U.S. Open Cup Final: A Look Back

SoundersOpenCup2 (ISIphotos.com) 

                                                                 Photo by ISIphotos.com

By TRAVIS CLARK

The jovial cheer in the visitor's locker room pinged through the hallways of RFK after Seattle's 2-1 triumph. Shouts erupted when Fredy Montero, the Dewar Cup slung over his shoulders, joined the fray. Next up was Sigi Schmid, mastermind behind the title-winning run. With some gentle encouragement he made his way in, with a shower of champagne to greet him. The furor and racket made it clear just how much this victory meant to Seattle.

"Anytime you're in a Cup final, whether it's in Europe or it's in the States or if it's with the National Team or whatever, winning a Cup is winning a Cup," said a champagne-soaked Kasey Keller once the celebration had tempered a bit.

A gritty effort from Seattle sealed the trophy — on the road nonetheless — in front of a feisty crowd at RFK. All the build up and anticipation lit a fire under the United fan base, who created perhaps the best atmosphere the building has seen this season. That, and they weren't about to be outdone by the two hundred or so Seattle supporters who showed up.

United bossed possession for most of the game, but the more dangerous chances fell to the visitors. Three excellent saves from Josh Wicks kept the fixture scoreless at the half. All that possession equaled very little for D.C. going forward, who lacked that extra pass or repeatedly tried to do too much in the final third. Striker Luciano Emilio struggled with his touch, and Fred was a turnover machine in the midfield.

Seattle's game plan was clear — Montero sat high up on Dejan Jakovic, the focal point in D.C.'s three-man backline, and the Sounders lumped long balls in towards the duo. The battle between the two was rather fierce for much of the first stanza.

When Ljungberg eluded Simms two-thirds of the way into the game, Seattle finally unlocked D.C.'s defense, and the breakthrough was accomplished. It brought a sense of relief to a side that had been unable to score in recent weeks.

"Obviously we have struggled a little bit in our league games and we’ve really struggled for the same things we struggled with in the first half tonight — we created chances and not scored," coach Sigi Schmid said. "So you know, we finally found the back of the net and we came through some adversity as well."

While the offense finally clicked into place for Seattle, D.C. found themselves down a man after Wicks' inexplicable stomp on goal-scorer Montero. It was another moment of madness from the goalie who has a hot temper. It's the second incident in two games — Wicks and defender Marc Burch got into a row in Chicago — that the volatile and talented keeper has found himself in. From all angles, the red card seems justified, and the decision even more inexplicable.

The loss of Wicks was tremendous because he was the lone reason D.C. wasn't down by a 2-0 or 3-0 score. Seattle's second, and ultimately game-winning goal was no fault of replacement Milos Kocic — for whatever reason no one bothered to mark Roger Levesque in the 83rd minute, and he gratefully tapped in Sebastian Le Toux's cross to seal the trophy.

An 88th minute response from a deflected free kick made it nervy for Seattle and its fans until the final whistle, but they were able to hold on and secure their first trophy.

The cup win is a testament to the fantastic first season Seattle has enjoyed in MLS. Both the fans and front office have been tremendous, and the close bond was evident by Drew Carey's celebration and locker room appearance. Keller seconded those plaudits as well.

"Our ownership group got pounded with champagne because that's the people they are — they're with us," Keller said. "We know that they're a part of it. For a first year organization or a 100 year organization we're doing it the right way."

Here are highlights from last night's game:

What did you think of last night's game? One of the better American finals you've seen? Think Seattle will use it as momentum for a run at MLS Cup? Think D.C. United is in danger of having its season go down the tubes?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in MLS- D.C. United, MLS- Seattle Sounders, U.S. Open Cup. Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to U.S. Open Cup Final: A Look Back

  1. VA Law says:

    Josh Wicks…inexcusable.

  2. The King of Norway says:

    A thoroughly entertaining game. Hopefully it will inspire the Sounders to make a good run, but I thought their other red-card aided victory (the 2-0 win over LA) would do the same, and it didn’t seem to have had that effect. Certainly they’ve got a tough set of games ahead of them, starting with the Sept 12 return to RFK.

    As for the United, I think they’re still in the playoff picture if they sit Wicks down. At this point, it looks like he’s causing more harm than good.

  3. petaluman says:

    Josh Wicks really really let his team down. Turning point of the match. DC should seriously consider some sort of suspension.

  4. john says:

    Seattle sucks, Montero clearly faked it. How else do explain Wick’s reaction afterwards?

  5. Jimmie says:

    ACES –

    However, Wicks needs to be banned 4-6 games at least for stoming on a player, even if it was Montero (“no means no”).

  6. SeattleStan says:

    It was a great match. Both from DC and Seattle. The DC fans created a great atmosphere (although it would have been nice if sounders fans were allowed in a section of the lower bowl). With the exception of Wicks, it was great play and an overall clean game with good officiating. I really hope the U.S. Open Cup can grow in popularity. Hats off to DC Front Office for getting the word out and to the teams for not disappointing on the pitch.

  7. petaluman says:

    Even if Montero faked and Wicks missed completely. The intent was there. Still no excuse IMO.

  8. SeattleStan says:

    @ John: maybe, its because Wicks went roid rage over the past couple matches. Regardless, you are totally correct, Seattle does suck…winning the Cup and all.

    Glad to see ACES is back posting after a no-show last night. Where would the blogging world be without them?

  9. coach donny says:

    how many games did ricardo clark get for his “inexcusable” stomp on carlos ruiz? the only difference is that people were happy to see ruiz get it.

  10. nico says:

    Seattle sucks, Montero clearly faked it. How else do explain Wick’s reaction afterwards?

    Posted by: john | September 03, 2009 at 02:40 PM

    Hilarious. Yes, arguing a call is clearly an indication of innocence. I wonder if a court of law could take this approach.

    Great game to watch. Seattle deserved the win. DC supporters looked great.

  11. Ted says:

    Hopefully the first of many to come.

  12. EDB says:

    John go read goffs blog. There is an interview with Wicks.. doesn’t sound like a guy who thinks he is innocent. Its a shame too because it was a nice game until then. Also it was nice to see the USL sounder teamates combine for the winning goal

  13. baquito alyeska says:

    The only thing Montero is faking is a hair style.

  14. gunner04 says:

    while i would have loved to see a united win, one thing i was proud of was the crowd. coming home on the metro after the game i spoke to a few people who were there for the first time who said they enjoyed the atmosphere and would go back again. thats whats most important. growing the sport and the fanbase.

  15. Matt says:

    Hat’s off to United fans for creating a great atmosphere. Very fun game to watch. Really couldn’t have asked for a better game other than Wicks. DC needs to drop that thug.

  16. EDB says:

    One of the biggest things holding DC back from truly exploding in my mind is a stadium.. you put that 18k in toyota park or BMO and its going to seem bigger and better..

  17. sammysounder says:

    One competition . . . one trophy.

    Up the Green!

  18. Dman says:

    Truthfully I think the Sounders are showing what an MLS organization should look like. Great following and great atmosphere.

  19. JReinhold says:

    Well we’ve played DC twice now and both times everybody but Wicks has played a fun and classy game. They need to give him the boot, that team is too good for him.

  20. AL! says:

    Lolololol josh wicks

  21. Mentz says:

    I’m just happy the DC Scum lost…

  22. chupacabra says:

    No difference Coach Donny – I was happy to see Montero get it too, only I wish that Wicks had aimed for his face. Montero is the new Ruiz of MLS.

  23. ridgeway says:

    I really didn’t think the DC crowd looked that great at all. Maybe this is what a ‘good’ DC crowd looks like, but it is nothing compared to a crowd at Qwest field. Most of the noise was coming from the Sounders fans too. A highly entertaining game though, Go Sounders, GO!

  24. kpugs says:

    link to soccernet.espn.go.com

    Jozy can’t catch a break can he.

  25. Rory says:

    It was kind of crappy watching Seattle play long ball pass to Montero all night. And DC had as many first half chances, so I guess without either keeper the game could have been 4-4 at half?

    the weird part of the stomp is that a couple seconds before wicks jumps Montero rolls over== had he not rolled over wicks would have crushed his back. watch it again.

  26. Will says:

    dc was garbage, seattle deserved to win. its a pretty miserable feeling being in the crowd down a goal and a man

  27. Will says:

    and wicks probably shouldve come out on the ball over the top that led to the first goal

  28. Seattle Jean says:

    We ARE NATIONAL CHAMPIONS. All the hate directed at us can continue of course.

    Seattle – We Win Trophies – 4 USL Championships 1- US Open Cup.

    Who knows, maybe we do the double this year… Don’t rule it out. WE BELIEVE IN THE RAVE GREEN DREAM!!!!!!!

  29. ACES 96 says:

    ACES – No means no.

  30. Pappajohn says:

    This is the same Mr. Wicks who grabbed his own defender by the jersey and shook him, after a close corner kick attempt by Chicago in extra time last weekend. His jump on Montero was certainly done with anger. DC United needs to send this man to anger management classes or get rid of him. He is a problem.

  31. US Soccer says:

    Not only is Wicks ugly…he’s stupid.

  32. Dick Cheiney says:

    what are you people looking at?

    Did he actually touch Montero? Could he have landed on his hand? maybe. he certainly didn’t land on his stomach or you would have seen Montero fold in half, which you didn’t.
    Too much ambiguity, he should have just kicked him the side if he actually wanted to hurt him.

    The overreaction to Wick’s send off is ridiculous. but not as ridiculous as the idea he is responsible for DC’s defeat. The disorganization on the back line is the culprit, and the person responsible for that formation is the Criminal – SOEHN.

  33. Matt in SF says:

    Montero is an incredible actor. It’s amazing how he was able to fake that Wicks walked voer to him, hopped up in the air and tried to land on his hand in atwo-footed stomp. /sarcasm

    Wicks deserves nothing less than the full 10-game ban that Ricardo Clark got a couple years back. Completely inexcusable, and if MLS doesn’t suspend him, then what was the point of suspending Rico and saying that the league has a zero tolerance policy on violent behavior?

  34. ILikeTheBlueSoundersKits says:

    Wicks is a moron, Sounders have the trophy and Montero prob faked the hand thing or he may have been nicked, but what footy player isn’t a faker/diver? Not many.

  35. fan of the football says:

    Re: Wicks

    Wow. class act. enough said.

    Re: the atmosphere

    I liked seeing the DC supporters group right at mid-field in the center of the action, in full view of everyone watching at home

    Singing/chanting/flags all game long was great, sounded like fun

    Hopefully it is the same way when we come back in a week

    Re: the game

    A few questionable calls, but in general the reffing was good.

    It annoys me when Montero stands by the keeper until he kicks it and then wanders back onside. Get onside and play.

    That out of the way, I like the way Montero hustled for a lot of the game. If he started doing that consistently and stopped going down to draw fouls, he would be a real menace.

    Minus a few sparks, Ljungberg didn’t seem to factor much (I attribute that to Simms’ man-marking).

    Sounders make-shift defence stepped up when it was needed.

    I thought Jakovic played well other than the lost battle with LeToux on the second goal.

    What a great “assist” on DC’s goal, too bad Emilio isn’t a bit quicker, he actually would have gotten his foot out of the way

    Re: the postgame

    Sitting at a bar in Seattle with 100 of my closest friends, watching the post-game festivities transpire as the lower bowl emptied and the couple hundred Sounders fans in the upper bowl continued to party, all I could think was…

    wow, how awesome will it be if we actually win the MLS cup on our own field in November and those couple hundred are actually 32k+?

    We’ve obviously got a long way to go, but just the thought makes me excited.

  36. KBD says:

    I really didn’t think the DC crowd looked that great at all. Maybe this is what a ‘good’ DC crowd looks like, but it is nothing compared to a crowd at Qwest field. Most of the noise was coming from the Sounders fans too. A highly entertaining game though, Go Sounders, GO!

    Posted by: ridgeway | September 03, 2009 at 03:51 PM

    Ok, we get it! The Sounders fans are the best thing since sliced motherfucking bread!

    Seriously though: that was one of the best and most vocal crowds you’ll find outside Toronto or Seattle in MLS. It may not be full of 29,000 bandwagon fans and the 3,000 people who actually cared last year, but we have the best supporters’ clubs in the MLS. The atmospheres in Toronto and Seattle as a whole are better than at RFK, but outside of the Screaming Eagles and Barra Brava, not many fans at RFK stand and cheer the entire game. They have to create the atmosphere themselves. So while a game in Seattle would have been a better atmosphere overall, I’ll take the SE and BB (heck, I’ll take La Norte, too!) over ECS any day. And twice on Sunday.

  37. JTD says:

    all i know is that there were a number of games in the open cup that i made it a point to watch. this is the first year i’ve done so. much of it has to do with teams like seattle and dc and how serious they take this cup. can’t wait to see what they do in the ccf now.

    i very much hope dc can get their act together enough to make the playoffs in mls now. they seem to be losing their way more with each passing week.

  38. Mason Adair's lady works at Club 205 says:

    Josh Wicks; ACES hall of shame member and future Timber goalie.

  39. castroviejo says:

    this wicks thing is ridiculous. Montero is a faker and those idiots on FSC who should never ever announce any game are the most culpable. Everyone was saying omg omg he stomped on his hands he stomped on his hand.

    1. There was no clear angle at what he did.
    2. Montero never grabbed his hand
    3. Montero grabbed his right lower quadrant like he was mortally inflicted by appendicitis.
    4. Wicks boot never came close to this area.
    5. i do agree Wicks put himself in a dangerous position and there is no excuse for the stupidity in which he jumped over/near a player. You jump around a master thespian he will make you pay time and time again.
    6. if montero really comes up with major lacerations, tendon lacerations a splint for a month then i will stand down otherwise this is just a silly little incident which was blown out of proportion like the gulf of tonkin.

  40. Rastafari says:

    castroviejo–

    Elvis is still ALIVE and living on a pig farm outside Saskatoon.

  41. madmax says:

    Seattle dominated the match without 4 first teamers. Wicks is a sick person.

  42. RSLRob says:

    As an RSL fan, I want to ask if anyone is arguing that Wicks shouldn’t be sent off? Anyone? Anyone? I love how much people are going on about this whether Montero faked it or not. Who cares, what Wicks pulled was worthy of a straight red any day. Blanco embellishes a foul anytime someone gets near him and you don’t see pages and pages of posts about it.

    It all comes down to the general penis envy that exists in this country towards the Sounders organization. Honestly, settle down about this team. So they have a lot of supporters? So they’ve been successful? Somehow that’s got all the hipster MLS fans in a twist because “there is a city that actually widely supports soccer!” Be glad. I am, I feel like a freaking outcast in Salt Lake for preferring RSL over the Jazz.

  43. smokeminside says:

    Castroviejo, as mentioned much earlier in the thread, please go read Steve Goff’s interview with Wicks.

  44. Anyone, ANYONE who thinks Wicks didn’t deserve his red is an idiot. Hell, you’re worse than an idiot, you’re a Timbers fan. I don’t care what team he plays for, and who the recipient of his stomp is, that action is a STRAIGHT RED. If you think otherwise, you need to have your soccer fan card revoked, because you’re too stupid to carry it.

  45. Brett says:

    About “the stomp”…It looks like he was grimacing and holding his hand as soon as Wicks landed. Probably wasn’t anything damaging, but you can’t do that and not expect to get sent off.

  46. Leonardo says:

    i wanted to see footage of Drew Carey soaked in Champagne. must be a funny site

  47. ECS Spokane says:

    Cheers RSLRob

    The greatest sport on earth, gl with the rest of your season

    Sincerely

    Sounders Fan Spokane

  48. MVK says:

    Pretty clear Wicks didnt touch him, i guess the action deems the card but lets not forget that Montero is a noted diver and completely faked the contact… Compare and contrast how EJ handled that Mexico keeper trying to take him out after that one goal; congrads to the Sounders and their fans, but I cant wait till Montero moves on and up, he has absolutely no integrity.

    (SBI-If this is the case, then why hasn’t Wicks said that?)

  49. cal71 says:

    Give me a f’in break…

    Boy, Wicks better be grateful that he plays in DC and gets that kind your support, cause if it was my team I’d want him benched for the season… He lost you the trophy.

  50. Thse comments are truly amazing. Equating dangerous, violent play with someone being a “noted diver”. If only Montero had the integrity of someone like, say, Wicks. Give me a freaking break.

    @MVK: Sorry, dude, I’ve watched the replay many times, and it sure as hell looks to me like there was contact. Looked like it right away and still looks like it. So there is no way you can say that it’s “pretty clear Wicks didn’t touch him”. If there is this much dissent about it, it’s obviously not clear at all.

  51. Rastafari says:

    @MVK = LOL

  52. RSLRob you must be a brother from another mother. SLer here that does not watch the Jazz. Go RSL!

    I’m still bitter at Seattle for the same reasons I am bitter towards Houston. They got good teams from the start and I had to suffer the early years of RSL. That was mega lame.

  53. RSLRob says:

    Yeah Jimmie, I think that’s the thing. Except for those odd games, RSL was bad those first few years, almost painful to watch. But now its like night and day. It is frustrating to see some front offices get it so right though, especially when it seems like Ellinger and Co. had no clue. Plus the general environment for new teams is different (more expansion draft players, DP slots), but still, my hat’s of too the Sounders. Does that mean I cheer for them, especially when if they lose it helps RSL? Nope. Do I harbor some intense jealousy and wish they were horrible and had no fans or support. Not even close. A good Seattle team is good for the MLS.

  54. Nate says:

    RSLRob- I am glad someone brought this up. As a Sounders fan, I knew we would have a lot of fan support, but it is the organization that deserves the credit for our success.

    XBOX pays us 2.5 million a year for 5 years. We brought in the best coach in the league. Ljungberg is one of the best three designated players. We got expansion players, but we also signed two top Columbians, and got a steal in Olonzo. Our biggest hole over the first half of season was at left back, and we went out and got Leo, who has a ton of caps for Costa Rica.

    Our organization/ownership has done everything possible for us to succeed. I want the Sounders to win for them as much as for Seattle.

  55. To my eye, the TV replays show no contact between Wickes and Montero. That doesn’t mean that Wickes didn’t deserve to be sent off, but it does mean that the media should stop writing about Wickes “stomping” on Montero.
    I will believe that there is a reasonable case to be made for Wickes injuring Montero when Montero or the Sounders push for criminal charges against Wickes or file a civil case for damages.