Sounders launch Cup defense with rout

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By JASON MITCHELL

Leave it to the Seattle Sounders, winners of three straight U.S. Open Cups, to at least momentarily restore a semblance of order to what has been an unpredictable tournament.

A night after lower-tier teams massacred MLS sides, the Sounders dominated the NASL's Atlanta Silverbacks in a 5-1 rout. Four second-half goals, including a pair from Sammy Ochoa, led the way to a thrashing at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash.

The victory slots Seattle through to host Cal FC, the fifth-tier team that shocked the Portland Timbers later Wednesday night. The amateur side out of Thousand Oaks, Calif., will visit Starfire Tuesday night.

Ochoa capped the scoring with his brace, but rookie Andy Rose opened it just before half, ripping a shot from the top of the box past a helpless Joe Nasco in the 44th minute. It was the first career goal for the rookie out of UCLA, who appears to have earned the role of first alternate behind Brad Evans in the central midfield.

Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso added an insurance goal just as the second half got underway, taking a beautifully weighted ball from Cordell Cato and slapping it across the face of the goal into the far-side netting in the 47th minute.

It looked for a moment like the Silverbacks might still make a match of it, as former Chilean international Reinaldo Navia fired a rocket from the top of the box in the 53rd minute to pull the Silverbacks within a goal.

The Sounders, however, answered less than a minute later. Alex Caskey ripped a left-footer past two defenders and Nasco to restore the two-goal lead. As with Rose, it was Caskey's first goal in a Seattle uniform.

Ochoa then put the match beyond all doubt, racking up his brace in less than five minutes. In the 62nd minute, Ochoa received a beautiful through-ball from Alonso before whizzing a shot past Nasco. Just four minutes later, he fielded a deflected David Estrada shot at the top of the box and buried a powerful one-touch shot into the right-side of the net.

Ochoa, acquired via the allocation order process last August, looked promising in scoring two goals for Seattle late last season. But he has barely stepped on the pitch this year, earning just 53 minutes across three MLS appearances.

The Silverbacks came out looking for the win in an aggressive 4-3-3 that left Seattle plenty of room for through-balls and overlapping attacks. Seattle, fielding a mixed but strong lineup featuring several regulars, threatened early and often.

Only solid work from Nasco kept the match from getting out of hand earlier than it did. The Sounders outshot the Silverbacks 10-5 and forced Nasco into four saves in the first half alone, including a beautiful fingertip stop on Caskey just moments before Rose opened the scoring.

The Silverbacks managed a couple of half-chances against the run of play in the first half, but never seriously threatened.

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17 Responses to Sounders launch Cup defense with rout

  1. Gnarls says:

    Yeah yeah yeah, Seattle’s cool. They have really bright jerseys.

    Can we get to the Cal FC story now?!

  2. Hopper says:

    Sounders! What happened Portland?

  3. k says:

    Enjoyed the Seattle game but not as much as I enjoyed the comments from timbers fans after they were demoralized by Cal FC.

  4. T says:

    The new Open Cup format has made the tournament a little more “Open”. I haven’t seen that much giant-killing from MLS sides in a while, and I’m not a Sounders fan but they’ll probably win the Cup for the 4th consecutive year.

  5. g-dub says:

    The comments on the Timbers live game feed were hilarious.

    “the former Armenian second division leading scorer scores on Portland in extra time for the win. Can’t make this stuff up.”

  6. yeh ives lead off with the real story!
    eric fu wynalda!
    mls editing you?

  7. Gnarls says:

    That dubious claim to fame evidently has more to it than “highest goalscorer in the history of the Scottish Premier League.”

    Aghasyan > Boyd

  8. Jya says:

    Agreed that was the more interesting story of the 2 Open cup games last night

  9. lassidawg says:

    Only reason Sounders line up doesn’t look reserve laiden is because of all the injuries have meant these guys have been playing.

    If everyone were healthy the regulars last night would be Parke, Alonso and Estrada. Alonso only played because of his suspension in the MLS. The Sounders have good depth no matter who they throw out there.

    I loved it when Boyd subbed out because he was injured, he may have been but I think it was his pride after missing the PK.

  10. lassidawg says:

    Portland sure does struggle with those USASA teams out of California in 2008 it was Hollywood United and now this.

    Simple priceless for Sounder fans

  11. In 2005 I played for an amateur team out of Indianapolis that beat a USL from Cincinnati. The feeling of a bunch of weekend warriors defeating a professional team is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. We even got mentioned in USA Today. I’m sure at this point in my life that it’s the greatest soccer experience I’ll ever have as a player.

    Congratulations to Cal FC. What you guys did is nothing short of amazing. You’ll remember it for the rest of your lives.

  12. WileyJ says:

    Right on. +1

  13. Charles says:

    Amen to that.

  14. Charles says:

    Cool story, obviously you can relate, thanks for sharing.

  15. Charles says:

    Is there anyone not dressed in Rave Green that is rooting for the Sounders ? no.

    Cinderella must die.

    Go Se4ttle Sounders !

  16. Chupacabra says:

    You can count on it (like a big stack of greenbacks).

  17. yankiboy says:

    Wow. Must have been nice when you took down the Kings…