Tampa Bay Sports Day

Sounders prevail in spirited Open Cup final, 2-1

The Seattle Sounders captured their first ever trophy defeating DC United 2-1 at RFK Stadium to win the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on the strength of two late goals by Fredy Montero and second half substitute Roger Levesque.

Seattle joins United and the Chicago Fire as the only winners of the U.S. Open Cup in their first year of existence.

The Sounders repelled a spirited last second charge by United, who played the final 21-minutes a man down in hopes of becoming the first team since 1987 to win back-to-back U.S. Open Cups.

United got a goal from Clyde Simms in the 89th minute, knocking home a deflection off Santino Quaranta free-kick to cut the lead in half but could not get a clean opportunity for the equalizer in the five frantic minutes of stoppage time.

“It was unfortunate that they got their second goal, but that happens when you’re pressuring that high up,” said United midfielder Chris Pontius. “I even thought we were going to get a second [goal], you know? We were in their box, we were putting them on their heels and we didn’t do that enough in the first half, or until after they got their first goal. Then we started doing it.”

United playmaker Christian Gomez played with great energy in the early going penetrating deep into the Sounder back line with multiple chances that just missed the mark. After being taken down after one of those deep runs in the 17th minute, he took his own free kick from 28-yards straight away that bent just wide of the right post.

He made another long, deep solo run in the 40th minute but his strong left footed shot from the top of the penalty area skidded just wide of the left post.

The unseasonably cool temperatures and equally befuddling low humidity in the capital region made for a fast paced, high energy match.

Both teams shared equal possession but United lived on the edge on multiple occasions with poor decisions and bad turnovers.

“On our side I was disappointed with how we started the game. I thought we had a pretty offensive lineup and we didn’t take care of the ball well. We kept turning it over and causing major counterattacks,” said United boss Tom Soehn. “To his credit, Josh [Wicks] kept us in there and then makes a mistake that cost us in the end.”

As Montero lay on the turf after slamming home the go ahead goal, goalkeeper Josh Wicks’ frustration got the best of him as he stomped on the hand of the Colombian dynamo on his way to pulling the ball out of the net. After deliberating with his crew, referee Alex Prus rightfully drew the red card from his pocket, dismissing the young keeper.

“I didn’t see it, I’ll have to wait and see it on the replay but some of the guys said that they saw it. Whatever, the players don’t come before the team. He has got to be smarter than that. Anytime you’re shorthanded you’re not setting yourself up to be successful,” said the disappointed Soehn about the ejection.

The menacing Montero caused United’s three man back line problems the entire match and it came to a head in the 67th minute. Completely against the run of play, Steve Zakuani flicked a header into the path of Freddie Ljungberg who got to it a step ahead of Dejan Jakovic, striking a first time shot from just inside the penalty area that Wicks got down nicely to his left to knock away. The rebound however, fell right in the path off the charging Montero who alertly followed the play.

“I thought the guys followed the game plan,” said Sounder’s head man Sigi Schmidt. “We wanted to keep Montero high on their center back because they play three in the back. I thought in the first half we created some good chances and were unfortunate not to be on top at halftime.

“The second half early on I think they took the game to us a little bit and we had to withstand that but we ended up getting the goals we needed in the end.”

“The game was quite scrappy. Unfortunately they played quite tight and played man-to-man on me to get me out of the game,” added Ljungberg. “They followed me all over the pitch but that gave us space in other places and we played well. Sometimes DC had a lot of possession but we created a lot of chances.”

Schmidt gave Tyson Wahl and Patrick Ianni the nod in central defense in place of Tyrone Marshall and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado . Hurtado received a red card in the Sounder’s 2-1 semi-final win over Houston while Marshall suffered an injury in a scoreless MLS draw with Toronto last Saturday.

United reverted to the three man back line after going with four in their 1-0 win at Chicago last Saturday, their first league win in six weeks. Soehn fielded a first choice side and brought in Quaranta at the start of the second half for Fred, whose pedestrian performance could not be overlooked.

“Same old story. In the end when you play three in the back you can’t make any mistakes & we had those breakdowns. That’s what happens,” said Quaranta and that was echoed by Jakovic.

“That’s what happens with the formation we play. You’re going to create a lot of chances, but also you’re going to allow a lot of chances,” said the Serbian born defender who showed great quality on the ball and foiled multiple Seattle opportunities with good instinctive defending.

After a seemingly innocuous challenge on Jakovic, Sebastian Le Toux slipped behind the falling young defender with a clear path to goal on the right touch line. Seizing the opportunity, the crafty Frenchman sent a simple ball across the face of the goal to the open Levesque, who simply slipped it into the open goal behind Milos Kocic, who had replaced Wicks.

Scoring:

SEA — Fredy Montero 1 (unassisted) 67
SEA — Roger Levesque 1 (Sebastien Le Toux ) 86
DC — Clyde Simms 1 (Rodney Wallace ) 89

Discipline:

SEA — Patrick Ianni (caution; Tactical Foul) 24
SEA — Leonardo Gonzalez (caution; Tactical Foul) 49
DC — Josh Wicks (ejection; Violent Conduct) 69
SEA — Peter Vagenas (caution; Tactical Foul) 79

Seattle Sounders FC D.C. United
Total Shots: 15 18
Shots on Goal: 7 7
Total Saves: 6 5
Fouls: 13 4
Offsides: 2 1
Corner Kicks: 5 5

Referee: Alex Prus
Referee’s Assistants: Greg Barkey; Rob Fereday
4th Official: Andrew Chapin
Time of Game: 90:00
Weather: Cloudy -and- 72 degrees
Attendance: 17,329