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Seattle aims for fourth title in USL-1 final vs. Atlanta
September 28th, 2007 11:36AM
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The Seattle Sounders will be aiming for their fourth USL First Division title Saturday (Fox Soccer Channel, 10 pm ET) when it hosts the Atlanta Silverbacks, who are making their first final appearance. The Sounders won titles in 1995, 1996 and 2005. And this year's championship game marks their third final appearance in four years. Here's how that run compares to past USL clubs ...

Rochester Rhinos (1998-2001)
1998: In their third year of existence, won the regular season title with the league's highest win total (24-4) in modern history (26 or more game season) and went on to capture the championship. They were the last team to do both.
1999: While the Rhinos fell short in the championship, they again were the regular-season champions (22-6). In the U.S. Open Cup they celebrated four wins over Major League Soccer teams to become the only non-MLS side to win the title since the MLS's inception in 1996.
2000: The Rhinos slipped to second in their division, but rose to the occasion in the playoffs to reach the final again and reclaim the championship.
2001: Second in their division again, the Rhinos won a title for the fourth consecutive year.

Colorado Foxes (1992-1994)
1992: In their second year in the league, the Foxes claimed the regular season title with a mark of 11-5 and went on to win their first championship.
1993: Colorado slipped to second in the regular season, but defended their championship in the postseason for a second straight title.
1994: Despite finishing tied for the second best record at 12-8, the Foxes were fourth in the table in points. But they upset the regular-season champion Sounders to reach the final, where they fell 1-0 to the Montreal Impact.

Minnesota Thunder (1998-2000)
1998: You can't discuss the Rhinos dynasty without including Minnesota as the two squared off in three consecutive finals. The Thunder finished second in the division and advanced to the USL-1 final in their second year in the league. It was their third appearance in a USL final in five years.
1999: Minnesota jumped to the top of their division and went on to capture their first championship in four finals appearances, spoiling Rochester's shot at a double on the year.
2000: The Thunder claimed the regular-season title, but Rochester got its revenge by reclaiming the title in the championship game.

Seattle Sounders (2004-2005, 2007)
2004:
The Sounders finished middle of the pack in the division on the season at 13-11-4, but made a remarkable run in the postseason to reach the championship before falling in Montreal.
2005: Seattle again made another amazing playoff run after finishing fourth with a record of 11-6-11 on the year. The Sounders reached the championship, where they claimed their third title in team history with a win over Richmond in penalties.
2007: After missing the postseason by one point in defense of their title in 2006, the Sounders rolled to a 16-6-6 record to claim the Commissioner's Cup as the regular-season champion. They became the first regular-season champion to reach the final since the 2000 Minnesota Thunder.

San Jose Earthquakes (1985, 1987-1988)
1985:
In the first year of the Western Soccer Alliance, born out of the ashes of the NASL, the Earthquakes won the league title with a record of 4-2-1. There were no playoffs.
1987: San Jose rebounded from a second-to-last place finish in 1986 to finish in a three-way tie for first a year later at 5-5. They fell in the championship to the regular-season champion San Diego Nomads.
1988: While the Western Soccer League (formerly WSA) and American Soccer League, which was the East Coast equivalent, were still completely independent, San Jose again finished third, but advanced to the final. They lost to the Seattle Storm.



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