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Sun. Dec 7th at 3:00 PM EST · ESPN · UniMas · UDN · TSN1 · RDS2
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Final

Kick Off: SKC predict "crazy" Livestrong for USOC final

Kick Off - Seattle vs. Sporting Kansas City

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Bring on the Sounders.

Sporting Kansas City will be the latest team to attempt to stop the three-time US Open Cup champion Seattle Sounders when they host them in the 2012 final on August 8.

“It will be a big day in Kansas City,” goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen said. “Livestrong [Sporting Park] will go crazy for that game.”

“Our fanbase has turned into a cult following,” said Sporting manager Peter Vermes. “Now it’s up to us to bring a home a Cup.”

Sporting did their part in last night’s semifinal at Philadelphia with a 2-0 blanking of the Union behind goals from Jacob Peterson and Graham Zusi (watch the highlights here). Zusi’s goal came on an empty netter in garbage time, but it’s the first goal that will haunt Philly GK Zac MacMath: “I know I can save that ball,” he said. “And I should save that ball. I shouldn’t have let it in.”

If the goal wasn’t enough, Peterson left the Union with one last zinger after receiving a postgame Gatorade bath: “These guys think they have a good fanbase, but it’s nowhere close [to KC’s].” (VIDEO)

The Philadelphia Union did a mea culpa with captain Carlos Valdes admitting his team “made too many mistakes.” But revenge also played a factor, according to Philly’s Jack McInerney: "I think beating them, 4-0 [in league play], really didn't do us any good, because they came out and played us real physical.”

Sporting KC didn’t have Matt Besler during that league match at PPL Park, but on Wednesday his partnership with Aurelien Collin, who will miss the final due to yellow-card accumulation, gave the Union nightmares: “I’d give it a 10,” Vermes said about his team defense. “It was perfect. We didn’t give up one good chance all night.”

Referee Jorge Gonzalez did not have the perfect night, according to Union manager John Hackworth: “I felt like [Sporting] had a good game plan and they got some help,” he said. “I’m surprised I was still on the field at the end of the game.”

Chivas USA were run off the field by a dominant Seattle Sounders side, who advance to their fourth straight US Open Cup final (watch the highlights here) with a 4-1 win on goals by Eddie Johnson, Osvaldo Alonso (PK chip), Brad Evans and Sammy Ochoa. (VIDEO)

Watch EJ’s postgame reaction here: “This is one of the biggest games in my career. I’ve won a Gold Cup with the US national team but I haven’t really won anything. And the final is going to mean a lot to me, going back and playing against my old team.” (VIDEO)

Sounders manager Sigi Schmid really wished the final was in Seattle: “It would’ve been great to play at home because I think we would have had more than we had last year. To set the record of four in a row, who knows? Maybe we would have sold out the whole place.” (VIDEO)

Chivas USA manager Robin Fraser summed up the loss this way: “I'd say I'm running short on patience in terms of scoring goals.”

The US Open Cup final won’t disappoint and neither did Toronto vs. Vancouver, which is no surprise. Former Whitecaps player Terry Dunfield scored a 95th-minute stoppage time game-winner against his former club as TFC registered a dramatic 3-2 victory: “I’d be lying I didn’t say if there was one team I could score the winner against, it would be Vancouver,” Dunfield said. He couldn’t contain his excitement in this postgame interview. (VIDEO)

But the goal that is getting all the buzz this morning is “The Leap” by Vancouver rookie Darren Mattocks, who literally hurdled over TFC defender Logan Emory for the momentary 2-2 equalizer in the 90th minute (WATCH the highlights here). When you’re done watching it, check out the photo in which he posterizes Emory.

Mattocks is on some tear, with six goals in six matches. Here’s some trivia you can spring on your fellow supporters today: Last MLS rookie to do it? Find out the answer here.

Vancouver manager Martin Rennie is most disappointed by the fact that the first two Toronto goals came in the span of five minutes that Whitecaps right back Young-Pyo Lee was on the sidelines receiving treatment, leaving his club with 10 men: “That was a major turning point in the game because we were winning and fairly comfortable,” Rennie said.

That made for a double-whammy for the Whitecaps on Wednesday. They also transferred creative midfielder Davide Chiumiento to FC Zurich earlier in the day: “I wanted to finish this season and be in their plans for the future,” Chiumiento told The Province. “We spoke once, but I never really had an offer and I’m 27. I had to think for my future.”

Another player who’s going home is Justin Braun, who was traded by the Montreal Impact to Real Salt Lake: "He's scored 24 goals," says RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey. "That's not two or three goals, that's not 10 goals. That's 24 goals over four full seasons. That's a guy who can score in our league, and those players are always going to be worth something."

Goals are so vital to success. Just ask Colorado Rapids manager Oscar Pareja: “I think the team needs those guys who score goals to step up,” he told the Denver Post. “But I know I need to be patient, because they have been so long out away from the team."

Columbus Crew foreign import Olman Vargas is feeling the heat for not scoring enough. “He’s not hitting the benchmark we thought he was capable of hitting,” says his GM. His coach added: “He’s not playing because he needs to play better. He needs to do more on the field.”

No one knows more about scoring goals than San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski, who is judged to be the runaway MVP of the league at the midpoint of the season. At least according to Sporting News soccer writer Brian Straus.

Wondolowski was at the ESPYs yesterday as was reigning MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario (here’s a photo of DeRo and Steve Nash at the post-party). But the fans think there’s another player who’s better. They said that David Beckham was the best player in MLS. The other soccer winner on the night was Lionel Messi, who was voted “best international athlete.”

It’s true. There’s now a soccer stadium in England that will be called “The Devil Made Me Do It Ground.” Find out how it’s even possible for this to happen.

And we leave you with this unbelievable sequence from the Russian first division. Check out how this cameraman manages to take a tumble which then required stretcher help. The players could barely hold it together during the national anthem, but it was no joke. (VIDEO)

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