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U.S. Open Cup Scoring Leaders Put Entire Focus on Title Opportunity

It is only fitting that the finalists for the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup also have the top two scorers in the tournament’s modern history.

Philadelphia Union striker Sebastien Le Toux, the top scorer with 14 goals, will go up against Seattle Sounders FC forward Kenny Cooper who is tied for second with 13 tallies, when both teams face each other on Tuesday in the U.S. Open Cup Final at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania (7:30 p.m. ET, GolTV).

Tuesday’s game, however, is entirely focused on the trophy and far less about who is leading that scoring race.

“I want him to score two goals, but we win 3-2,” Le Toux said. “So he passes in front of me and we win the Cup.

“The fact that we are both leading scorers is a nice thing, but it’s not what we want. We are both looking at the trophy right now and we want to get it no matter what.”

For both forwards, their professional paths crossed once before when they were New York Red Bulls teammates in 2012. Cooper was the team’s leading scorer that year with 18 goals in MLS play. Le Toux had a down season with five goals between Vancouver and New York that year, but he has found his scoring touch again this season with the Union.

“Seba’s been doing great this year,” Cooper said. “We met each other a long time ago in Dallas and had the opportunity to play with each other in New York a couple years ago. He’s a great guy and a great player. I’m happy for his success and the great form he’s in right now.”

Cooper is in search of his first U.S. Open Cup crown while Le Toux is in search for his second. The French forward assisted Roger Levesque’s game-winning goal in the 2009 U.S. Open Cup Final as the Major League Soccer expansion side Seattle Sounders FC defeated host D.C. United 2-1 at RFK Stadium.

“It’s a competition that I’ve won one time before, so it’s very important,” Le Toux said. “I feel lucky to have won a final five years ago and I just hope to win again. It’ll be difficult, but we’ll try to be ready.”

Sigi Schmid

Along with the title, the U.S. Open Cup winner also will be rewarded with a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League, a familiar competition for Seattle after participating in 2012-13.

“Champions League is a competition that we’ve been in in the past. We enjoy that competition and look forward to it,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “Getting knocked out in the semis [against Santos Laguna] the last time around gave us a taste of how close we can get to the final game. Being able to eliminate a team from Mexico (Tigres UANL) was something that was special at the time. But that’s far in the future.”

For Philadelphia-area native and Union interim head coach Jim Curtin, a two-time winner of the U.S. Open Cup, this year’s tournament carries more significance in his eyes.

“It’s something that means a lot to me, being from this city,” Curtin said. “To do it here would be special. It’s different than a player. I’ve won this competition twice as a player and I lost it once as a player, but as a coach it carries a little more weight. As a player you’re a little more selfish in your thinking and that it’s the team and the individuals. Sure, it’s for the city as well. But being from here, I feel more of the weight, not to let the city down. We want to win.”

U.S. Open Cup Press Conference

The Philadelphia Union and Seattle Sounders FC meet in the championship match tomorrow at PPL Park to decide the winner of the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Today's final press conference in advance of the game begins at 2 p.m. ET and will feature Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin and midfielder Sebastian LeToux as well as Seattle Sounders FC manager Sigi Schmid and forward Kenny Cooper.

Sounders in Familiar Territory with U.S. Open Cup Title on the Line

Kenny Cooper has a personal incentive to extend Seattle Sounders FC’s dominance in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

“Lamar Hunt’s name is on [the trophy],” Cooper said. “Lamar’s name is special to my family. My dad played for the Dallas Tornado, which he owned then, and when I first came to league, he was the owner of FC Dallas, where I started.

“I would love to win with this.”

He will get his opportunity Tuesday in Chester, Pennsylvania, at PPL Park when Seattle plays the Philadelphia Union in the Cup final (7:30 p.m. ET, GolTV), the fifth time in six years it has reached the championship match and chance at a fourth title.

Beside the family pride, a win also would put Cooper on par with his father, Ken Cooper Sr., in bragging rights at holiday family dinners. The British-born elder Cooper, who began his goalkeeping career with the Blackburn Rovers, won the 1971 North American Soccer League title with the Tornado.

“He has an NASL ring,” the younger Cooper said. “He’s one up on me at the moment. I’d love to win an MLS Cup ring one day, be part of a team that wins all three things. We’re fighting for all three trophies: the Supporters’ Shield, MLS and the Open Cup. I’d love to wear a ring like my father.”

Kenny Cooper

Cooper has played in the Open Cup final before, in 2007, when he came on late in the second half but could not rally FC Dallas from a one-goal deficit and the New England Revolution claimed the title with a 3-2 victory.

This season, Cooper  seems to be determined to claim a title. While he has three goals in 20 MLS games, Cooper has scored a tournament-leading six in four games in the Open Cup.

It is a determination that fits well with Seattle’s approach to the U.S. Open Cup, and the team’s seemingly ownership of it.

“We take a lot of pride in the competition,” said Sounders technical director Chris Henderson. “Even when we played as USL challengers, we went pretty deep into the tournament. That has continued on.

“If you have one night off, you’re out. It’s a knockout. I think we’re 21-3, including PKs. There’s a lot pride in the club in this. To be able to go as far we have, it’s one of hardest competitions to win.”

As a player with six different MLS clubs, Henderson only remembers reaching the semifinals, and most of the teams he played on treated the Open Cup as an afterthought.

“It’s certainly not like that here,” Henderson said.

Seattle won the Open Cup over the first three years the club played in Major League Soccer: 2009, 2010 and 2011. It reached the final in 2012 but lost to Sporting Kansas City.

Last year, Seattle lost its opening game in the tournament to the NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies, a 1-0 defeat that eliminated the team in the third round. It was a harbinger of a disappointing season that saw the team go winless in its last seven and get eliminated from the MLS Playoffs at the conference semifinal stage.

It was an experience Seattle did not want to repeat. It may seem commonplace for Seattle to win the Cup, but not to the Sounders.

“It never gets routine,” said manager Sigi Schmid, who in addition to the three Open Cups he’s won with Seattle also won one with Columbus, as well as two MLS Cups, a CONCACAF Champions Cup and three College Cups. “To win a fourth Open Cup in six years of existence, I think, is a pretty good statement.

“It’s one of two trophies you can win, maybe although you could count the Supporters’ Shield as a third. I’ve said that if you’re going to enter something, you try to win it. If you’re not trying to win, don’t enter.”

U.S. Clinches Berth to 2010 FIFA World Cup With Thrilling 3-2 Win In Honduras

• Conor Casey Scores First Two International Goals
• Donovan Nets Game-Winner on Free Kick in the 71st Minute
• U.S. Faces Costa Rica on Wednesday at RFK Stadium with a Chance to Finish Atop Hexagonal Table

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (Oct. 10, 2009) — The U.S. Men’s National Team qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa in dramatic fashion with a 3-2 win against Honduras with five goals scored and a penalty missed by Honduras in a heart-stopping second half.

More than 45,000 Honduran supporters rocked Estadio Olímpico in San Pedro Sula, uniting behind their national team despite the domestic political strife dominating international headlines. After a scoreless first half that saw both teams shooting off-target, the second half turned into an instant classic with the U.S. getting the deciding goal in the 71st minute from a free kick by midfielder Landon Donovan.

Forward Conor Casey provided the heroics for the U.S., scoring the first two goals of his international career in the 55th and 66th minutes, and setting up the Donovan freekick. It was Casey’s third appearance in the 2010 qualifying cycle, and the 15th of his career.

The Honduras faithful thought their side would draw even in the 87th minute when the referee awarded a penalty kick in their favor. Carlos Pavon, the all-time leading scorer for Honduras with 55 career goals, shockingly blasted his penalty over the crossbar. Despite the misfortune, the Honduran crowd showed their class by offering the U.S. team a warm ovation following the match.

The U.S. team returns from Honduras to face Costa Rica at RFK Stadium on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. with first place in CONCACAF qualifying on the line. More than 20,000 tickets have been sold for the match that will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Galavision. Tickets are available at ussoccer.com. To finish first in the group, the U.S. needs to maintain its one-point lead in the standings ahead of Mexico, who travels to Trinidad & Tobago.

“This was the most important game in qualifying because it was the one that qualified us for South Africa 2010,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “The celebration was a very good one because when you have a group that has come together, that has worked hard, that has grown, when they’ve accomplished something it’s a special feeling. Tonight we can all share that feeling.” 

More Quotes

After Honduras got things started with a handful of shots in the first few minutes of the game, the U.S. had the first dangerous opportunity in the 18th minute on a second consecutive corner kick by Donovan. His in-swinger from the left side bounced once in the middle of the penalty area and skipped to an unmarked Carlos Bocanegra. The bounce was too high for Bocanegra to get on top of and he headed the chance over the crossbar.

Eleven minutes later, Carlo Costly perfectly timed his run to beat the U.S. to a clearance over the heads of the U.S. back line. As he dribbled toward goal, he scuffed his shot just inches wide of Tim Howard’s right post.

Back the other way, the U.S. had their best chance to score of the half. Casey held the ball just across midfield on the right side and sent Stuart Holden, who was making his first World Cup qualifying start, free down the line. With plenty of time, Holden sent a pinpoint cross to Davies, whose header from eight yards was saved by Noel Valladares reaching back across his body. The rebound came right back to Davies, but he hit his follow-up effort above the crossbar.

After a scoreless first half, the complexion of the game changed completely just 20 seconds into the second half. U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu fell and made a clumsy foul that set up a Honduras freekick just a yard outside of the U.S. penalty area. Julio Cesar de Leon took a one-step approach on his right-footed shot that curled over the U.S. wall and under the cross bar, just out of the reach of Howard in the 47th minute.

The U.S. answered eight minutes later with Onyewu getting involved in the goal. The U.S. center back served a 50-yard ball to the top of the penalty area, where Davies won the header and popped the ball high in the air. As it came down at the top of the six yard box, Casey spun in the air as he challenged Valladares for the ball, and he made first contact with the back of his head before the goalkeeper could get a hand on it. The ball bounced once before going into the empty goal.

In the 64th minute, forward David Suazo came on for Honduras and moments later he made a great diagonal run right from left to right. He received the ball in stride before unleashing a shot from the right side of the area to the far post that forced Howard to make his best save of the night with a two-handed parry to keep the ball from curling inside the far post.

In the 66th minute, the U.S. took the lead that it would not relinquish. Onyewu stepped in at the top of the U.S. penalty area to win a through ball, and carried the ball forward before he found Davies available on the left wing at midfield. Davies took the ball across midfield before playing it square to Donovan. Donovan dribbled toward the middle and threaded the defense for Casey who got behind the last defender in the area. Casey faked a shot to get Valladares to go down, and then calmly slotted the ball inside the right post.

A minute later, Jonathan Bornstein nearly doubled the U.S. advantage with a 25-yard blast that Valladares pushed back into play. Holden followed up but his shot from the right was blocked by a defender.

The U.S. continued to put the pressure on, and Casey earned a free kick after de Leon was whistled for a foul 22-yards from goal. Just three yards further from goal than de Leon scored from earlier in the half, Donovan perfectly placed the ball over Ricardo Clark standing at the end of the wall. Valladares was screened, and couldn’t react in time as the shot sailed over his back shoulder in the 71st minute.

Four minutes later, Wilson Palacios played a soft pass to Suazo who was in behind the U.S. defense on the right side. He played a cross in to Pavon who put the ball into the net from point-blank range. The goal was waived off, however, as Pavon was correctly ruled offside, in front of Suazo and the ball when the pass was played into the center.

In the 78th minute, play seemed to stand still as de Leon played Ramon Nuñez into the U.S. box with two other Honduran players in an offside position. Nuñez dribbled forward to the endline to bring his teammates back into play, and dropped the ball back for Suazo. He found de Leon a few yards away on the right side of the penalty area. De Leon took a touch toward the penalty spot before drilling a shot past a drawn-out Howard to cut the U.S. lead to 3-2.

In the 87th minute, a Nuñez free kick bounced in the area before coming up and hitting Holden’s left arm. Referee Roberto Moreno immediately pointed to the spot, and Pavon – who converted a penalty against the U.S. on Sept. 1, 2001, in Washington, D.C., in the last U.S. loss on home soil – missed the chance to equalize.

The U.S. held on for the next five minutes of regulation plus four minutes of added time to become the first CONCACAF team to win in Honduras during the 2010 qualifying cycle.

Honduras was previously 8-0-0 at home in qualifying for South Africa, and with three goals scored the U.S. matched the total that Honduras had allowed in their prior eight home games. The U.S. is now 5-3-1 on the road in qualifying, the best mark in CONCACAF heading into Matchday 10.

The match was the fourth time in nine qualifies that the U.S. surrendered the first goal. In those four matches, however, the U.S. has earned 10 of their 19 points with three come-from-behind wins and one come-from-behind tie.

With his goals, Casey became the 20th different player to score a goal for the U.S. in 2009 – the most ever in one year for the team. Donovan, with his pass to Casey on the second goal, set the U.S. single-year assist record with 10 to pass Cobi Jones.

The USA joins Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain and Korea Republic as the only teams who have participated in all six World Cup since 1990, including secured berths to South Africa in 2010.

Fans who wish to follow the U.S. team to South Africa are encouraged to join U.S. Soccer Supporters Club, the official fan membership program for fans of the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams. U.S. Soccer SC members will have priority status to purchase 2010 FIFA World Cup tickets through U.S. Soccer, with access ahead of the general public.

Match: United States vs. Honduras
Date: October 10, 2009
Competition: FIFA World Cup Qualifier – Final Round
Venue: Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano – San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Kickoff: 8 p.m. MT
Attendance: TBA
Weather: 80 degrees

Scoring Summary: 1    2    F
USA                        0    3    3
HON                       0     2    2

HON – Julio Cesar de Leon (unassisted) 47th minute
USA – Conor Casey (Charlie Davies) 55
USA – Conor Casey (Landon Donovan) 66
USA – Landon Donovan (unassisted) 71
HON – Julio Cesar de Leon (David Suazo) 78

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-Jonathan Spector, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 12-Jonathan Bornstein; 7-Stuart Holden (6-Steve Cherundolo, 90+3), 13-Ricardo Clark, 4-Michael Bradley, 10-Landon Donovan; 9-Charlie Davies (17-Jozy Altidore, 79), 8-Conor Casey (16-Benny Feilhaber, 84)
Subs not used: 11-Kenny Cooper, 14-Jose Torres, 15-Jimmy Conrad, 18-Brad Guzan
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

HON: 18-Noel Valladares; 16-Mauricio Sabillon, 2-Osman Chavez, 3-Maynor Figueroa, 12-Emilio Izaguirre; 17-Edgard Alvarez (11-David Suazo, 64), 6-Hendry Thomas (7-Ramon Nunez, 75), 8-Wilson Palacios, 10-Julio Cesar de Leon (15-Walter Martinez, 80); 13-Carlo Costly, 9-Carlos Pavon
Subs not used: 1-Ricardo Canales, 5-Erick Norales, 14-Boniek Garcia, 4-Melvin Valladares,
Head Coach: Reinaldo Rueda

Stats Summary: USA / HON
Shots: 16 / 13
Shots on Goal: 7 / 5
Saves: 3 / 4
Corner Kicks: 5 / 5
Fouls: 12 / 16
Offside: 1 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
HON – Osman Chavez (caution) 47th minute
HON – Maynor Figueroa (caution) 73
USA – Jonathan Bornstein (caution) 85

Officials:
Referee: Roberto Moreno (PAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniel Williamson (PAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jaime Smith (PAN)
Fourth Official: Jose Luis Rodriguez (PAN)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match:
Conor Casey

Bradley Names 22-Man Roster To Prepare For Final CONCACAF Qualifying Matches For The 2010 FIFA World Cup Against Honduras and Costa Rica

  • U.S. Sits in First Place in Group With Two Matches Remaining; Four Teams Remain in Contention for Three Automatic Berths to 2010 FIFA World Cup
  • U.S. Takes on Honduras on Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. MT in San Pedro Sula Looking to Spoil Hosts Perfect Record at Home in 2010 Qualifying
  • Final Match of CONCACAF Qualifying Kicks Off at 8 p.m. ET on Oct. 14 at RFK Stadium Against Costa Rica

CHICAGO (Oct. 1, 2009) — U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named a roster of 22 players that will train in advance of the crucial FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Costa Rica that will determine if the United States automatically qualifies for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The U.S. first travels to San Pedro Sula to face Honduras, with kickoff on Oct. 10 at the Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano set for 8 p.m. MT. Four days later, the U.S. returns home for the last match of final round qualifying when they will take on Costa Rica in Washington, D.C. (tickets). Kickoff at RFK Stadium is set for 8 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Galavision. Fans can follow both matches live online via ussoccer.com’s newly upgraded MatchTracker as well at twitter.com/ussoccer.

The U.S. currently sits in first place in the final round hexagonal, collecting 16 points and a 5-2-1 record through eight games. Only four points separate the top four teams with two games remaining, as Mexico sits one point behind the U.S., Honduras has 13 points and Costa Rica lurks just behind with 12 points. The top three teams automatically advance to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, while the fourth place team will participate in a two-leg playoff against the fifth place team from South America.

While a victory in either of its last two matches would ensure the USA’s place in South Africa next year, there are several scenarios in which the U.S. could advance. In order to qualify on Oct. 10, the U.S. would need to earn at least as many points as Costa Rica that day – with Costa Rica hosting Trinidad & Tobago, a team that has already been eliminated – or Costa Rica would have to lose. If the U.S. does not qualify on Oct. 10, it would need at least a tie against Costa Rica on the final match day to guarantee a sixth consecutive appearance in the FIFA World Cup.

Advance tickets for the Costa Rica match starting at $35 are on sale now online at ussoccer.com, through all Washington-Baltimore Ticketmaster outlets (including Macy’s stores), and by phone (Washington 202-397-SEAT (7328); Baltimore 410-547-SEAT (7328); Northern Virginia 703-573-SEAT (7328); out of state 1-800-551-SEAT (7328)). Groups of 20 or more can obtain a group order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290.

“These are hugely important games for us as we have the opportunity to clinch a spot in the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, who has led the U.S. to a 12-3-1 record in World Cup qualifying. “Each of these games presents an opportunity to advance, and we face two very different and difficult challenges against Honduras and Costa Rica. We have been preparing this group for the last three years to be ready for these situations, and we are confident in our ability to get the results we need to achieve our goal of qualifying for South Africa.”

The U.S. roster remains largely unchanged from the team that collected a pair of victories against El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago in the previous two qualifiers. The attack is led by Landon Donovan, who recently became the USA’s all-time leader in World Cup qualifying appearances when he earned his 32nd and 33rd caps in the competition. Donovan has contributed to 10 of the USA’s 14 goals in the final round of 2010 qualifying, amassing two goals and eight assists. He has also tied Cobi Jones for the most assists ever (9) for the U.S. in a calendar year. Jozy Altidore’s game-winning goal in the 2-1 win against El Salvador on Sept. 5 in Sandy, Utah, kept him atop the U.S. scoring chart in this qualifying cycle with six goals, while Clint Dempsey moved into second place with five goals when he tallied the tying goal in that game.

The U.S. defense is backstopped by goalkeeper Tim Howard, who earned the Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. He has posted an impressive eight shutouts in 14 all-time World Cup qualifying appearances, including the 1-0 shutout against T&T on Sept. 9 in Port-of-Spain that gave the U.S. their first away victory in the final round. U.S. captain and defender Carlos Bocanegra is one of four players to have appeared in all eight of the USA’s final round qualifiers thus far, along with Altidore, Dempsey and Donovan. He is second in minutes played in qualifying behind Donovan and just ahead of midfielder Michael Bradley, who earned ussoccer.com Man of the Match honors against T&T and has two game-winning goals and four total in 2010 qualifying. AC Milan defender Oguchi Onyewu is poised to earn his 50th international cap for the United States, while Hannover defender Steve Cherundolo is the only player in the group to have played in the USA’s last visit to Honduras, earning his second-ever cap in a 2-1 victory on March 28, 2001, in the final round of qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

The Houston Dynamo contributes the most players to the roster, sending three to players to the camp that begins Oct. 4 in Miami. Ricardo Clark scored his second international goal and first in qualifying when he netted the critical game-winner against Trinidad & Tobago last month. Brian Ching is tied for third in scoring for the U.S. in this cycle with four goals, while Stuart Holden has entered as a substitute in the USA’s last three qualifiers. Colorado Rapids forward Conor Casey sits in second place in the MLS scoring charts with 15 goals in 21 matches

Honduras holds an unblemished 8-0-0 record at home in 2010 qualifying, including five shutouts and two victories against regional rivals Mexico. During the final round of qualifying, there has been only a single loss at home for one of the top four teams, that coming when Costa Rica fell 3-0 to Mexico on Sept. 5 in San Jose. The U.S. has a lifetime record of 10-2-3 against Honduras, with a 3-1-1 record in World Cup qualifying. The U.S. is 2-1-1 lifetime on Honduran soil, with three of the four visits coming before 1994.

The U.S. faces Costa Rica on Oct. 14 in what could be the definitive match of World Cup qualifying in the friendly confines of RFK Stadium. The venue in the nation’s capital has hosted the national team 18 times, and has been the site of 12 U.S. wins - more than any stadium in the world. Overall, the U.S. is 12-3-4 on East Capitol Street. The most recent victory came in the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup, a 2-0 win against Honduras on July 8 in Group B, with goals from Santino Quaranta and Brian Ching. The U.S. has a lifetime record of 11-11-5 against Costa Rica. In their last 10 meetings, the U.S. holds an even 4-4-2 against the Ticos, with all four wins coming in the U.S. and all four losses coming in San Jose, Costa Rica.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION Click here for full roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa: 5/3 SO), Tim Howard (Everton: 14/8 SO)
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes: 24/3), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA, 4/0), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover: 19/0), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards: 1/0), Clarence Goodson (IK Start: 1/0), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan: 18/1), Jonathan Spector (West Ham: 3/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach: 13/4), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo: 7/1), Clint Dempsey (Fulham: 20/5), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus: 4/0), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo: 3/0), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew: 0/0), José Francisco Torres (Pachuca: 6/0)
FORWARDS (6): Jozy Altidore (Hull City: 11/6), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids: 5/0), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo: 16/6), Kenny Cooper (1860 Munich: 1/1), Charlie Davies (FC Sochaux: 5/2), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy: 33/11)
*numbers indicate all-time World Cup Qualifying caps/goals

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