Motivated by history
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
Sounders FC chase their fourth consecutive U.S. Open Cup championship, and with it, a chance at history.
The Sounders have a chance to make history if they can top Sporting Kansas City in the US Open Cup final on August 8 at Livestrong Sporting Park.
That is not enough.
“Just the chance isn’t good enough for us. We want this one,” midfielder Brad Evans said. “Let’s make history.”
A victory over Kansas City will give the Sounders their fourth consecutive Lamar Hunt US Open Cup title, a feat that hasn’t been achieved by any team since the tournament’s inception in 1913.
Their win over Chivas USA on Wednesday extended their streak to 18 straight matches in the tournament without a defeat. That includes two road wins over the Portland Timbers, one in the 2009 final over DC United and one this year over the San Jose Earthquakes.
To reach their goal of a fourth straight title, it will take a win in a very difficult place to play in Livestrong Sporting Park, where Kansas City is 19-5-7 since the stadium opened in 2011.
“We want this one and we want it bad. I know we’re not going to host it, but we’re going to do our best to go away now and win our fourth one,” Evans said.
The Sounders still have seven players who played in their 2009 championship win over DC United – a team that featured Marc Burch as their left back.
To those players, and the rest of the team that boasts Open Cup medals from each of the last three years, the championship becomes extra special.
“It means a lot. We have the opportunity to be unique,” said forward Fredy Montero, who has seven goals in 12 US Open Cup appearances. “We’re very happy about that.”
Meanwhile, newcomers to the Sounders learn quickly that the club takes great pride in the Open Cup tournament.
Cordell Cato said as much when his goal put the Sounders through over the Earthquakes and he declared that he wanted a championship too.
Eddie Johnson, who scored the first goal in Seattle’s 4-1 win on Wednesday over Chivas, wants to be part of Seattle’s history.
“This is one of the biggest games in my career,” said Johnson, who will face his former team in Kansas City in the final. “The team has won it three years in a row and I sure don’t want to be the reason why the team doesn’t win the fourth one, so I’m going to get out there and play my butt off.”
The Sounders have been consistent in their desire to become the first MLS team to reach certain accomplishments. They were the first MLS club to win the Open Cup three times in a row. In fact, no other team had won the tournament twice in a row. They were also the first expansion team to reach the playoffs in each of their first three seasons.
That will continue to spark the fire for them on August 8 in Kansas City.
“We’ll be very aware when we step on the field and have a chance to do something nobody’s done,” head coach Sigi Schmid said. “That should be a highly motivating factor for our club and for all the players on the team."