Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Sounders roar back to lift the cup
by Ridge Mahoney, October 6th, 2010 1:25AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  columbus crew, seattle sounders, us open cup

MOST COMMENTED

[U.S. OPEN CUP] Neutral fans and skeptical pundits seldom praise the U.S. Open Cup, but even the most disdainful critics had to be impressed by what Seattle and Columbus produced at Qwest Field in the 2010 final Tuesday night. Driven by the roars and cheers of 31,311 fans, the largest crowd to see an Open Cup final in the competition’s 97-year history, Seattle rallied from a 1-0 deficit with a pair of goals by Sanna Nyassito down the Crew, 2-1, and repeat as champion.

Trailing to a Kevin Burns goal in the 24th minute, Seattle tied it up in the 38th minute when Nyassi ran down a weak goalkeeper clearance to drill a low shot into the net. Nyassi notched the winner with 24 minutes left blasting home the rebound of Steve Zakuani’s header off the crossbar.

Crew coach Robert Warzycha and Sounders head man Sigi Schmid both fielded strong lineups of regular starters but rewarded a few players for their work in Open Cup matches leading up to the final. Warzycha used keeper Andy Gruenebaum, who’d played every minute in the Open Cup; Schmid gave another start to left back Tyson Wahl, who has played in only three league matches all season.

Burns had played only one of the Crew’s three previous Open Cup games this season; in league play, he’d started four of his six games, played only 336 minutes and taken just one shot. He’d played eight games last year after not appearing for the first team the previous two seasons after being selected in the 2007 SuperDraft. He got the start in part because an injury had ruled Robbie Rogersout of the starting lineup.

In the final minutes Rogers replaced Eddie Gaven, who’d failed to finish a pair of good chances, and nearly tied the match in the 88th minute when he hit a Frankie Hejduk centering pass first-time. It flashed over keeper Kasey Keller, caromed off the crossbar, and by that narrow margin Seattle captured an incredibly entertaining match.

Nyassi, acquired after playing for his native Gambia in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, had scored his first league goal this season only last weekend in a 3-2 triumph over Toronto. Despite playing in 20 games (10 starts) and registering three assists he hadn’t been able to get a goal until the Toronto game, but in the final his raiding runs on the right side and those of Steve Zakuani on the opposite flank unhinged the Crew defense several times.

Sounders forwardFredy Montero took three shots in the first 15 minutes, sparked perhaps by statements from general manager Adrian Hanauer prior to the game that the electrifying young Colombian striker is worthy of a Designated Player slot. But Columbus rode out that initial period of Sounders’ pressure to take a 1-0 lead on a splendid exchange of passes down the right flank among Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Frankie Hejduk and Steven Lenhart, who provided final short pass that Burns smacked first-time a foot inside the far post from 15 yards out.

Nyassi equalized after Gruenebaum collided with him trying to punch clear a Tyson Wahl lofted cross. Nathan Sturgis dueled with Schelotto for the ball, which popped loose and Nyassi reacted quickest to hit a hard, low shot past Gruenebaum.

Schelotto’s effort and guile prompted a few threatening sequences by the Crew, but with Lenhart and Emmanuel Ekpo stifled, Seattle enjoyed more effective possession and got its winner when a cross from the right flank dropped for Zakuani at the far post. His header off the bounce hit the bar, and as had been the case on the first Seattle goal, Crew players reacted slowly as Nyassi quickly pounced.

A few seconds earlier, Nyassi had been on the right wing and tapped a short ball to Montero. Nyassi then circled into the goalmouth as Montero’s cross drifted over the back line. No defender picked him up and he easily thumped home the rebound to earn the Sounders a return trip to the Concacaf Champions’ League and into the history books.

In the lead-up to the 2010 final, many mentions were made of the past history between the respective head coaches recurred. Seattle coach Schmid was in charge of the Galaxy in 2002 when it played the Crew -- featuring current head coach Robert Warzycha as playmaker -- in Columbus and lost, 1-0. Both the late Lamar Hunt and his son, Clark Hunt, cited that victory – on a cold night in front of only 6,054 fans – as an important milestone in the team’s history. Warzycha served as Schmid’s assistant for three seasons before Schmid left to take the Seattle job prior to the 2009 season.

After Seattle reached the 2009 Open Cup final, general manager Adrian Hanauer got into a verbal tussle with D.C. United president Kevin Payne over which team should host the final. D.C. won the right to host, but Seattle won the trophy by prevailing, 2-1, in front of 17,329 fans at RFK Stadium. Many MLS teams, and their fans, don’t regard the Open Cup as all that important. Lineups teeming with backups are common, but there are exceptions.

By winning again Tuesday, Seattle became the first MLS team to repeat as Open Cup champion; the last team to repeat was the New York Pancyrian-Freedoms in 1982 and 1983. The victory also gives it the chance to replicate the doubles recorded by D.C. United (1996), Chicago (1998), and the Galaxy (2005) as champions of both MLS Cup and Open Cup.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
USA-Costa Rica: Olympic tuneups end with easy win    
The USA closed out its preparations for the Olympic women's soccer tournament on Friday when it ...
Video Pick: Golazo by Dortmund's Dembele vs. Manchester United    
Why did Borussia Dortmund spend a reported $15 million to get 19-year-old Ousmane Dembele from French ...
Arsenal names roster for U.S. trip    
Arsenal's preliminary list of players who will travel to the United States includes American midfielder Gedion ...
What They're Saying: Axel Sjoberg    
"I don't think I have to sell myself to Dominic Kinnear. He picked the team and ...
USA-Costa Rica: Scorcher expected for final Rio tuneup    
The USA plays its last game before it heads off to the Rio Olympics when it ...
MLS Countdown: Marsch comments roil waters for derby    
Three times a year comes the question: will New York be red or blue? The Hudson ...
Crowd Count: FC Cincinnati sets another USL record    
FC Cincinnati set a USL single-season attendance record when it drew 16,127 fans Wednesday at Nippert ...
MLS Countdown: Quakes duo has red cards rescinded    
The San Jose Earthquakes will have their Panamaniacs available for a game at Real Salt Lake ...
MLS Moves: Orlando bolsters backline with Aja signing    
The first player signed by Orlando City after the hiring of head coach Jason Kreis has ...
U.S. Abroad: Ankle injury sidelines Hyndman    
Emerson Hyndman, who joined Premier League club Bournemouth from Fulham as a free agent in the ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives