Sounders Win Third US Open Cup

Posted on 05 October 2011 by Kyle Alm

Seattle Sounders have won the US Open Cup in each of the three years of their existence in MLS. Although Sounders have been a model franchise for expansion their model of success was the Chicago Fire. Chicago Fire had been the last expansion team to make the MLS playoffs, not to mention winning the MLS Cup, in their 1998 inaugural season and winning the US Open Cup.

chicago has had a difficult season in MLS and are on the outside looking in for a MLS Cup playoff spot. Sounders on the other hand have hit a new high for the regular season after getting off to a rocky start with injuries to Steve Zakuani and a goal drought from Fredy Montero. Sounders currently are second in the overall table to Los Angeles Galaxy by 7 points.

The first half started off with a couple of early fouls and verbal warnings from referee Alex Prus. It was a good move by the often criticized referee to take an active role in keeping players in check and on the pitch. Although Chicago created some fair chances to score all 5 of their shots were taken by Marco Pappa and all of them were taken at distances beyong 18 yards.

Chicago was fortunate not concede a goal during the first half, there were several around the goal frame, one off the post and a couple of shots blocked by defenders. Sean Johnson was up for the challenge and made several key saves that kept the Fire in the match.

Sounders subbed Alvaro Fernandez at halftime due to a head injury. Erik Friberg replaced him.

Second half started slower than the first. Friberg was not able to charge up his touchline the way that Fernandez, but Sounders maintained possession and kept Chicago out of the area.

Montero found the opportunity to separate the two sides in 78th minute. Jeff Parke’s header was too much for Johnson to wrap up and the ball fell with reach of the Columbian who was able to reach out and knock in the errant save for the 1-0 lead.

Shortly after, Fucito had a breakaway opportunity with Evans free in the middle, Fucito elected to shoot instead.

Chicago Fire never did find a offensive combination that really looked threatening, in fact they only managed on more shot in the second half, 18+ yards from Patrick Nyarko. Aside from a skirmish in the second half the Fire never really looked threatening.

Osvaldo Alonso put the cherry on the cake in the 96th minute when he collected a clearance around 30 yards out and took it himself on a swerving run past several Fire defenders across the goal mouth for the finish gave Seattle Sounders their third US Open Cup in a row.

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