TUKWILA, Wash. – On Tuesday night, the Sounders FC watched as seven Major League Soccer teams were eliminated by lower division teams in the third round of the Lamar Hunt US Open cup.
They vowed that they would not be the eighth.
After controlling much of the first half and coming out with only a 1-0 lead, they exploded in the second half with four goals to begin their defense of the US Open Cup title and their efforts toward a fourth championship with a 5-1 victory over the Atlanta Silverbacks at Starfire Stadium on Wednesday.
“It’s always a lot more fun when you score goals,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “We were putting pressure on them and you just felt like it was a matter of time.”
Andy Rose gave Seattle a 1-0 lead just before halftime when Jeff Parke knocked a ball down to him at the top of the box and Rose wound up and ripped it into the left side the of the net, freezing goalkeeper Joe Nasco in the 44th minute.
The Sounders picked up where they left off to start the second half. Cordell Cato led Osvaldo Alonso up the right side and Alonso went 1v1 with Nasco, thumping it inside the far post for the 2-0 lead in the 47th minute.
Atlanta was looking to charge back into the match, though.
Former Chilean international Reinaldo Navia whipped a shot into the top right corner of the net to pull the Sounders back to 2-1 in the 53rd minute.
Wary of the results of other teams around the league, Seattle fired right back to make sure that the Silverbacks weren’t back in the match for long.
Within a minute of Navia’s goal, Alex Caskey intercepted a pass across the middle, knocking it down with his head then carrying it into the box up the left side, then ripped a left-footed shot inside the far post for the 3-1 lead.
“They got that goal against the run of play,” Caskey said. “Seeing some of the results from (Tuesday), teams went up and let up a little bit and let the lower division teams come back. Luckily we were able to score a couple of more right away and demoralize them.”
Sammy Ochoa added a brace with two left-footed goals in the 63rd and 66th minutes to lift Seattle to the 5-1 victory and move them on to the fourth round meeting with Cal FC.
“They were well-finished, both goals,” Schmid said. “That’s the way he can play. He just needs to come out like that all the time.”
The Sounders will host Cal FC on Tuesday at Starfire after the fifth division side knocked off the Portland Timbers 1-0 on Wednesday night for the biggest upset in the tournament.
Sounders FC – Andy Rose (Jeff Parke) 44; Osvaldo Alonso (Cordell Cato) 47; Alex Caskey 54; Sammy Ochoa (Osvaldo Alonso) 62; Sammy Ochoa 66.
Silverbacks – Reinaldo Navia (Shane Moroney) 53.
Sounders FC – Marc Burch (caution) 59.
Silverbacks – Reinaldo Navia (caution) 59; Jordan Davis (caution) 88.
Sounders FC – Bryan Meredith, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch, Cordell Cato, Osvaldo Alonso (Servando Carrasco 72), Andy Rose, Alex Caskey, Sammy Ochoa (Roger Levesque 70), Eddie Johnson (David Estrada 46).
Silverbacks – Joe Nasco, Shane Moroney, Martyn Lancaster, Jose Burciaga Jr., Raphael Cox, Tony McManus (Jordan Davis 84), Ciaran O'Brien, Danilo Turcois, Borfor Carr (David Santamaria 72), Matt Horth, Reinaldo Navia.