The Seattle Sounders are the epitome of a great soccer franchise both on and off the pitch. Last night in front of 31,311 fans, the largest crowd to ever witness a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final, the Seattle Sounders FC became the first team to repeat as champion in almost three decades with a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew.
“I’m extremely proud of our team,” said Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid. “We talked about being able to win tonight and doing something special. We’re the first MLS team to repeat and the first to repeat in a long time. The guys really took it to heart and even though we went down 1-0, they showed a lot of character.”
The Sounders had all the early momentum and Fredy Montero had three good chances in the opening fifteen minutes, but it was Columbus who struck first. And what a goal it was. Emmanuel Ekpo fed the ball up the field for Guillermo Barros Schelotto who one-touched a pass into the penalty area for a streaking Frankie Hejduk from his right back position. Hejduk darted towards goal before sliding the ball back to Steven Lenhart, and he quickly found Burns open to his left, allowing the midfielder to hit a first time blast into the lower left corner past a stretching Kasey Keller. A goal worthy of any cup final.
The Sounders got back on level terms in the 38th minute when a goalkeeping error by Andy Gruenenbaum allowed Nyassi to slot the ball home past the stranded Genenbaum.
It was Nyassi who got the game winner in the second half. A cross from Montero was met by Zakuani whose header hit the corssbar and Nyassi was first to pounce on the lose ball and prod the ball home.
As a reward for winning the U.S. Open Cup the Sounders have earned a spot in next year’s CONCACAF Champions League.
Game highlights are below: