Doing it for the City
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
Seattle Sounders FC is one step away from a feat that hasn't been accomplished in 100 years of soccer in America.
The Sounders FC is on the precipice of history, one step away from a feat that hasn't been accomplished in 100 years of soccer in America.
Success on and off the field has been the expectation since the inception.
The Sounders set new standards by being the first expansion team in league history to reach the playoffs in each of their first three seasons. They have also smashed league attendance marks in each of those seasons and are on pace to establish a new mark in that category too.
Already the first MLS club and just the fourth club in the 99-year history of the Open Cup to win the tournament three straight years, on Wednesday, they meet Sporting Kansas City in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup final and the Sounders will by vying for a record fourth consecutive Open Cup title.
"To win four in a row would be unbelievable," Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. "This is a huge thing for us as a franchise."
Along the way, the Sounders have rattled off 18 straight victories. They have come in a variety of ways, with over time wins, dominating performances, penalty-kick shootouts and grind-it-out battles like their 1-0 triumph over the San Jose Earthquakes in the quarterfinals this year.
They established their dominance at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, but have also had impressive road wins against the Portland Timbers (twice), DC United and San Jose.
As Schmid can attest, the tournament offers a unique challenge that makes the streak all the more impressive.
"You can have a bad day. A guy could get a cold at a wrong time. You can run into a hot goalkeeper," Schmid said. "There are all kinds of things that can happen and we've been able to get through all those hurdles."
Eight Sounders will be looking for their fourth straight Open Cup title, but several others that joined the team this year have yet to win the tournament.
Forward Eddie Johnson, who won MLS Player of the Week with his performance in a 4-0 win over the LA Galaxy on Sunday, has never won a title of any kind, though he has been in a cup final while playing in Greece. To him, and others new to the Sounders, the Open Cup represents an opportunity to earn their first trophy with Seattle.
"For me, it would be something special to be a part of because when you're done you want to leave a legacy," Johnson said. "There's a lot of professional athletes around the world that played for many years, made some good money in their careers, but haven't won anything. You want to be remembered when you're done because people forget about you real quick."
Winning the title would put the team in the record books. And while the players are playing for their own legacies and the badge on their chest, Johnson adds another point of inspiration for the Sounders FC – the thousands of fans that support the team in the stands and in the city.
"It's special. Winning things is good for the organization. It's good for the team. It's good for you as an individual because it gets you exposure," Johnson said. "Seattle is a big sporting city and we want to win it for the city."
Kickoff is slated for 6 pm Pacific on Wednesday. The television broadcast will be on Gol TV with viewing parties all around the Puget Sound. The radio broadcast will also be featured on 97.3 KIRO FM.