The defending two-time US Open Cup champion Seattle Sounders grabbed a two-goal lead on a pair of Mike Fucito goals, but were unable to cruise to victory in a Puget Sound showdown against the local PDL Kitsap Pumas, who fought back in a contest that finished in a back-and-forth 2-1 decision.
Photo: Corky Trewin / SoundersFC.com
With a ninth consecutive tournament victory (in regulation or penalty kicks) over the course of three years, the MLS club made history with the longest such streak as they started their quest to become the first team to three-peat since New York Greek American Atlas, who accomplished the feat from 1967-69. Seattle advances to the Quarterfinals to face the Los Angeles Galaxy, who are also looking for a third US Open Cup championship.
Continual pressure from the top flight club finally found a result in the 39th minute when Nate Jaqua, who scored five goals in the three previous Open Cup games at Starfire Sports Stadium the past two years, knocked the ball down for Fucito.
Fucito would double the advantage in the 62nd minute by dancing through the Kitsap defense and around the goalkeeper, 2011 Sounders draft pick Bryan Meredith, before finding the back of the net.
With Kitsap appearing to tire and a win appearing to be in hand, the Pumas dug deep and found a second breath. Leading the resurgence was former MLS number one draft pick Nik Besagno. A cross from Second Round hero Robbie Christner found Besagno for the easy finish in the 71st minute, setting up a tense finish.
Four minutes later Meredith made an excellent save, one of several on the night, to deny Miguel Montano from restoring a two-goal Sounders advantage, and then stopped Jaqua as well.
Warlen Silva had a great opportunity for an equalizer with a breakaway but missed on a brilliant chance. Meredith was forced to play the hero again, making yet another save after Osvaldo Alonso beat three tied Pumas players for a chance.
With the final seconds ticking away, Stephen Mohn sent in a cross to Silva for a final look that, symbolically, proved just a shade too high for the onrushing Brazilian.
TheCup.us Match MVP: Mike Fucito
SEA — Mike Fucito (Nate Jaqua) 39
SEA — Mike Fucito (unassisted) 62
KIT — Nikolas Besagno (Robert Christner) 71
KIT — Taylor Hyde (caution; Reckless Tackle) 43
KIT — Dan Scott (caution; Tactical Foul) 80
Kitsap Pumas — Bryan Meredith, Stephen Mohn, Taylor Hyde, Dan Scott, Mark Lee, Matt Friesen (David Gray 84), Nikolas Besagno, Elliott Fauske, Cameron Hepple (Tye Perdido 83), Robert Christner, Bryan Burke (Warlen Silva 69).
Substitutes Not Used: Zac Lubin, Samuel Roca, Chris Andre, Kendell McFayden.
Seattle Sounders — Terry Boss, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez, Taylor Graham, Michael Tetteh, David Estrada (Pat Noonan 54), Osvaldo Alonso, Mike Seamon (Servando Carrasco 85), Miguel Montano, Mike Fucito (Jeff Parke 68), Nate Jaqua.
Substitutes Not Used: Roger Levesque, Lamar Neagle, Tyson Wahl, Josh Ford.
Referee: Tyler Ploeger
Referee’s Assistants: Mike Rottersman; Jeff Hosking
4th Official: William Niccolls
Weather: Cloudy and 63 degrees