U.S. Open Cup Legend Ozzie Alonso – in Photos
There’s no legend bigger in the Modern Era of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup than Osvaldo ‘Ozzie’ Alonso. The tenacious holding midfielder, nicknamed ‘the Honey Badger’ during his wildly successful decade with the Seattle Sounders, will play in a record sixth Open Cup Final in 2019 with new club Minnesota United. Of the five Finals he played in so far, he’s won four and lost just one. From a 2008 decider at RFK Stadium with underdogs Charleston Battery of the second-division, to a packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta in 2019 (with four titles in between), Alonso has embodied the opportunities, fighting spirit and fire of America’s oldest soccer tournament.
Ozzie Alonso (1st row 2nd from right) before the 2008 U.S. Open Cup Final between D.C. United and the Charleston Battery at RFK Stadium. Shortly after defecting from his native Cuba in 2007, the holding midfielder helped the underdog second-division Battery reach the Cup Final (they remain the last non-MLS team to do so).
Ozzie Alonso was in the Open Cup wars from the start. Here he fights for the ball with D.C. United’s Clyde Simms in the 2008 Final, which United won by a score of 2-1.
Ozzie Alonso raises up the Open Cup with the Seattle Sounders. The year after losing the Final against D.C. United with the Charleston Battery, he returned to that same RFK Stadium to get revenge. He still considers this 2009 Open Cup triumph – his first – to be the highlight of his four titles.
Ozzie Alonso kisses the trophy after winning the 2009 U.S. Open Cup. It was the first piece of silverware won by the Sounders since joining Major League Soccer earlier that same year. Alonso went on to captain the Sounders to an MLS title (2016) and was named a league All-Star on four occasions.
Ozzie Alonso scored late in the 2011 Open Cup Final to put out the Chicago Fire. He was named Man of the Match and thoroughly enjoyed celebrating at home in Seattle for a third-straight Open Cup crown.
Alonso and his Seattle teammates after the 2011 Open Cup Final – their third time lifting the trophy in a row. It was a proud moment for coach Sigi Schmid, a long-time exponent of the romance and opportunity of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Ozzie Alonso and Clint Dempsey lift the Open Cup in Philadelphia in 2014. This was the last of Seattle and Alonso’s Open Cup crowns and it capped a stretch of four Cup titles in the space of six years. Dempsey and Obafemi Martins scored in overtime to beat the Philadelphia Union 3-1.
The 2019 Open Cup Final in Atlanta will be Ozzie Alonso’s sixth (a record in the tournament’s Modern Era). If he wins with Minnesota United, it would be his fifth Open Cup triumph and MNUFC’s first piece of silverware as a club.
Ozzie Alonso was named captain of Minnesota United by English coach Adrian Heath. The midfielder’s leadership qualities and defensive grit have helped the Loons become one of the top teams in MLS in 2019.
A master of the dirty work, Ozzie Alonso’s presence deep in midfield has been instrumental in MNUFC’s run to the 2019 Open Cup Final. In all, the team scored 15 goals in four games en route to a first-ever Final.
While many of the Open Cup’s legends live trapped in old black-and-white photos, Ozzie Alonso is a living, breathing icon of the 106-year-old tournament – American soccer’s oldest prize.