“Unprecedented” is no small thing in a tournament that has been played for 99 years. But that’s what Sounders FC is aiming for today: winning an unprecedented fourth straight U.S. Open Cup. (Here’s our preview from today’s TNT.)
Standing in their way: Sporting Kansas City.
“This is a great opportunity for us (tonight) to do something very special,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “As I said to the players: ‘You can bring your grandkids here and say, ‘That’s me up there. Those are our four Open Cup trophies that we won in a row.’”
What Seattle already has accomplished is rare enough. Last season, it became the first club to win three straight Open Cup titles in 42 years – since the New York Greek-Americans made a run from 1967 to 1969.
The only other three-peaters are the Fall River (Mass.) Marksmen who won in 1930 and ’31 before moving to nearby New Bedford and winning again in 1932 as the Whalers. The same St. Louis club won three straight from 1933 to ’35 under three different names: St. Louis Stix, Baer & Fuller, and St. Louis Central Breweries.
Such runs are rare because this is a single-elimination tournament. One bad game, one hot goalkeeper, one missed call can knock you out. And yet, the Sounders have walked the wire without a net for 18 matches.
But in this unforgiving tournament, no 19th straight win means no fourth straight title.
“It’s a testament to the players, but for sure the coaches: getting guys ready, motivated and believing in winning these one-off games,” general manager Adrian Hanauer said. “… It’s something I’m really proud of as an organization.”
AT SPORTING KANSAS CITY
6 p.m., Livestrong Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan.
TV: GolTV. RADIO: 97.3 FM.
HEAD TO HEAD: The teams played to a 1-1 draw in an MLS regular-season match in June at CenturyLink Field. In Open Cup, Seattle knocked Kansas City – then known as the Wizards — out of the 2009 quarterfinals. The USL Sounders beat them in 2008 on penalty kicks.
NOTES: This is the final match of the 99th U.S. Open Cup, open to all amateur and professional clubs affiliated with U.S. Soccer. … The Sounders have won the last three Open Cup titles. No club has won four straight. … Seattle has never lost in 18 Open Cup matches, outscoring opponents by a combined 43-10. … Seattle advanced with wins over Atlanta, Cal FC, San Jose and Chivas USA. SKC advanced by beating Orlando City, Colorado, the Dayton Dutch Lions and Philadelphia. … In MLS play, Kansas City is 12-7-4 record and 6-3-2 at home. SKC leads the league with a 0.91 goals against average; and 0.64 at home, where they have gone 6-3-2. However, they are 1-2-1 over their last four league matches. … Seattle is 10-5-7. … The Kansas City forecast calls of a high temperature today of 95 degrees with a chance of thunderstorms. … The referee is Ricardo Salazar.
QUOTABLE: “We have a chance to make some pretty big history. … We’re looking forward to it. We know we’ve got a lot of traveling fans coming out. And this is what you dream of: playing for championships.” – Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer.
NEXT: The Sounders return to MLS play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at San Jose.