TUKWILA, Wash. — Get ready, Seattle. Or should we say, “Three-attle?”
The Seattle Sounders will be going for their third straight Lamar Hunt US Open Cup title after getting past FC Dallas 1-0 Tuesday night. For head coach Sigi Schmid, the opportunity to battle for the franchise’s third title in as many years is a special honor indeed.
"It means a lot,” said Schmid. “We always want to put trophies in there and to be a team to three-peat is something we've got to be proud of because these games are one and done. It's not like we can have a bad game, come back next week and regroup, so I'm very proud of what our team has done."
Seattle’s history in the tournament speaks for itself. After a strong run in the franchise’s first year, Seattle defeated D.C. United on the road for their first Open Cup title. The following season, Seattle celebrated a 2-1 victory in the final over the Columbus Crew in front of their home crowd at then-Qwest Field.
After beating out Chicago in a bid to host the final, the Sounders will hope to replicate that success in the Open Cup final on Oct. 4 at CenturyLink Field. After 4,593 souls packed the Starfire Sports Stadium, goalkeeper Kasey Keller is looking forward to the atmosphere on the night of the final.
“It'll be a big crowd, I'm sure,” Keller said. “We're so happy, obviously. The organization has this facility to be able to bid so we get these good home games, which makes a big, big difference for us. Thanks to them, and now hopefully we can reward everybody with our third [USOC trophy] in a row.”
With the winner of the Open Cup now receiving an automatic bid into the CONCACAF Champions League, Schmid said clubs are placing more importance on the competition. That showed in FC Dallas’ starting lineup, which included national teamer Brek Shea.
The added importance also makes Seattle’s continued success sweeter, especially since the organization has valued the Open Cup highly since its inception.
"It's definitely very motivating and we're all very happy,” said forward Fredy Montero, who scored the lone goal of the match in the 40th minute. “It's not every team that can experience something like that three times in a row."
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinnerMLS