A win Wednesday would make Sounders the first team in the tourney’s 99-year history to win four consecutive U.S. Open Cups.
MATCH: Seattle Sounders FC (10-5-7, 37 points, 3rd, West Conf.) at Sporting Kansas City (12-7-4, 40 points, 2nd, East Conf.). TYPE: Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. WHEN: Wednesday, 6 p.m., Livestrong Sporting Park, Kansas City. MEETING: 8th (Sounders lead 5-1-1, all in MLS). LAST 5: Sporting Kansas City: W-L-D-L-W; Sounders: W-D-W-W-W. TV: GolTV (Comcast HD 726; DirecTV 620). RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: KOMO2 (Comcast Ch. 114) and La Gran D 99.3 FM.
The Seattle Sounders, unbeaten in 18 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches since entering the league in 2009, will be the first club in the 99-year history of the competition to win four consecutive Cups if they beat Sporting Kansas City Wednesday at Livestrong Sporting Park.
Seattle won the 2009 Cup at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., with a 2-1 victory over D.C. United, the 2010 Cup at home with a 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew, and the 2011 Cup at CenturyLink Field by defeating the Chicago Fire 2-0. Sporting KC out-bid the Sounders to host the the title match this year.
“To win four in a row would be unbelievable,” said coach Sigi Schmid Sunday night. “We’re the first team in a long time to win three in a row, but nobody’s ever won four in a row. This is a huge thing for us as a franchise.
“I know the Open Cup is sometimes considered a secondary trophy, but you have to remember it’s a big game. It’s a knockout competition. We haven’t lost a game. When you have a bad day, a guy could get a cold at a wrong time, you can run into a hot goalkeeper . . . there are all kinds of things that can happen. We’ve been able to get through all those hurdles. This is a great opportunity for us on Wednesday to do something very special.”
The Sounders reached the final by defeating the Atlanta Silverhawks 5-1, Cal FC 5-0, the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 and Chivas USA 4-1.
Sporting Kansas City, which played Seattle to a 1-1 draw at CenturyLink Field June 20 in an MLS match, reached the title match by defeating the Philadelphia Union 2-0 in the semifinal round. Sporting Kansas City had early-round wins over the Dayton Dutch Lions (3-0), Colorado Rapids (2-0) and Orlando City Soccer Club (3-2).
Sporting Kansas City is tied for first in the Eastern Conference and is third overall with 40 points (12-7-4). KC has been the strongest defensive team all year, allowing just 21 goals (T1 in MLS) with a 0.91 goals against average (first in MLS). At home, Sporting has allowed just seven goals with a 0.64 goals against average, where it has gone 6-3-2. However, KC is winless in its past four matches (0-2-2) at Sporting Park, scoring just three goals.
Kansas City’s attack is led by seven-year MLS veteran Kei Kamara, who leads the club with eight goals and four assists. The Sierra Leone native has 28 goals and 14 assists in his third full season with Kansas City. Second-year striker C.J. Sapong has five goals, but has not scored since June 16.
Kansas City has one personnel setback heading into the Open Cup championship match. French defender Aurelien Collin won’t play due to a suspension stemming from his third yellow card of the tournament. Collin was booked in the semis vs. Philadelphia, in the third round vs. Orlando City SC and in the fourth against the Colorado Rapids.
Seattle is the third modern club to advance to the Cup final four straight years. Last to do it was St. Louis-based Stix, Baer and Fuller, which reached six straight finals from 1932-1937. The team was known as the St. Louis Central Breweries in 1935 and the St. Louis Shamrocks in 1936-37.
Before the St. Louis string of title-game appearances, Bethlehem Steel advanced to the finals five straight years from 1915-1919, winning the title four times and settling for a runner-up finish in 1917.
MODERN-ERA U.S. OPEN CUP THREE-PEATS
Sporting Kansas City reaches the U.S. Open Cup Final for the second time. In its previous appearance, the club, then known as the Kansas City Wizards, defeated defending champion Chicago Fire 1-0 Sept. 22, 2004, at Arrowhead Stadium, with Igor Simutenkov tallying a 95th-minute golden goal.
The Cup, recognized as U.S. Soccers national championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams. The tournament has crowned a champion for 98 consecutive years dating to 1914.
SERIES: Dates to April 11, 2009, when the Sounders lost 1-0 at Kansas City. The Sounders have won every match since except the June 20 draw. Patrick Ianni netted Seattle’s lone goal.
LAST MATCH (Sounders, Aug. 5): Three second-half goals fueled the Sounders (10-5-7, 37 points) to a 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy (10-11-3, 33 points) at CenturyLink Field. Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero each scored while Alex Caskey and Andy Rose both netted their first career MLS goals. The crowd of 60,908 was the largest in MLS this season, and second-largest all-time for an MLS game at CenturyLink Field.
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
SOUNDERS U.S. OPEN CUP RESULTS
|28-Apr-09||Real Salt Lake||W||4-1||3,890||1-0-0|
|02-Sept.-09||at D.C. United||W||2-1||17,329||6-0-0|
The title run included Roger Levesque’s first-minute goal at Portland, followed by late goals from Nate Jaqua and Stephen King to advance past Houston in extra time, and a win in the final at D.C. United, 2-1.
|30-Jun-10||at Portland||D||1-1 PK||15,422||6-0-1|
Nate Jaqua netted five goals in four games to earn Player of the Tournament honors, and Sanna Nyassi finished off the championship run with a brace in the final against the Columbus Crew, giving Seattle a 2-1 victory.
Fredy Montero stole the show, netting three game-winners in the final three matches, and Osvaldo Alonso delivered a well-crafted goal in stoppage time in the final against Chicago.
|26-June-12||at San Jose||W||1-0||7,219||16-0-1|
Sammy Ochoa’s two goals eliminated the Atlanta Silverbacks in a third-round match. Freddy Montero and Osvaldo Alonso each scored twice in the Sounders’ win over Cal FC. Match marked the first time two Seattle players scored multiple goals in the same game. Cordell Cato scored Seattle’s lone goal against the Earthquakes in San Francisco in the 19th minute. Four Sounders tallied in the 4-1 win over Chivas in the semifinals.
SOUNDERS U.S. OPEN CUP HISTORY
Seattle has won 17 games with one draw, outscoring opponents 43-11.
A Seattle team has advanced to the Cup semifinals in each of the past six years. In addition to the Sounders’ victories from 2009-11, the USL-1 Sounders reached that stage in 2007 (against FC Dallas) and 2008 (Charleston).
Prior to the victory over D.C. United in 2009, the only Seattle club to qualify for an Cup final was the amateur Mitre Eagles in 1987. The Eagles fell to Club Espana of Washington, D.C., on penalties following a 0-0 draw.
While the NASL Sounders did not participate in the Open Cup, the A-League Sounders competed on an annual basis, beginning in 1995. They lost to El Paso in the semifinals that season, and also advanced to the final four in 1996.
WHERE TO WATCH
The Sounders will host several viewing parties throughout the Seattle-area for Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup final, open to the general public at no charge. Supporters will be able to watch the live coverage of the match. A full list of Sounders FC viewing party locations is below (all locations excluding George & Dragon are open to all ages).
COACHES: Sigi Schmid became first head coach of Seattle Sounders FC Dec. 16, 2008, and is in his fourth year. Born in Tübingen, Germany, Schmid relocated with his family to the U.S. in 1956, and to Torrance, CA., in 1962. He was a four-year starter at UCLA (1972-75) and graduated with a B.S. degree in economics in 1976.
Schmid later earned a M.A. in business administration from Southern California. A certified public accountant, Schmid coached the Los Angeles Galaxy from 1999 through 2004, winning four major competitions: 2002 MLS Cup, 2002 MLS Supporters Shield, 2001 U.S. Open Cup and the 2001 CONCACAF Champions Cup. He coached the Columbus Crew from 2006-08, winning the MLS Cup in his final season.
In 2009, under Schmid’s direction, the Sounders became the first expansion team to reach the MLS playoffs since the 1998 Chicago Fire. The Sounders also won the U.S. Open Cup in Schmid’s first season. They added their second and third U.S. Open Cup titles in 2010 and 2011.
Peter Vermes: Vermes oversees all soccer operations for Sporting Kansas City, including the active roster and the Sporting Kansas City Juniors program. Vermes, an original member of Major League Soccer, retired from playing in 2002, closing out his career with Kansas City after stints with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars and Colorado Rapids. Vermes represented the U.S. in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and was named 1988 U.S. Male Soccer Athlete of the Year for his efforts.
COMING UP: The Sounders play at San Jose Aug. 11 and return to CenturyLink Field Aug. 18 to meet the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule / Results
(10-5-7, 37 points, MLS; 2-1 CCL; 4-0 U.S. Open Cup)
|4/7||^at DC United||4:30||KING||D||0-0||2-1-1|
|5/9||^at FC Dallas||5:30||KONG||W||2-0||7-1-1|
|6/26||&at San Jose||7:30||Webcast||W||1-0||3-0-0|
|6/30||^at New England||4:30||KONG||D||2-2||7-5-5|
|7/15||^at New York||1:00||ESPN||D||2-2||8-5-7|
|8/5||^vs. LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN2||W||4-0||10-5-7|
|8/8||&at Sport KC||6:00||GolTV||—||—||—|
|8/11||^at San Jose||7:30||KING||—||—||—|
|9/2||^at FC Dallas||4:00||KING||—||—||—|
|10/21||^vs. FC Dallas||6:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
|10/28||^at LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
*=CONCACAF; ^=Major League Soccer; #=International friendly; &=U.S. Open Cup