Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Seattle Three-peat, USOC Final: Sounders 2-0 Fire

The Sounders have done it again!  Defeating the Chicago Fire 2-0, Seattle claimed the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup for the third consecutive year.  The game had all the makings of a cup final classic, including a record crowd of 35,615.  The two sides are no strangers to the cup and their experience was evident as the teams took the pitch.

Seattle Three-peat!!!
The first half yielded no goals but the Chicago GK Sean Johnson would be happy to shoulder the blame of that statistic.  Seattle's Mike Fucito created several scoring chances for the Sounders throughout the first half but the Fire's defense weathered the storm.  The half ended as Freddy Montero clanged a shot off the bar, but for all their effort, the teams were level at the break.

It was Fucito who looked to ignite the crowd only minutes into the second half, but his effort struck the post as Chicago dodged yet another bullet.  A goal was in the offing and the raucous rave green mass could sense it.  The Emerald City boasts perhaps the most terrifying atmosphere anywhere in the U.S. and the Fire were feeling the pressure.  The Sounders began the barrage and it was simply a matter of time until the levy broke.  With each shot and save the intensity and volume continued to skyrocket.  The Sounder's Erik Freiburg sent in a corner which was met by Brad Evan's on target header.  Once again, Windy City shot-stopper thwarted the attempt, but only to deliver the ball to Seattle's familiar Colombian hero, Freddy Montero.  Needless to say, the Sounder's frontman ripped the ball into the net as the expectant crowd erupted in jubilation.  In desperation, the Fire made a pair of substitutions and began to fight for their equalizer.  Surprisingly, the visitors forced a miraculous save from Keller, but the effort was adjudged to be offside.  Deep into stoppage time, former Charleston Battery player Osvaldo Alonso weaved through a weary Fire defense and slotted home to ice the cake and the game.  The whistle sounded seconds later and the Seattle Sounders made cup history with the 2-0 win.

The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is the oldest cup competition in the country and one of the oldest competitions of its kind in the modern sports world.  Seattle are on of only three sides to ever win three consecutive USOC titles.  Sounder's GK and former US National Captain, Kasey Keller, has said the team are far from finished as they rush towards the MLS Cup playoffs and have progressed to the knockout stage in the CONCACAF Champions league.  Seattle are certainly the most exciting team to watch and will undoubtedly exhibit some fantastic football in the coming weeks.

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