Drink it in Sounders fans, drink in that nectar and let the sweet taste of history fill your soul and tickle your toes.
Three in a row, that’s how many U.S. Open Cups the Seattle Sounders FC has won as of last night (October 4). It’s a rare feat, last accomplished in 1967-69 by the New York Greek-Americans. Yeah, I hadn’t heard of them before now either.
In 2009, Seattle beat DC United before returning to crush the Columbus Crew in 2010.
Both matches were just a run-up to this one, a match that saw the Sounders dominate everywhere but the scoreboard for 78 minutes.
Seattle outshot Chicago 24-6, 14-1 in the second half, but the score sat at 0-0 in the 77th minute when Erik Friberg, a halftime replacement for the injured Alvaro Fernandez, sent a cross into the box. Jeff Parke headed the ball beautifully at the goal but Fire keeper Sean Johnson made one of many exceptional saves to deny Parke.
Unfortunately for Johnson, he couldn’t control the ball and it ended up at Fredy Montero’s feet. Montero’s brain didn’t have to tell his feet what to do; they buried the ball in the back of the net to give Seattle the lead that they deserved.
The remaining minutes were nail-biting for the 36,615 fans braving the rainy night as Chicago attacked for the equalizer.
They nearly got it in the 90th minute when Dominic Oduro came free in the box and forced Sounders keeper Kasey Keller to make a great save. It was for naught though as the linesman’s flag was raised, catching Oduro offside.
Moments after that, a match that had been physical threatened to turn ugly as a series of collisions led to a lot of pushing and yelling. Calmer heads prevailed and three players (Fredy Montero, Osvaldo Alonso, and Jalil Anibaba) earned yellow cards.
Five minutes of added time did nothing to save the nerves of the Emerald City Supporters. In the waning seconds, Alonso wove his way beautifully through Fire defenders, faked a shot that had Johnson flailing before calmly tapping the ball into the net, sealing a Sounders three-peat.
Man of the Match:
There were so many stars shining in the rain of Seattle that it’s hard, even unfair, to pick just one. Montero deserves the honor for breaking the stalemate, Alonso was a master in the midfield, and Keller leaves the U.S. Open Cup competition on top. But to me, the man who caught my eye the most was forward Mike Fucito.
So much of the pregame was about Chicago’s speed up top with Patrick Nyarko and Oduro, but it was Fucito who had the Fire defense twisted up.
It was Fucito who took the first of Seattle’s 24 shots, one in the box that forced Johnson to make his first save only eight minutes into the match. From then until he was replaced by Roger Levesque in the 89th minute, Fucito was a constant thorn in Chicago’s back line and involved in just about every attack Seattle bombed at the Fire.
So, Sounders fans enjoy it for a moment. Savor it; let it roll on your tongue.
And then put it down again because it will be time to focus on the next prize. That’s right. It’s time to fill up that MLS Cup.
Photo by Rod Mar/Seattle Sounders FC