Seattle’s Open Cup defense still on, downs LA 3-1

Jaqua - Getty

By CALEB SONNELAND

In a rematch from last year's Third Round Open Cup fixture, the Seattle Sounders played host to the Los Angeles Galaxy with the hosts and defending champions trotting out to a 3-1 win and a spot in the next round. 

With a goal and an assist, Nate Jaqua led the Sounders to the victory and picked up a Man of the Match award for his shift up top.

It didn't take long for the scoring to begin, as in the 4th minute as Jaqua was sprung free by a good through ball from newly-returned Pat Noonan to be left 1-on-1 with LA keeper Josh Saunders.  Despite not having scored in the MLS this season, Jaqua slotted the ball away cooly to give Sigi Schmid a dream start to the fixture.  Jaqua later found himself in prime real estate to score on several occasions, but the big man couldn't convert on any.

"We definitely came out strong, I think that goes with being at Starfire.  We got an early goal, and with our crowd, that's got to eat at a visiting team," said Lamar Neagle.  

But on the 25th minute, Jaqua turned provider.  After squandering two golden opportunities to bag a brace, Jaqua laid off to Montero on the top of the box and the DP smashed a left-footed shot home at the near post to double the advantage.

Lamar Neagle finished the job late in the 73rd minute after some clever play from Alvaro Fernandez. The Uruguayan intercepted a pass from Greg Berhalter before cutting inside and slipping the ball into the feet of Lamar Neagle.  The Washington native got a foot to the ball and nicked it past Saunders to seal the win. 

Striker Adam Cristman had brought the Galaxy back into contention in the 40th minute when he smashed home a good cross from Chris Birchall.  The goal revived the Galaxy at the tail end of the first half and LA would continue to force its way into the game.

But, despite looking threatening on a handful of occasions, the Galaxy couldn't click in the final third and time trickled out to a 3-1 loss.

 "It was a good atmosphere, good environment, and the turf actualy played OK.  But Seattle was good tonight, they deserved to win," said LA captain Landon Donovan.

"The first 20 minutes decided the game.  It didn't have to do with the lineup, we just didn't come out with the proper mentality.  We were naive.  We should have been more safe in the back and played the ball up the field a little more.  Instead, we tried to pass our way out of pressure."

Bruce Arena was quick to echo his captain's words.  "Seattle's start to the game was excellent, our reaction was poor and we were dominated in the first 25 minutes of the game."

"We came out in the second half and did alright, but the third goal broke our backs.  If you take away the first 25 minutes — which might be a pretty stupid statement — it got better and obviously at 3-1, we dug ourselves a hole and that's the way it is," said Arena. "The better team won the game."

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52 Responses to Seattle’s Open Cup defense still on, downs LA 3-1

  1. Hopper says:

    Great win by the Sounders. They played very well. If not for Jaqua squandering a million chances in the first half, it would have been a rout.

  2. cajun says:

    NYRB, this is how a USOC match should be played, perhaps you should take heed! Fantastic match and closer than score indicates.

  3. San says:

    Could have used Magee in goal…Birchall still needs to be upgraded for LA

  4. Rev up those Revs says:

    Say what you want about team caring about the USOC, you don’t win 12 straight games on accident. If FCD doesn’t beat them I don’t see of the Fire/Kickers could.

  5. Brit says:

    Richmond-Seattle would be awesome. David and Goliath – USOC style.

  6. Brit says:

    Is the final just going to be played at one of the teams’ stadiums this year?

  7. CJ says:

    Considering the turnout for last years final, it would behoove the organizers to stage the final in Seattle again. The atmosphere was fantastic. Surely the Sounders will be in it again. They seem to be one of the few MLS sides that care about the Cup.

  8. Sweens says:

    Seattle fan, but respect to Donovan and LA for playing unlike NYRB cop out. US Soccer owes that guy a great deal and he just keeps giving. With that said, glad you lost. We’re gonna win the US OPEN CUP!

  9. Rev up those Revs says:

    Richmond won the USOC in 1995 so they’ve been there before. I guess that was pre MLS though.

  10. jonk says:

    If they make the final, Richmond’s City Stadium holds 22K. That would be pretty sweet assuming they could fill it.

  11. jonk says:

    Interestingly, Seattle lost in the semis that year (not to Richmond, though).

  12. Rev up those Revs says:

    Ah, yes, who could forget those pesky El Paso Patriots. Really gave it a go.

  13. BWH says:

    This will matter when more than 1/8th of the MLS actually cares about it.

  14. sit down says:

    7/8 of MLS is still coming to grips with the PNW

  15. BWH says:

    And those matches are making it onto ESPN while the Open Cup is being played at the Starfire Sports Complex.

  16. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    Except for the final last year that drew like 30,000 to Qwest.

  17. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    1/8th? Try again. Pretty much everyone except NRYB is putting out at least B+ squads despite a heavy schedule, lineups that only improve in later rounds.

  18. dan says:

    LA lost the game on their own accord, horrible torrid defending. Birchall and Stephens were just the worst passers I have seen.

  19. dan says:

    LOL! Hate to break it to you but most of MLS still doesn’t care. I wish they would but they don’t

    The only way this will change is probably for more prize money and for the stupid man named Garber to clear up the schedule on Open Cup weekends (move matches to weekends). FA does it this way and it works nicely

  20. Terry says:

    And the Seattle Sounders are smart enough to realize that winning the Open Cup means a Champions League birth. Let them all continue to not care and the Sounders will continue to take the cup and the CCL berth. Look at the standings and you will see that they may not need it for the Champions League, but why not?

  21. BWH says:

    So Seattle cannot sell out the final yet they can sell out every home game? Not much of an argument you are creating for the Open Cup.

  22. Sweens says:

    You’re kind of missing the point and the attraction of the Open Cup and what sets it apart from the MLS league games. It’s sort of like when big name bands secretly play small venues. The level of access and intimacy is hard to reach in any other professional sport – maybe baseball spring training is it’s closest comparison, but this is better. I tell friends in Europe I sat 3 feet away from where Landon Donovan launched in a corner, a Freddie Ljungberg throw-in, etc and they can’t believe it. The Sounders at least are fortunate where they could draw more to Open Cup games, but chose to keep them intimate and in the spirit of the Open Cup, which I think is a great call.

    I’ll be happy when the Open Cup gets past things like the NYRB stunt, though very sad when it can’t reasonably be done at Starfire any longer.

  23. BWH says:

    I agree, no one else wants it so why not take it for yourself? That is fine but lets not pretend this Cup is anywhere near the level of the MLS Cup or Supporter’s Shield. Seattle will likely win three in a row because they showed up with the best team, not because they are actually the best team in the tournament.

  24. BWH says:

    Right, because a B+ side is something fans want to go out and see. How many are watching the Revs lose to ManUnited and how many are watching Seattle v LA at Starfire? The Open Cup ranks below mid-season friendlies.

  25. BWH says:

    I actually applaud the Red Bulls for telling Garber and the MLS how unimportant the Open Cup is. Something needs to change about it because most teams and fans do not care. The intimacy factor is cute, but something you can get from friendlies, preseason, and reserve league matches. Even with a CCL birth on the line most teams are fielding reserves.

  26. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    Wasn’t part of the season ticket package, so 31,300 attending is actually a hell of an argument for the Open Cup.

  27. cajun says:

    Yeah, because the NYRB showcase is SO full of hardware. I guess the Emirates Cup (which you have no chance of taking) is the ultimate goal vice the oldest cup in the USA.
    Go New Jersey Red Bulls!

  28. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    Seriously? How asinine. MLS *playoff games* draw a fraction of a midseason friendly involving Man United. Which obviously means no one in MLS cares about the MLS playoffs, right? Heck, by your logic only the PNW, Toronto, and maybe LA care about MLS at all.

    Whether or not people want to watch a B+ squad isn’t the point. The point is that playing B+ squads in midweek matches means you’re also playing B+ squads in MLS matches on the weekends bookending the USOC date—or you’re just playing on tired legs in MLS matches. Which means teams are compromising league success for USOC matches. Which means teams care. Get it?

  29. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    Yeah some of that wasn’t pretty. Lots of teams really struggle with the atmosphere and the size of the pitch at Starfire. And did I mention the artificial surface?

  30. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    Well said, Sweens. FYI, sounds like preliminary discussions are underway to expand the main stadium at Starfire from 4,500 up to something in the 7,000+ range. Hopefully this will make Starfire plausible for a little longer.

  31. john says:

    I wish my team (NY) had taken this tournie as serious as Seattle does every year.

  32. Charles says:

    The only person I give a crap about cares.

    Me.

    I hope they have the Dallas game at ex-Qwest…..

    THREEPEEEEEEAT !

  33. Kosh says:

    “What was your name again? Oh yes, Apple. Hi I’m Orange.”

  34. BerlinTexas says:

    You’ve got to respect Seattle’s attitude towards the US Open Cup. Every year they approach it as if it’s their cup to lose. You can tell they take it seriously and it shows. Hat tip.

  35. BWaHaHaHa says:

    That is some fuzzy logic. Ask any Crew member what the final atmosphere was like… The crowd will be even bigger this year if SSFC reaches the final

  36. BWaHaHaHa says:

    OR Seattle’s Squad is deep?

  37. sammysounder says:

    Sounders don’t care if it’s mls cup, supporters shield, open cup or a plastic cup. We play to win. How would you feel if you’d just traveled to see your team and they fielded that travesty? This is why Sounders are epic and Red Bull is $2 at 7/11.

  38. marco says:

    Jaqua missed a couple of difficult 3 footers in what should have been a rout.

  39. Lassidawg says:

    No it wasn’t part of the season ticket package

  40. bryan says:

    if richmond made it to the final and were able to host it, they could sell it out. richmond is actually a big soccer town. im not saying they would sell out normal games, but a USOC final, yeah, they could sell it out.

  41. Tohoya says:

    Chicago-Seattle has a great storyline, too- the old guard faces the pretender to the throne to claim the title of “The King of the Cup”

  42. Tohoya says:

    No, Seattle is winning tournaments because they’re the deepest team in the league, and have been since their inception. There’s a reason why the Sounders have claimed 21 points in the reserve league and their closest competitor sits with 9.

  43. Will says:

    If only Sigi could put as much emphasis o the Champions League….

  44. Grant says:

    I don’t criticize NYRB for doing what they did. Their intent is to win the MLS Cup this year. They may very well fail in this endeavor but that’s what they are shooting for. Seattle has won the last two Open Cups and I would argue it cost them in MLS which is why they have been flameouts in the playoffs. I don’t really care if you take the Red Bulls approach or the Sounders approach, just understand what is at stake. The scheduling is what makes this tournament not mean much to MLS clubs. Seattle’s goal is to win every time out? And that’s why they’ve been bested by Houston and Los Angeles in the playoffs. Of course its the goal of the players on the field to win, but until the schedule changes, if you want to take the MLS Cup seriously, you better prioritize your matches as such.

  45. Travis S. says:

    The Sounders were knocked out of the playoffs because of concentration on the USOC, seriously? It is what,4 games? starting in July?

    I think it might have been one or two more than that their first year because of the play-in rounds, but the play-in rounds definitely had more reserves, but starters were on the bench ready if needed.

    It is less about prioritizing and more about knowing how to utilize and put together a deep squad.

  46. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    Yeah, that’s a tough argument to make Grant.

    Also, the strength of the lineup they throw out is really being exaggerated in this and other threads as well. The Sounders more or less played their first 11 for the last two finals, but other than that they mix-and-match starters and reserves just like everyone else. Let’s not forget Kasey Keller didn’t play last night and Landon Donovan did.

  47. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    Lassidawg I’m confused: are you disagreeing with me?

  48. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    OK that would be awesome.

  49. Mikey says:

    Closer than the score indicates?

    Outside of corner kicks, Seattle dominated LA in every facet of the game. The game very well should have been 6-1 or 7-1 with how many blown chances the Sounders had.

  50. Mikey says:

    Then most of the MLS is stupid.

    Open Cup = path of least resistance to Champions’ League

    To not take advantage of that is what is stupid.

  51. Mikey says:

    Your logic sucks.

    30k people – even if not a sell-out – is still more than every other stadium in the league even has capacity for.