Without a doubt, the Seattle Sounders FC has proven themselves as worthy of all the hoopla and hype surrounding the team’s young existence. What better way to shatter the words of skeptics than by making history—again.
On Wednesday of last week, the Sounders became the first MLS club to win two consecutive Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophies in roughly 30 years, with a final score of 2-1 against the Columbus Crew.
Seattle’s players and coaches were not the only ones rewriting the history books, though. Loyal fans cheering on the game at Qwest Field found themselves contributing, one by one, to an unprecedented attendance record of 31, 311 for the Open Cup.
Match play was started at 7pm with clear skies and not a drop of rain in sight. The Sounders lined up their strongest men throughout the field, including goalkeeper veteran Kasey Keller, forwards Fredy Montero and Steve Zakuani, midfielder Osvaldo Alonso and strikingly massive center, Blaise Nkufo. Columbus wasn’t taking any risks either, stacking up talent with key forward Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Steven Lenhart.
During the first few minutes, it was clear that both teams were ready to fight until the demise of the opposition. First to put a point on the board was Crew’s Kevin Burns, who drove a good shot on the ground right pass Sounders defense and Keller, bringing the score to 1-0 in the 24th minute. After a fleeting moment of confusion and shock, the green guys took possession and stood strong, being rewarded in the 38th minute with a follow-up goal by Sanna Nyassi, who’s raw determination and ball-handling skills were equally vital in play.
At the break for halftime, the score was frozen at a 1-1 draw.
After multiple attempts on goal by either club in the second half, the Sounders broke the tie in the 66th minute with a huge play by Montero, Zakuani and Nyassi when the ball was crossed and shot by the forwards but hit the crossbar, falling to the quick feet of Nyassi who thusly placed it in the net with a beautifully aimed left-footer. The score remained 2-1 in Seattle’s favor the rest of the heated-match, with a couple notable efforts by the Crew’s offense that went without results.
The whistle was blown at the end of the four minutes allotted for stoppage time, effectively emptying the Sounder’s bench that thusly stormed the field, congratulating the players with hugs and high-fives, bringing the team together for a celebratory huddle at the half-line. But the guys in green wouldn’t be their classy selves if they didn’t acknowledge the roaring fans around them, which they did shortly after time was called. In traditional Sounders-style, the entire club said “thank you” by walking around the perimeter of the sidelines, and clapping for the crowd with hands high above their heads.
Since day one as an official MLS franchise, the Guys in Green have persevered and pushed through the critic’s haze of doubt and given fans even more reasons for their adoration. Here’s another one. – Congrats, Sounders FC! You make Seattle proud! –