Sounders FC wins 1-0, will host Open Cup final vs. Chicago on Oct. 4
Once again, the road to the U.S. Open Cup goes through Seattle. Two-time defending champion Sounders FC got a first-half goal from Fredy...
Seattle Times staff reporter
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TUKWILA — Once again, the road to the U.S. Open Cup goes through Seattle.
Two-time defending champion Sounders FC got a first-half goal from Fredy Montero and held on to beat feisty FC Dallas 1-0 in a hotly contested Open Cup semifinal Tuesday at a sold-out Starfire Stadium.
Seattle will host the Chicago Fire in the Oct. 4 championship game at 7 p.m. at CenturyLink Field.
Sounders FC could become just the second team in the 97-year-old, knockout-style tournament to win three Open Cups in a row (New York Greek-American did it from 1967-69).
Consider that never-ending pursuit of silverware right on track.
"We always want to (win) trophies," said coach Sigi Schmid, "and to be a team (that can) win three in a row is something that we've got to be proud of. These are ones that are one-and-done. It's not like you can have a bad game and say, 'Let's come back next week and regroup,' so I'm very proud of what our team has done."
The Sounders have won five straight games in all competitions — one shy of a team record — and went a near-perfect 6-0-1 in August.
Both sides fielded first-team lineups Tuesday and seemingly exchanged just as many body blows as shots on goal. Dallas came closest to an equalizer in the 49th minute when midfielder Marvin Chavez made a good run in the box before slamming a shot off the post.
Chavez later had an open look on goal just moments before the final whistle, but skied the shot well over the goal.
"Somehow we held on at the end," said Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller.
After a first half of tremendous pressure, Sounders FC broke through in the 40th minute when Montero curled in a beautiful left-footed shot from the top of the penalty box around goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
Montero, who is scoreless in his last five MLS games, had just missed an amazing bicycle-kick attempt moments earlier.
"Definitely a pity that the first one didn't go in, but ... luckily the second one got in and gave us the spot in the final," Montero said through a translator.
Added Schmid: "I thought he was unlucky. ... He could have had three tonight."
Sounders FC is 12-0-1 in Open Cup-related games, needing penalty kicks to beat Portland in the third round last year after a 1-1 tie. Seattle is 10-0 at home in the tournament, outscoring opponents 21-6.
And there's one more big one to come.
"It shows the tremendous organization that we've put together from Sigi on down," said general manager Adrian Hanauer of the club's Open Cup success. "All the players and all the support, you don't get these kinds of wins and these runs without a lot of people and things clicking on all cylinders."
• Tickets for the Open Cup final go on sale at 10 a.m. next Tuesday.
• Chicago beat the Richmond Kickers, a USL-Pro team, 2-1 in Tuesday's other semifinal.
• Sounders FC gets the rest of the week off before resuming action Sept. 10 in an MLS game against Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field.
• FC Dallas advanced to the Open Cup finals in 1997, 2005 and 2007.
• Seattle is 9-0-2 in its last 11 games at home in all competitions.
• Shoreline native George John came off the bench to play the second half for the visitors. The former UW Husky rejoined Dallas this week after a move to Blackburn of the English Premier League fell through.
• Seattle became the first team in the MLS era to win back-to-back Open Cups last year, beating Columbus 2-1 at CenturyLink Field. The Sounders won 2-1 at D.C. United in the 2009 final.
Asked how important it was to be the host in a second straight final, Hanauer said: "I'm not going to be choosy when it comes to finals and winning trophies. The one in D.C. was tremendous. The one at home was amazing. ... We're going to have to be on our A-game to win another championship, but if we're good enough and things our way, I'm sure that the third will be just as nice as the first two."
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com
Sounders FC 1, FC Dallas 0
At Starfire Stadium, Tukwila
|FC Dallas||0 0 — 0|
|Seattle||1 0 — 1|
Sounders FC — Starters: Kasey Keller; Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez; Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez; Fredy Montero, Pat Noonan. Bench: Josh Ford, Erik Friberg, Mike Fucito, Nate Jaqua, Lamar Neagle, James Riley, Tyson Wahl.
FC Dallas — Starters: Kevin Hartman; Jeremy Hall, Ugo Ihemelu, Andrew Jacobson, Jair Benitez; Daniel Hernandez; Marvin Chavez, Daniel Cruz, Ricardo Villar, Brek Shea; Maicon Santos. Bench: Chris Seitz, Jackson, George John, Jack Stewart, Victor Ulloa, Bobby Warshaw, Andrew Wiedeman.
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