Your Seattle Sounders are the 2014 US Open Cup Champions! Damn it feels good to type that. Damn it feels good to be a Sounder.
Last night’s game was a doozy (and I’m not just talking about the Kloudtv stream*). The final 3-1 score line doesn’t do the match justice. Hats off to the Philadelphia Union, they played their hearts out. Philly was gritty and focused and played pretty soccer. This was not the team we cruised past in early May. Interim coach Jim Curtin has them playing with pride and flair. Maidana, Wenger and Nogueira gave us fits all night. Hell, in the final minutes of regulation my heart was in my throat. We were wilting faster than dollar store roses and Philly kept attacking. Those two shots, nearly back-to-back, when the Union had open looks at our goal?! Sometimes you just get that rub of the green.
Luck wasn’t with us earlier in the contest, as multiple gimme chances went wanting. Clint Dempsey missed an easy tap-in in the 10th minute, multiple shots tickled the outside of the posts. I was afraid we’d rue all our missed chances when Philly was taking the game to us. But Seattle weathered the siege of the Union and came out in extra time resolute. We pushed the tempo and Obafemi Martins was the difference. He truly is the catalyst of the Sounders’ attack. He worked so well with Clint Dempsey and Marco Pappa and that finally allowed Seattle to unlock a surprisingly stingy Philly backline. The Sounders took their lumps (ask Zach Scott and Brad Evans) and went the championship distance.
Seattle has played so well for so long this season, that you keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. It didn’t last Friday when we could’ve settled for a draw against RSL. And it didn’t last night when we came back from a goal down to win our fourth Lamar Hunt in six seasons. This win meant a lot to the Sounders.
It is so refreshing to see how giddy men like Clint Dempsey and Marco Pappa were after the game. These are men who’ve played soccer for a long time in many leagues. They’ve been celebrated, they’ve been humbled, but they’ve never won a cup. Both were like kids at Christmas in the beer-soaked, postgame locker room. There is no cynicism or apathy in either.
One trophy down. Three to go (yes, I am greedy. I want Cascadia too).
* My wife and I tried our damndest to find a bootleg stream (that’s how we watch the NBCSN and ESPN broadcasts), but ended up having to pay the nine bucks for the GolTV stream. Wow. It was janky as hell (though GolTV was impressive with their prompt and polite refund for the poor quality stream). We tried running Ross’s audio simultaneously to compensate for the start-and-stop, but even good ol’ Soundersfc.com was having technical difficulties. Dammit America. This tournament matters. The US Open Cup is august and storied and ought be respected. It is insane to think that in marketing-crazed America, no one wants to sponsor a national broadcast of the US Open Cup championship other than, sorry GolTV, a two-bit cable channel? We can do better. Soccer deserves better.