August 30, 2011 in Sports

Sounders win, advance to U.S. Open Cup final

Associated Press
 

TUKWILA, Wash. — Fredy Montero finally cashed in on Seattle’s numerous chances with a curling left-footed goal late in the first half, and the Sounders earned their shot at a third straight U.S. Open Cup title with a 1-0 semifinal victory over FC Dallas on Tuesday night.

Moments after sending an electrifying bicycle kick wide of the net, Montero collected a pass just outside the penalty area. He stopped, cut back to his left and curled a left-footed shot around the outstretched arms of Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman and just inside the far post in the 40th minute after Seattle had controlled play for most of the first half.

Marvin Chavez had a chance in stoppage time to tie it for Dallas but sent his shot to a wide open net flying over the crossbar. Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller held his hands on his head after leaving his net open.

Seattle is trying to become just the second team in the 98 years of the Cup to win three straight titles joining New York Greek-American who won three straight from 1967-69.

Last year Seattle became the first repeat winners since the New York Pancyprian Freedoms won consecutive titles in 1982-83. It’s a competition the Sounders showed well in when they were a USL franchise and one the club has taken seriously since arriving in Major League Soccer in 2009. This year was the fifth straight season a Seattle franchise has reached at least the semifinals of the Open Cup.

Now the Sounders get a chance to make it 3-for-3. Seattle will host Chicago in the final on Oct. 4 after the Fire beat the Richmond Kickers 2-1 on Tuesday night. Last year’s final, also played in Seattle, drew a record 31,311 to see the Sounders beat Columbus 2-1.

The victory completed a remarkable two week stretch where Seattle went 5-0-0 across three different competitions. The Sounders won league matches against Dallas and Columbus, beat Comunicaciones and became just the second MLS club to win in Mexico with a 1-0 victory over Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League and closed out the hectic stretch with Tuesday night’s victory.

This was Dallas’ first time in the Open Cup since 2008 when they were beaten by the Charleston Battery in the quarterfinals. Dallas previously reached the finals in 2007 and 2005 losing both time and won the Cup in 1997 when they were known at the Dallas Burn.

Aside from Montero’s goal, Seattle easily could have scored two or three times more in the first half, controlling the majority of the possession. Brad Evans twice missed chances inside the penalty area, once sending a header right into Hartman’s stomach.

The best scoring chance for Dallas came early in the second half when Seattle defender Zach Scott misplayed a pass and allowed Chavez to get off a shot from just left of the goal that clanged off the left post and ricocheted out about 40 yards from goal.

Dallas’ George John entered the second half, playing just a few miles from where he was a prep star in Shoreline, Wash. Before going on to be a college standout at Washington. He was greeted by cheers of “Blackburn Reject” from the Emerald City Supporters just a few days after a possible transfer to the Premier League club fell through. John had gone as far as traveling to Greece — his grandparents’ homeland — to collect a passport from another European Union country and avoid the necessity of obtaining a British work permit.

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