Sounders FC earns third straight Open Cup title
Fredy Montero scores in 78th minute as Sounders earn 2-0 victory over Chicago before Cup-record 35,615 at CenturyLink Field
Seattle Times staff reporter
Philadelphia @ Sounders FC, 7 p.m., Ch. 5
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U.S. Open Cup supremacy is starting to look much the same for Sounders FC.
In another night of confetti cannons, a raucous record crowd at CenturyLink Field and a postgame news conference interrupted by a rowdy champagne shower, Seattle continued its dominance of the 98-year-old tournament, beating the Chicago Fire in Tuesday's final 2-0 in front of 35,615 fans.
The Sounders have won three Open Cups in the row, the first team to do so since New York Greek-American in 1967-69.
The trophy case is filling up fast.
"I don't know if I can say which one's the sweetest," said Adrian Hanauer, general manager and part owner. "It's just tremendous for the entire organization to keep winning things."
After painstakingly hitting the post twice in the game, the Sounders took the lead for good in the 78th minute when star forward Fredy Montero knocked in a rebound for his 16th goal in all competitions this season.
The chance was set up when defender Jeff Parke powerfully headed an Erik Friberg corner kick toward goal. Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson saved it well, but right at the feet of Montero for the tap-in.
"We had the opportunity to make history and we were able to do it," said Montero through a translator, "not just for our families, but also our fans."
Seattle capped the scoring in the final minute of stoppage time as midfielder Osvaldo Alonso navigated through the penalty box and finished into a wide-open goal.
A three-year unbeatable run through a series of elimination games is a glowing testament to the Sounders' depth.
"We have a lot of stars on this team," said coach Sigi Schmid, dripping with champagne, "but the star of the team is the team."
With fans in full volume, action got off to a frenzied pace in the first half with 15 combined shots and six saves. The teams shared early chances, but Seattle nearly took the lead just before halftime when a low blast from 24 yards by Montero slammed off the post.
Similarly, in the 53rd minute, forward Mike Fucito had a right-footed shot bouncing toward an open goal, but it was denied by the woodwork as three Fire defenders could only watch.
Unwavering support in the stands got the Sounders through the near misses.
"In a lot of ways they got us over the finish line tonight," said Hanauer.
Added midfielder Brad Evans: "Once they started getting into it in the second half, I knew that we were going to get a goal for sure."
And for Sounders FC, the team goals don't stop here.
"We're not done yet," said goalkeeper and captain Kasey Keller, in reference to the MLS Cup. "We still have one more very, very important competition left, and we're all looking forward to that."
• While no official announcement has been made, Sounders FC is expected to qualify for the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League with the result like it has the last two years.
• Seattle receives $100,000 in prize money, with Chicago collecting $50,000 for second place.
• The previous record for largest attendance in an Open Cup game was 31,311, set here in last year's final as Seattle beat Columbus 2-1. The Sounders went on the road in the 2009 final and beat D.C. United 2-1.
• Sounders FC next hosts Philadelphia in a league game at 7 p.m. Saturday. The match was originally scheduled for July 23, but was changed to accommodate the Union's exhibition against Real Madrid. Seattle's four-game homestand marks its longest since July 2009.
• Star midfielder Mauro Rosales was not able to play for the Sounders as he recovers from an MCL sprain. Defender James Riley started after missing four games with a concussion. Midfielder Alvaro Fernandez was forced to leave the game at halftime with a head injury and was replaced by Friberg.
• Right before kickoff, fans in the south end of the stadium unveiled a display that depicted grave sites for D.C. United, the Columbus Crew and Chicago — Seattle's three opponents in its Open Cup finals — and a rave green Grim Reaper.
|Chicago||0 0 — 0|
|Seattle||0 2 — 2|
Seattle — Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leonardo Gonzalez, Alvaro Fernandez (Erik Friberg, 46th), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Lamar Neagle, Fredy Montero, Mike Fucito (Roger Levesque, 91st+).
Chicago — Sean Johnson, Dan Gargan (Sebastian Grazzini, 84th), Josip Mikulic (Jalil Anibaba, 61st), Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares, Logan Pause, Pavel Pardo, Marco Pappa, Daniel Paladini (Diego Chaves, 80th), Patrick Nyarko, Dominic Oduro.
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