Photo by Jane Gershovich/JaneG. Photography
By JASON MITCHELL
Eighteen corner kicks, 31 shots, and overtime couldn’t get the job done Tuesday night, but the Seattle Sounders made quick business of the San Jose Earthquakes on penalty kicks, advancing to the quarterfinals in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Alan Gordon hit the post on San Jose’s second attempt before goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann snuffed out rookie J.J. Koval’s shot on the Earthquakes’ next turn. Brad Evans, Gonzalo Pineda, Lamar Neagle, and Marco Pappa all converted for Seattle, lifting the Sounders to a 1-1 (4-1) victory at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Wash.
With the win, Seattle moved to a shimmering 16-0 in Open Cup home matches and is now three victories away from winning the tournament for the fourth time in six years.
Seattle lifted three straight Open Cup trophies from 2009 to 2011, fell to Sporting Kansas City on penalties in the 2012 final, and was upset by the lower-tier Tampa Bay Rowdies in the third round last year.
San Jose opened the scoring against the run of play in the 24th minute through Steven Lenhart, who chested down a lobbed ball, turned on Zach Scott, and buried a 19-yard shot past Hahnemann.
The lead would barely last two minutes.
In the 26th minute, Kenny Cooper stepped into a short pass from Lamar Neagle and easily beat goalkeeper David Bingham with a clinical one-touch finish from 12 yards out.
The Sounders outplayed San Jose the entire night, but hit the frame three times and were repeatedly denied by Bingham. Even what looked like a sure Clarence Goodson own-goal ricocheted off the post.
San Jose’s first real chance after halftime came in the 110th minute, but Hahnemann made a diving save on a 19-yard free kick from Khari Stephenson. In the 119th minute rookie J.J. Koval got free one-on-one with Hahnemann, but skied an 8-yard shot well over the crossbar.
Both teams fielded strong lineups, with the Sounders playing most available starters except Obafemi Martins and Osvaldo Alonso. Clarence Goodson and Steven Lenhart both started for San Jose, and Alan Gordon came on midway through the second half.
For an Earthquakes team looking for a lift in a , the loss is another disappointment in a middling Open Cup history. The Quakes reached the semifinal in 2004, but have never raised the Open Cup trophy in 10 tries.
Seattle opened the match brightly, with Lamar Neagle forcing David Bingham into a diving save in just the 12th minute. Seattle controlled most of the first half, with Clarence Goodson nearly scored an own goal off a Brad Evans cross
The Sounders will host the Portland Timbers in the quarterfinals at Starfire on July 9. Portland defeated Four days later Seattle will host Portland in league play at CenturyLink Stadium in Seattle.
Excited for another entry in the rivalry between Portland and Seattle? Disappointed the Earthquakes will have to wait at least another year for an Open Cup trophy?
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