2012 US Open Cup Round 3: Seattle Sounders tame Silverbacks as third title defense beginso)

Posted by | May 31, 2012

Sammy Ochoa | Photo: Brandon Bleek/Prost Amerika

Three-time defending Open Cup Champion Seattle Sounders FC returned to the field on Wednesday, hosting the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks. The fact that this game was at Starfire Soccer Complex in itself was controversial, as Seattle had bought the hosting rights from Atlanta, one of two MLS teams to do so. However, the Sounders avoided the fate Real Salt Lake had endured the night before with a 5-1 rout of their Southern opponent.

With the win, the Sounders extend their record 18-game Open Cup unbeaten streak (15-0-3, 2-1 in PKs) that dates back to 2008. The club has still yet to lose a game in the tournament since joining MLS in 2009.

Cordell Cato causes problems for Raphael Cox. Photo: Mike Russell | Prost Amerika

Seattle controlled the run of play early and often from the start, with Sammy Ochoa forcing Atlanta keeper Joe Nesco to save a low shot 30 seconds into the match. Ochoa, Cordell Cato, and Osvaldo Alonso were all active in the early going, as Seattle fired freely, and fired often. While not fielding all of their starters, the Sounders had plenty of battle-tested depth to pick from, and the Silverbacks had a hard time containing, bending, but somehow not breaking under the pressure. Nesco appeared to have less and less confidence in his defense as the half rolled on, playing off the line unusually often for a netminder.

Atlanta finally started getting some chances about 25 minutes in, but Seattle’s defense was locked tightly, as keeper Bryan Meredith did not register a save in the half. The Silverbacks were visibly frustrated, as forward Reinaldo Navia was seen shouting at the referee and his assistants throughout the rest of the half, flirting very closely with being carded. The Sounders came very close to breaking through on a very bizarre play 38 minutes in, as Nasco collieded with a defender, and Alonso shot from around 40 yards away. Nasco did get a hand on the ball, but was extremely close to being outside of the box, though the refs instead let the ball slide out for one of ten corner kicks for the home side. Alex Caskey continued the pressure two minutes from half, forcing Nesco to tip a shot over the crossbar for another corner. On the ensuing corner, the ball bounced through traffic to the back of the penalty box. Andy Rose was right in position, and shot a screaming right footer that burned the twine as it gave Seattle the lead going into the half.

Sounders fans want to see their team win an unprecedented fourth straight US Open Cup title. Photo: Rod Mar | Seattle Sounders FC

The Sounders doubled their lead quickly in the second half, as Cato continued to frustrate the Silverback defense. He sent the ball up to Alonso, who ran right around the defense and deposited the ball past Nasco for a 2-0 lead. Atlanta then gave Seattle a scare (and proved that a 2-0 lead is the hardest to keep in soccer) six minutes later. Defender Shane Moroney sent a ball onto Navia, whose hammer just inside the box beat Meredith and put the Silverbacks on the board. However, Caskey answered quickly for the Washingtonians, as he intercepted a clearance, outran the defense and once again had Nasco fetching the ball from the twine just a minute later.

The goal seemed to take the steam out of the Silverbacks, and things got chippy in the 59th minute as Navia came in with a real late tackle on Seattle’s Marc Burch, and the two engaged in a shoving match in Atlanta’s half. The scrum was eventually sorted out, and both players ended up with yellow cards. The Sounders refused to sit back though, as Alonso played a through ball to Ochoa after the ordeal was sorted out, and Ochoa shot inside the far post to make it 4-1. Just four minutes later, Ochoa once again capitalized on a sloppy Atlanta defense, taking subsitute David Estrada’s blocked shot and slicing twthe defense from the right side of the box to notch a brace. He was subbed out to a standing ovation shortly thereafter for Open Cup hero Roger Levesque, a smart move as Atlanta continued to play chippy.

Levesque, Estrada, and fellow sub Servando Carrasco were intent on getting in on the action as well, continuing to put pressure on Nasco and the defense to the end. Cato, who had tormented the Atlanta defenders all match long, was dealt a hard foul by late sub Jordan Davis, who earned a yellow for his late bump in the back. Seattle finished with 24 shots, and 14 on goal, never giving Atlanta much breathing room on the night.

Seattle will once again be back in action at Starfire next tuesday, as they host Eric Wynalda’s Cal FC. Cal FC beat the Portland Timbers 1-0 in extra time on Wednesday, becoming the first USASA side since Dallas Roma in 2006 to knock off an MLS team in the Open Cup. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Pacific/10:30 p.m. Eastern.

LINEUPS:

ATL- Joe Nasco (GK); Shane Moroney, Martyn Lancaster, Jose Burciaga, Jr., Raphael Cox; Tony McManus (Jordan Davis 84′), Ciaran O’Brien, Danilo Turcois, Borfor Carr (David Santamaria 72′); Matt Horth (Nico Colaluca 63′), Reinaldo Navia. SUBS NOT USED: Daniel Illyes (GK), Lucas Paulini, Willie Hunt, Lindemar Ferreira.

SEA- Bryan Meredith; Marc Burch, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Zach Scott; Alex Caskey, Andy Rose, Osvaldo Alonso (Servando Carrasco 72′), Cordell Cato; Sammy Ochoa (Roger Levesque 70′), Eddie Johnson (David Estrada 46′). SUBS NOT USED: Andrew Weber (GK), Brad Evans, Fredy Montero, Christian Sivebaek.

SCORING
SEA: Andy Rose 44′
SEA: Osvaldo Alonso (Cordell Cato) 47′
ATL: Reinaldo Navia (Moroney) 53′
SEA: Alex Caskey 54′
SEA: Sammy Ochoa (Osvaldo Alonso) 62′
SEA: Sammy Ochoa 66′

BOOKINGS:
ATL- Reinaldo Navia 59′ (caution; Reckless Tackle)
SEA- Marc Burch 59′ (caution; Unsporting Behavior)
ATL- Jordan Davis 87′ (caution; Reckless Foul)

STATS:
Shots: ATL- 8; SEA- 24
Saves: ATL- 9; SEA- 2
Fouls: ATL- 11; SEA- 8
Corners: ATL- 2; SEA- 10
Offsides: ATL- 4; SEA- 4

Referee: Josh Wilkens
Referee’s Assistants: Ron Lagraff, Jeremy Hanson
4th Official: Chipalo Street
Attendance: 3,703
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 65 degrees

4 Comments

  • Duffy says:

    The start to this years Open Cup has been awesome. The gap between the MLS and the lower divisions is shrinking. Oh yeah the Sounders are now 18 and 0 in the Open Cup.

  • USA says:

    you mean the gap between the mls reserves against the smaller divsions (except portland they used some strong players like nagbe and boyd)

    • Josh Hakala says:

      Depth-wise, MLS teams are superior, but with most MLS teams not putting their absolute best team out there (not that there’s anything wrong with that, you should be able to field SOME reserves and still win Open Cup games), the best 11 from a lower division team, on any given Tuesday (or Wednesday) COULD get a result. MLS rosters are getting better and better, and with that, better players don’t make the cut, and end up with lower division teams. It’s like trickle down soccer economics.

  • Sean says:

    @USA: The Sounders put up a lineup that had mostly their starting rotation players. The back line. The only two stand out non-regulars were Cato and Ochoa.

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