the post in the 49th minute. The rest of Dallas’ efforts came from distance and missed high or wide or were blocked, much like they were in a 1-0 win for the Sounders at Pizza Hut Park just ten days earlier.
Zach Scott and Leo Gonzalez limited the efforts of top Dallas threats Chavez and Brek Shea, winning headers and matching the physicality of the visitors.
“I thought in the first half Zach did a good job on Brek and won some headers there, which was very important,” Schmid said. “In the second half, it wasn’t as composed as I would have liked, but sometimes games just take on a personality like that.”
Chicago reached the Open Cup final with a 2-1 victory over the Richmond Kickers of the USL. Seattle has two US Open Cup titles to their credit, while Chicago has won the tournament four times, last hoisting the trophy in 2006.
Sounders FC - Fredy Montero (Alvaro Fernandez) 40.
FC Dallas - None.
Sounders FC - Leo Gonzalez (caution) 35; Brad Evans (caution) 58.
FC Dallas - Daniel Cruz (caution) 12; Daniel Hernandez (caution) 22; Ricardo Villar (caution) 63, Maicon Santos (caution) 63; Daniel Hernandez (ejection) 94+.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle 84), Fredy Montero (James Riley 89), Pat Noonan (Mike Fucito 65).
FC Dallas - Kevin Hartman, Jeremy Hall, Ugo Ihemelu, Andrew Jacobson, Jair Benitez (Jack Stewart 89), Daniel Hernandez, Marvin Chavez, Daniel Cruz (George John 46), Ricardo Villar (Jackson 63), Brek Shea, Maicon Santos.