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Seattle Sounders FC Earn Second Consecutive Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Title in Front of Record-Setting Crowd at Qwest Field

  • Sanna Nyassi Notches His First Two Open Cup Goals to Lead Sounders to Title
  • Sounders Become First MLS Team to Win Back-to-Back Open Cup Titles and First Team Overall Since Early ‘80s 
  • 31,311 Fans at Qwest Field Sets Open Cup Attendance Record

CHICAGO (Oct. 5, 2010) — In front of the largest crowd to ever witness a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final in the history of the 97-year-old tournament, the Seattle Sounders FC became the first team to repeat as champion in almost three decades with a 2-1 victory this evening against the Columbus Crew at Qwest Field.

After winning their first Dewar Trophy last year in Washington, D.C., the Sounders had the support of 31,311 fans to become the first MLS team to earn back-to-back Open Cup championships and the first team overall since the New York Pancyprian-Freedoms won consecutive titles in 1982 and 1983.

The record attendance smashed the old mark of 21,583 set in 1929. Dating back to 1914, the U.S. Open Cup is the oldest cup competition in United States soccer and is among the oldest in the world.

The vehemently pro-Sounders crowd helped Seattle handle one of the top teams in the league this season, even after falling behind in the first half when Crew midfielder Kevin Burns tallied in the 25th minute. The speed and talent of Seattle’s attacking players were too much for the Crew, and Sanna Nyassi put away his first two goals in Open Cup play to provide Seattle with the victory.

“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.”

Forward Fredy Montero was the catalyst for Seattle early on, taking their first three shot attempts. The first attempt came just two minutes in when the Colombian met a looping cross in the penalty area but his close-range header was saved by Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum. Less than a minute later, Montero ripped a strike from distance that went just over the bar.

The next 14 minutes were fairly quiet until Steve Zakuani dribbled up the middle of the field before laying it off to his right for Montero, who unleashed a low strike that Gruenebaum was able to get in front of for the save.

Despite the Sounders having most of the momentum, Columbus struck first with a precise passing sequence that started near midfield. 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.

The tally was Burns’ first professional goal since joining Major League Soccer and the Columbus Crew through the 2007 Supplemental Draft.

With the record crowd on hand silenced after the Crew goal, Seattle had to regroup, but it did not take long until they were on the attack again and eventually found the equalizer in the 38th minute. Starting from a throw-in, the ball was served into the penalty area by defender Tyson Wahl towards Sanna Nyassi but Gruenenbaum came dashing off his line to punch it away. With the ‘keeper well off his line, the ball fell to Nathan Sturgis before Schelotto poked the ball away and it fell back towards the top of the box and the feet of Nyassi. The Gambian-born midfielder took full advantage, doing well to turn on the ball and hit a strike past the stranded Genenbaum.

In the second half, Seattle created a number of dangerous attacks early on as they once again took control of the rhythm of the game, but could not find a clean strike on goal.

On the other end, Eddie Gaven created one of the few opportunities for Columbus in the 64th minute after playing a give-and-go on the left sideline. After getting the ball back from Schelotto, Gaven darted into the center of the field before hitting a well-struck shot; but the low drive was not much trouble for Keller.

Two minute later, Nyassi provided the game-winner with an easy finish into an open net. Montero sent in a cross from the right side to the left corner of the six yard box where Zakuani got in front of Hejduk and nodded the ball past Genenbaum, only to be denied by the crossbar.. The ball fell directly in front of the goal and Nyassi pounced to finish with a left-footed strike.

Trailing, Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made all three of his substitutions before the 82nd minute, bringing in Andres Mendoza (78th), Emilio Renteria (78th) and Robbie Rogers (81st) in the hope of creating a spark in the last part of the match. Rogers, who recently came back after an injury, came inches from providing the equalizer when he hit a one-time effort from 12 yards that beat Keller but clanged off the crossbar.

“I say you’ve always got to dodge a few bullets to win a game,” said Schmid. “If you’re playing a good team, you’re not going to shut them down completely. Luck was a little bit on our side there but we always worked very hard and we deserved it.”

Along with getting their team name engraved on the Dewar Cup, Seattle is awarded $100,000 in prize money and has earned a spot in next year’s CONCACAF Champions League. As the second place team, Columbus takes away $50,000.

Open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the United States, the annual U.S. Open Cup is a 97-year-old single-elimination tournament. In 1999, the U.S. Open Cup was renamed the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup to honor the long-time soccer supporter and pioneer.

- U.S. Soccer Match Report -

Match: Columbus Crew vs. Seattle Sounders
Date: October 5, 2010
Competition: Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
Venue: Qwest Field; Seattle
Kickoff: 7 p.m. PT
Attendance: 31,311
Weather: Clear, 60 degrees

Scoring Summary:     1     2     F
CLB                             1     0     1
SEA                             1     1     2

CLB – Kevin Burns (Steven Lenhart)     24th minute
SEA – Sanna Nyassi                           38
SEA – Sanna Nyassi (Steve Zakuani)    66

CLB: 30-Andy Gruenebaum; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 14-Chad Marshall, 6-Andy Iro, 29-Shaun Francis, 12-Eddie Gaven (18-Robbie Rogers, 81), 16-Brian Carroll, 17-Emmanuel Ekpo, 15-Kevin Burns (20-Emilio Renteria, 78); 32-Steven Lenhart (10-Andres Mendoza, 78), 7-Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
Subs not used: 1-William Hesmer, 4-Gino Padula, 22-Adam Moffat, 23-Eric Brunner
Head Coach: Robert Warzycha

SEA: 18-Kasey Keller (capt.), 7-James Riley, 4-Patrick Ianni, 31-Jeff Parke, 5-Tyson Wahl; 23-Sanna Nyassi (15-Alvaro Fernandez, 79), 6-Osvaldo Alonso, 12-Nathan Sturgis, 11-Steve Zakuani (24-Roger Levesque, 89); 17-Fredy Montero (21-Nate Jaqua, 89), 9-Blaise Nkufo.
Subs not used: 14-Tyrone Marshall, 20-Zach Scott, 22-Mike Seamon, 28-Terry Boss
Head Coach: Sigi Schmid

Stats Summary: CLB / SEA
Shots: 10 / 10
Shots on Goal: 1 / 5
Saves: 3 / 1
Corner Kicks: 2 / 6
Fouls: 10 / 11
Offside: 0 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
SEA – James Riley (caution) 23rd minute
CLB – Shaun Francis (caution) 28
CLB – Brian Carroll (caution) 41
SEA – Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 74
SEA – Sanna Nyassi (caution) 75
CLB – Guillermo Barros Schelotto (caution) 87

Referee: Michael Kennedy
Assistant Referee 1: Thomas Supple
Assistant Referee 2: Paul Scott
Fourth Official: Ricardo Salazar