The Seattle Sounders rolled to an emphatic victory against the Chicago Fire last night in the semifinals of the US Open Cup. In winning, Seattle clinched their fifth berth in the USOC finals in 6 years. The Sounders will meet the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park in Chester, PA on September 16th for the Open Cup Championship.
I am starting to get cocky. Yes Seattle lost the “coin flip” and must travel for the final. I don’t want to get overly confident more than a month from the match, but this is a very winnable game. Philly in 2014 is not SKC in 2012. Yes sometimes the lesser team wins (see D.C. United vs. RSL, 2013), and yes travel means we won’t benefit from the Tukwila hoodoo, and yes, Ricardo Salazar may even referee the match (it’s a possibility), but the Sounders look like a strong bet to be hoisting the Lamar Hunt Cup in mid-September.
Seattle would be joining some lofty company if they win their fourth USOC title in sixyears. Bethlehem Steel and Maccabi Los Angeles are the only teams in the 100+ years of the tournament to win more than 4 titles (both have 5), and only the just beat Chicago Fire plus the Fall River Marksmen, Greek American AA, and the Philadelphia Ukrainians have won 4. But no team has been an Open Cup powerhouse like Seattle since the dawn of the competition when the aforementioned Bethlehem Steel made five finals appearances in five years, winning four titles. Maccabi Los Angeles’s accumulated their titles over a decade much like Chicago did. Seattle is quickly becoming a legend in this tournament, especially after so thoroughly dousing the Fire, the only other MLS team that can claim such Open Cup accolades.
All my prognosticating about lineups went mostly for naught and my bold prediction was overly conservative. We pissed on them! Seattle started a solid lineup and scored a boatload of goals. Seriously, look at how may players had a multiple point game:
Kenny Cooper: 2 goals, 2 assists
Obafemi Martins: 1 goal, 1 assist
Andy Rose: 2 goals
Marco Pappa: 2 assist
And Chad Barrett and DeAndre Yedlin also contributed to the scoring.
We can continue to play line-up Nostradamus. Given minutes played, injuries sustained and cards accumulated, projecting the Sounders lineup is a little like Sudoku. Chad Marshall should start in the big six-pointer Saturday against RSL on normal rest, as should Clint Dempsey and a getting-fit Leo Gonzalez. Obafemi Martins cannot play due to his red card suspension.
Hopefully none of this comes back to bite the Sounders as they continue sussing their way through this very congested schedule, but Oba’s suspension begs the question, why only give him 17 minutes against the Fire? Sigi will need to pair someone up top with Dempsey. Both Cooper and Barrett got extensive minutes last night. The only other striker option is Lamar Neagle. I am nervous about Neagle’s availability. He got roughed up a bit by the Fire and I wonder if he can start or even contribute Saturday. On the other hand, Sigi never seems to question Pappa’s fitness. Is he as much an Energizer Bunny as Ozzie? He just keeps going and going and going.
Gonzalo Pineda should join Ozzie in the middle on normal rest, but Andy Rose looked absolutely solid last night. Solid. Hell I have been a big Pineda supporter all season, but if Rose keeps playing like he did against Chicago… I’d like to see his name permanently affixed to the starting lineup.
Congratulation to DeAndre Yedlin for getting the ink on the paper. Yedlin has officially signed a transfer to join Tottenham Hotspur for a reported $4 million fee. The North London club expects to have Yedlin for the 2015 EPL season meaning Yedlin is here for at least the rest of this year and possibly part of next (unless Spurs decides to loan him to a club closer to White Hart Lane). You were too good so soon Yedlin, I wish you the best of luck as you chase challenges and your dream overseas. But first, let’s get that treble!