Nate Jaqua was the star, as the Seattle Sounders defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy, 2-0, on Wednesday night in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal matchup. The forward has struggled to crack the Sounders starting line up this season due to injury, but Jaqua had his best night of 2010 on Wednesday, as the Sounders advanced to the semifinals to continue their title defense.
The lanky forward scored a pair of goals in the second half and almost netted a third as the Sounders gave the Galaxy just their second loss of the season in all competitions. Jaqua has now scored in the last three U.S. Open Cup matches that he has played in.
After a wild first half with each team getting a number of chances, the Sounders struck first early in the second half. In the 50th minute, Miguel Montano fired a shot that Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders saved. Montano scooped up the rebound and released a laser that went off the post, but Jaqua was at the right place to head in the final effort past Saunders.
The Montano-Jaqua pair combined again for a second goal in the 62nd minute when Montano delivered a floating cross that Jaqua converted on a diving header. A 1-v-1 save by Saunders 10 minutes later prevented Jaqua from the hat trick, but his damage was already done, as the Sounders kept its run alive.
Throughout the match, the Galaxy struggled to generate chances and were out shot, 21-10. Los Angeles was without a number of its biggest stars as Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle were both unavailable, and Bruce Arena made 10 changes from the squad that defeated the Sounders in Major League Soccer play on Sunday night. Sigi Schmid also made 10 changes from the side that he used on the weekend.
Although Seattle has struggled in MLS this year, the U.S. Open Cup has been a comfort zone for the franchise, which qualified for the semifinals for the fourth year in a row, dating back to its USL days.
The Sounders will take on Chivas USA with a berth in the final on the line on Sept. 1 at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash. The Columbus Crew awaits the winner of the D.C. United-Harrisburg City Islanders match for the other semifinal pairing.
What did you think of Wednesday night's match? Disappointed that the Galaxy didn't put out a better XI? Think Seattle can repeat as U.S. Open Cup champion?
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