Dusting off an old Sounders keychain, I found a message from their USL days. It’s a simple slogan lacking originality. But sends a clear message. Defeat Chivas USA, Wednesday at Starfire and the Sounders earn the right to defend their three consecutive US Open Cup titles. A unique American sports dynasty that Sounders would like to defend while striving for a fourth.
Sporting Kansas City travels to PPL Park in Philadelphia to face the Philadelphia Union in the other Wednesday semifinal.
Three is not enough. Seattle have already established a modern US Open Cup dynasty winning three straight US Open Cups. From the 2009 inaugural season to the present they have reigned supreme. Possibly more significant than winning three straight cups is tomorrows semifinal with Chivas USA, which marks Seattle’s sixth consecutive trip to the US Open Cup semifinal round. A tremendous achievement in the cups ninety-nine year history. A mark extraordinary enough to likely stand for another hundred years.
If the Sounders make it past Chivas they will become only the second team to accomplish the feat. The last being Stix, Baer and Fuller (St Louis Central Breweries) from 1932-1935.
Advantage Levesque or advantage Riley?
Teammates and fan favorites from the Sounders inaugural season and the run of three US Open Cups. Roger Levesque and James Riley face one another as opponents this time. Both are steady cogs in each clubs lineups. Never the star, but always accountable.
Roger Levesque plays any position. From Defender to Forward. James Riley was a steady Right Back for Seattle’s first three seasons. He plays the Right Back position consistently for Chivas USA since being picked up by Montreal and subsequently traded in the Expansion Draft. Levesque has played for the Sounders since their USL days. He’s been part of each of the Sounders six-year run at reaching as far as the semifinal.
Starfire’s home advantage. Riley knows Sounders home away from home pitch at Starfire as well as any opponent Sounders could face. The short field plays quickly. Teams have little space to build a midfield attack. It makes for an exciting game for fans as the possession transitions like hockey quickly from defense to attack. Riley will be able to help Chivas prepare for that style of play.
For the Sounders, there is an intriguing simultaneous duel they are fighting for beyond the one with Chivas USA to reach the US Open Cup finals. One for respect. The US Open Cup does not get its due credit as an American sporting institution. And the Sounders aren’t treated like a reigning champion.
Rather than the Sounders having home-field advantage throughout this years competition as reigning champions. They lost home-field hosting rights to Sporting Kansas City with a coin flip. A sporting flop. A coin flip determines who kicks off and who defends. Not who hosts a match.
In any other major sporting league the Seattle Sounders US Open Cup accomplishments would be more highly regarded by their peers. Winning the US Open Cup is a direct path to CONCACAF Champions League. The Sounders have benefitted from punching their CCL ticket before any other MLS club the past three years. But MLS clubs often show up to US Open Cup matches ill prepared. Portland losing 1-0 to Cal FC may have even been the match that undid John Spencer’s coaching position for Portland. The Sounders don’t need any parades, but more acknowledgment from Major League Soccer and their club peers would help grow the interest and image of the 99-year-old knockout competition.
There are no guarantees, but if the Sounders defeat Chivas USA, they will be making a fourth consecutive US Open Cup Finals appearance. Their dynasty becomes legacy.
The Final may well be a name changing event. From US Open Cup, to Seattle’s Open Cup.
2007 – Seattle Sounders lose to FC Dallas 2-1 overtime – Qwest Field, Seattle, WA (Semifinal)
2008 – Seattle Sounders draw Charlotte Battery 1-1, lose on Penalty Kicks (4-2) – Charlotte, NC (Semifinal)
2009 – Seattle Sounders FC defeat DC United 2-1 – RFK Stadium, Washington, DC
2010 – Seattle Sounders FC defeat Columbus Crew 2-1 – Qwest Field, Seattle, WA
2011 – Seattle Sounders FC defeat Chicago Fire 2-nil – CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
2012 – Seattle Sounders FC vs Chivas USA – Starfire Sports Complex, Tukwila, WA (Semifinal)
© 2012 Sales on Sounders by Ryan J Sales