By JASON MITCHELL
TUKWILA, Wash. – Thanks to a swarming 11-man effort, the brilliance of Osvaldo Alonso, and yet another goal from the suddenly torrid Eddie Johnson, the Seattle Sounders have reached their fourth consecutive Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final.
No team has appeared in four straight finals since 1935.
A match the Sounders dominated and led 2-0 early in the second half briefly evened out just past the hour-mark. In the 74thminute, Cesar Romero pulled Chivas within a goal on a close-rangerebound off Seattle goalkeeper Bryan Meredith.
But Chivas wasunable to squeeze more than a goal from its surge, and the Sounders answered quickly and repeatedly.
BradEvans ended all doubt in the 83rd minute when he received a perfectly-weighted pass into the box from Fredy Montero and decisively finished torestore the two goal lead.
Even up 3-1, the Sounders weren't done. Not in this tournament. Not in this stadium.
Inthe 88th minute, Sammy Ochoa—who subbed in barely three minutesearlier—found a loose ball in the box and put it into the far-sidenetting past a charging Kennedy.
For Chivas USA, the loss ends their latest and perhaps most promising effort to secure the organization's first trophy. It also continues a frustrating run against Seattle in the Open Cup. Seattle not onlyknockedChivas USA out ofthe semifinal round in2010, but as aUSL-1 sideeliminated Chivas inboth 2007 and 2008 as well.
The loss also decisively closes a strong run that saw Chivas lose just once intheir last 11 competitive matches heading into the evening.
For the Sounders, the victory provides a chance to become the first team towinfourconsecutive titles in the competition’s 99-year history. SportingKC,having defeated the Philadelphia Union earlier Wednesday and byvirtueof a tie-breaker, will host the Sounders at Livestrong SportingPark on Wednesday, Aug. 8
And the win extends the Sounders' dominance at Starfire Sports Stadium.They are now undefeated at the intimate Tukwila site since entering MLSin 2009. In their three Open Cup matches at the stadium this year they have outscored opponents 14-3.
The trend continued Wednesday, as Sounders FC pressured throughout on the way to outshooting Chivas 18-4. That pressure started early, as Seattle racked up 11 first-half shots.
Although the goals would flow late in the 4-1 victory, Johnson scored on the counter in the 31st minute to record the lone goal of the first half. Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso released Johnson, who then deftly sidestepped a single defender to find himself one-on-one with keeper Dan Kennedy. Johnson buried a shot into the right corner to give Seattle a lead it would never relinquish.
It was Johnson’s sixth goal in his last eight matches across all competitions.
Alonso gave Seattle a 2-0 lead on a penalty kick in the 47th minuteafter defender Rauwshan McKenzie was called for bringing down Montero in thebox.