Sounders advance to another U.S. Open Cup final
TUKWILA, Wash. – The U.S. Open Cup story doesn’t change much for the Seattle Sounders – not that the team would think anything is wrong with that.
It’s a winning tale.
Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso scored a goal and set up another as Seattle cruised past Chivas USA 4-1 in a semifinal Wednesday in front of 4,500 at a sold-out Starfire Stadium.
The three-time defending champion Sounders will go on the road to face Sporting Kansas City in the final on Aug. 8. Seattle could become the first team in the tournament’s 99-year history to win four Open Cups in a row. Three teams have won three straight.
Nursing a one-goal lead at halftime, the Sounders earned some comfort room in the 48th minute when Alonso chipped in a penalty kick, his fourth goal of the tournament, to make it 2-0. Forward Fredy Montero drew the PK a minute earlier when he was dragged down in the penalty box by Chivas defender Rauwshan McKenzie.
History suggested Seattle’s lead would be safe – the Sounders have never allowed more than one goal in an Open Cup game – but things got interesting in the second half.
Chivas USA pulled a goal back in the 74th minute when forward Cesar Romero, a second-half substitute, put away a rebound of his miss.
Seattle sealed the win in the 83rd minute when midfielder Brad Evans was found wide open to the right of the net by Montero and calmly finished the chance. Sounders forward Sammy Ochoa put an exclamation point on the night with a goal in the 88th minute.
The Sounders opened the scoring in the 31st minute, when Alonso made a darting run through midfield and set up forward Eddie Johnson on a breakaway. Johnson, Seattle’s leading scorer in MLS with eight goals, didn’t waste the chance and powered a shot from the top of the penalty box past goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
Johnson nearly doubled the lead shortly thereafter, but his contested left-footed shot in the 35th minute was denied by Kennedy on a reflex save.
Seattle is 9-0 in the Open Cup when leading at halftime.