Nate Jaqua calls it an “unbelievable opportunity.”
Steve Zakuani described it as the carrot at the end of the stick after they topped Chivas USA 3-1 in the US Open Cup semifinal on Wednesday.
In Seattle’s inaugural season, they went on the road to RFK Stadium and topped DC United 2-1 to win the US Open Cup. It was the first time a team had won the trophy in their expansion year since the Chicago Fire accomplished the feat in 1998.
Now the Sounders FC is hosting the US Open Cup final at Qwest Field October 5 and the team couldn’t be happier.
“Everyone remembers last year we wanted to have the final here. We went over to DC and won anyway. Playing the final at Qwest, I fully expect it to be a full house and it’s going to be incredible,” Zakuani said. “To go back to back in just your second year would be unheard of.”
Four times before, MLS clubs have returned to the Open Cup final after winning the previous year. However, none was successful in recapturing the trophy.
In 1997 and 2009, DC United reached the final, but failed to repeat. In 2002 it was the LA Galaxy and in 2004 the Chicago Fire saw the same fate. Seattle will look to change that trend and become the first team to repeat as champions since 1983 when the New York Pancyprian-Freedoms achieved the feat.
That they are doing it in just their second season makes the achievement all the more spectacular.
“Every club wants to win trophies and in our first two years of existence to be able to get to two finals in the Open Cup and win the first one and have the possibility of becoming the first team to win two in a row since the MLS has joined the Open Cup is something that we’d like to do,” head coach Sigi Schmid said. “It’s something that’s unique and special for our club to achieve.”
They are hoping to have a special edge at Qwest Field and already sold over 11,000 tickets for the final in just 24 hours. Tickets were available only to season ticket holders beginning Thursday morning, but they will come available to the public Tuesday at 10 am.
“We’re very happy that we’re hosting the game,” Schmid said. “We want to sell out Qwest and we want to be able to hoist the trophy in front of all those people.”
Added Jaqua, “A chance to play a final at Qwest in front of our fans is an unbelievable opportunity. Anytime you get to a final it’s great and the Open Cup is a fun one.”
The game will be televised nationally on Fox Soccer Channel.
For more on the Open Cup final, click here.