Jaqua, Zakuani lead Sounders back to U.S. Open Cup final

By JOSE M. ROMERO

This is a tournament that clearly means something to the Seattle Sounders.

Whatever feelings players may have toward CONCACAF Champions League, defense of Seattle's U.S. Open Cup is a priority. The Sounders showed that Wednesday night in their 3-1 win over Chivas USA in an Open Cup semifinal at Starfire Sports Complex near Seattle. 

Nate Jaqua scored a pair of goals, one in extra time of the second half that sealed the win, and Steve Zakuani assisted on one Jaqua score and another from Fredy Montero to lead the Rave Green in front of 4,547 fans. Seattle advances to face the Columbus Crew on Oct. 5 in defense of the Sounders' 2009 Open Cup title.

"It's going to be unbelievable playing at Qwest, and a chance to hold up the trophy there," Jaqua said.

"[Steve] Zakuani was sharp today. He had the better of [Mariano] Trujillo on the outside," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. "That was important for us. It's a field that lends itself to speed of play, getting faster, and I think we took advantage of that."

The atmosphere was festive at Starfire, a compact pitch with a newer FieldTurf surface. Someone even lit flares. Speaking of parties, any celebrating of the Open Cup championship will take place on the Sounders' actual home pitch, Qwest Field, where Seattle will host the title game after winning the bid to do so. 

"Obviously playing at Starfire is a unique situation because the fans are so close to the field and we pack the place," Schmid said. "It just lends itself to a completely different atmosphere. I think every club wants to win trophies. To be able in our first two years of existence, to be able to get to two finals in the Open Cup, to win the first one and now the possibility to win the second one becoming the first team to win two in a row since MLS has joined the Open Cup, is obviously something we would like to do, because it hasn't been done and it's something unique and special for us to achieve."     

 Seattle won the U.S. Open Cup in its inaugural season, 2009, at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. last September, defeating host D.C. United. Next month, it’s former Crew-turned Sounders coach Sigi Schmid facing Robert Warzycha, his former assistant in Ohio-turned Crew head coach, in a match for the hardware.

"I know their whole coaching staff. I know a lot of their players there. So it's going to be emotional that way," Schmid said.

For Chivas USA, the club's first chance for a trophy from any major competition was lost. Chivas appeared on the verge of making it a thrilling finish after Jesus Padilla's 68th-minute goal to make it 2-1, but it wasn't to be. Its defense was porous, allowing not just goals but good chances.

"Very disappointing, for me personally it was a big game," defender Jonathan Bornstein said. "I was disappointed to come out (of the game) at half, and it is probably the last Open Cup I will play in at least a while."

Jaqua’s brace gave him seven career U.S. Open Cup goals and five in this year’s tournament, tying him for the lead in the latter category. His first goal came off a run down the left side by Zakuani, who didn’t quit when he reached the touch line and centered to Jaqua for the put-away.

Montero gave Seattle a 2-0 lead in the 59th minute, with Zakuani providing the assist again.  Chivas USA rallied nine minutes later, with Padilla driving home a flick from Justin Braun.

Roger Levesque assisted Jaqua on the final goal, with Chivas trying to press forward and time running out.

"Disappointed because we really wanted to go to our first final," Chivas coach Martin Vazquez said. "I thought we had a good start, but you can't give a player like Zakuani, you have to respect and not let him get behind you. Overall the effort was good."

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Chivas USA, MLS- Seattle Sounders, U.S. Open Cup. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Jaqua, Zakuani lead Sounders back to U.S. Open Cup final

  1. Lorenzo says:

    Annoying once again Crew will face final opponent at oppositions stadium like in 98. I know one team has always had an advantage before, just wish it could be nutreul ground, but than attendance would be 400 people.

  2. Charles says:

    Sounder’s love fest time !

    Fourth time in a row they made the semis of USOC.

    They haven’t lost a USOC game while in MLS EVER !

    They haven’t lost to an MLS team since they benched Ljungberg….which was a LOOOOONG time ago now.

    No DC United to steal the home game, so it will be at QWest ! ( which leads me to believe that DC didn’t STEAL the home game last year, they out bid the Sounders for it )

  3. lassidawg says:

    Last year the Sounders could only play in the middle of the day because the Mariners were home that evening, so that was one of the major reasons Seattle didn’t host. Looking back it is probably better that Seattle didn’t host, because then everyone would be complaining about how they always get home games. As it turns out all but one were at home, and that one was a tough match in Portland.

    Can’t wait for October 5th.

  4. k says:

    well done Sounders!! the final at Qwest should set an attendance record for Open Cup games, it will be great, see you there.

  5. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    Funny thing I never got about that alleged schedule conflict with the Mariners? They play in different stadiums, and I know for a fact that I’ve been to a Sounders game that overlapped with a Mariner’s game next door at Safeco. I remember because the baseball game was still going on after the Sounders game ended and we briefly debated heading in to watch the Mariners.

  6. sammysounder says:

    stupid Mariners. They haven’t won in fourteen years anyway.

  7. Charles says:

    Big Mariners fan….while agree with the stupid Mariners comment…..They did win 116 out 162 games in 2001 ( 9 years ago ). A major league record 116 games.

  8. bgix says:

    I have never seen a single USOC match except the two in Portland, damnit, and that won’t change this year. Starfire is just absolutely impossible for me to reach, so it’s always been the ECS bus down South for any action. While I love the fact that the final will be at Qwest, I groaned and might groan when it was announced, because I will be out of town that whole week, and I would give my right arm to be there. So my family will be there while I take care of business. My only positive (aside from Sounders contesting the final) is that I may be able to squeeze into Camp Nou, and see Barca play a home match. Still rather be in Seattle on the 5th, though.

  9. asimismo says:

    I believe there’s some agreement with the city (e.g. police) that the Sounders will only overlap with the Mariners x number of games a year.

  10. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    That would make sense. It also crossed my mind that I’ve only seen the overlapping games on weekends. Could be much harder for the street grid and transit agencies to handle the extra load so close to rush hour.