Sounders FC wins U.S. Open Cup
Roger Levesque, Fredy Montero score goals in Seattle's 2-1 victory over D.C. United
Seattle Times staff reporter
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WASHINGTON — When the U.S. Open Cup had been won and the photos on the field taken and the shouts and cheers and songs of celebration bellowed and the blasts of champagne exchanged, there was only one question coming out of a jubilant Sounders FC locker room at RFK Stadium.
Where was Adrian Hanauer, Seattle's general manager? No celebration would be complete without one of the city's biggest advocates for soccer.
Someone immediately fetched Hanauer. The locker-room doors were opened to let the well-dressed executive in. In an instant, his suit was drenched in champagne.
More cheers and smiles.
The bubbly flowed Wednesday night in honor of Sounders FC's first team tournament trophy, the shiny silver-colored U.S. Open Cup its reward for defeating D.C. United, 2-1. Seattle won two tournament play-in games and four matches in actual bracket play to bring the prize home.
"I was trying to get a sip in there," Hanauer said amid a buzzing locker room. "I don't think this team has the DNA to kind of half-ass it. I don't know if there's a statement [to our fans] in this, but it's just joy to our fans."
It seemed only fitting that Sebastien Le Toux and Roger Levesque, two former USL Sounders with long histories of Open Cup achievement from before the Major League Soccer team came into existence, teamed up to bring Seattle a title.
Levesque put in a cross from Le Toux in the 86th minute, giving Sounders FC a 2-0 lead, and the Rave Green held on for the victory. Players and coaches charged onto the pitch after the final whistle, jumped up and down in unison and raced to a corner of the field to acknowledge the dozens of Sounders FC fans roaring in the upper deck.
"This has been Seba's tournament. The Open Cup is Sebastien Le Toux," Levesque said of his teammate, who had 10 goals combined in the past two Open Cups for the former Sounders and a game-winning penalty kick in the quarterfinals this year. "It was his effort and his enthusiasm to get to the ball and get in behind that got us that second goal."
Fredy Montero, Sounders FC's leading scorer in the regular season, knocked in a deflection for a goal in the 67th minute for a 1-0 Sounders FC lead. Levesque's goal made it 2-0 before D.C. made it interesting with Clyde Simms' goal in the 89th minute.
But Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller made two key saves in extra time, part of his six for the night, to preserve victory.
Missed chances, a recurring problem with Sounders FC, were once again a factor as Seattle had at least three good opportunities to beat D.C. goalkeeper Josh Wicks in the first half. When Montero finally did, scoring after Wicks saved Freddie Ljungberg's try, Wicks lost his cool and stomped on Montero's ribs, drawing a red card and ejection, leaving United with 10 players for the final 36 minutes of the match.
Seattle became the first MLS expansion team to win the U.S. Open Cup, the annual club championship of America, since the Chicago Fire in 1998. Every member of the team, from executives (including Drew Carey) to injured players to equipment staff, was on the trip to D.C., and everyone got a champagne bath.
While it wasn't the MLS title, Sounders FC savored the moment.
"Winning a cup is winning a cup," Keller said. "Our ownership group got pounded with champagne because that's the people they are. They're with us. First-year organization or 100-year organization, we're doing it the right way ... hopefully long may it continue."
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sounders FC 2, D.C. United 1
|Seattle Sounders FC||0 2 — 2|
|D.C. United||0 1 — 1|
Seattle — Kasey Keller (GK); Patrick Ianni; Tyson Wahl; Osvaldo Alonso; James Riley; Peter Vagenas; Sebastien Le Toux; Freddie Ljungberg; Steve Zakuani (Roger Levesque 74') ; Fredy Montero (Brad Evans 78'); Leonardo Gonzalez.
D.C United — Josh Wicks (GK) (Milos Kocic 71'); Marc Burch ; Dejan Jakovic ; Fred (Santino Quaranta 46) ; Christian Gomez (71') ; Luciano Emilio ; Chris Pontius ; Ben Olsen (Rodney Wallace 82); Clyde Simms ; Bryan Namoff ; Jaime Moreno.
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UPDATE - 8:54 PM
Sounders lose to another expansion team