After a slow first half that conjured up the threat of an epic upset, Sounders FC scored four goals in 15 minutes of the second half to put away the Atlanta Silverbacks 5-1 in a third round game of the U.S. Open Cup Wednesday night at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila.
A goal by Andy Rose, his first as a pro, moments before halftime broke the tension as the Silverbacks provided plenty of resistance despite their 0-5-4 record in the second-tier North American Soccer League.
In the 48th minute, Osvaldo Alonso took a feed from Cordell Cato, making his first Sounders’ start, and beat goalie Joe Nasco with a hard shot to the far post for a 2-0 lead. Five minutes later, Atlanta got one back when Reinaldo Navia scored from 18 yards while falling down.
But Alex Caskey responded within a minute, creating space for himself and firing to the near post to beat Casco. Then Sammy Ochoa scored a pair of goals four minutes apart to complete the rout. The five goals were the most the Sounders have scored in Cup play.
In the first half, the Sounders out-shot the visitors 10-5 but did little with it until Rose struck in the 44th minute. GK Brian Meredith needed to make only one save, but numerous shots flew shot flew in the penalty area unimpeded by Sounders defenders.
The three-time champion Sounders maintained their unbeaten record (14-0-1) since entering the MLS in 2009, and will play a fourth-round game Tuesday at Starfire against Cal FC. Ticket information will be announced Thursday.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid, taking no chances after seeing seven of 14 MLS clubs lose to lower division teams Tuesday , started an experienced lineup: GK Bryan Meredith, defenders Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Marc Burch, midfielders Osvaldo Alonso, Alex Caskey, Andy Rose, Cordell Cato and forwards Eddie Johnson and Sammy Ochoa. Resting on the bench were regulars Fredy Montero and David Estrada.