SEATTLE – They came out in droves, braving both rain and weekday traffic. In all, 35,615 fans saw the Seattle Sounders defeat the Chicago Fire 2-0 Tuesday night. Nearly every one of those fans stayed to witness the trophy presentation after the match. (Aside from, as Kasey Keller pointed out, the section of Chicago Fire fans in the northeast corner of CenturyLink Field.)
After the match, the Sounders thanked their fans for the show of support.
“As our coach said, we have the opportunity to make history,” goal-scorer Fredy Montero said. “We were able to do it not just for our families, but also our fans, and now we have to keep looking forward to the next cups and wins that we have ahead."
The Sounders organization topped the USOC attendance record of 31,311, set in the 2010 final between Seattle and the Columbus Crew. Parts of the upper deck and the Hawks’ Nest — which is generally covered — were opened up to accommodate additional spectators.
The result was an electric atmosphere. Fans witnessed a Fire team that nearly forced overtime despite being outshot 24-6.
"Once they started getting into it in the second half, I knew we were going to get a goal for sure,” midfielder Brad Evans said on the field after the match. “Once we get one, we get two. They were insane tonight, so it was awesome."
In becoming the first Major League Soccer team to win three consecutive titles in any competition, Seattle basked in the triumph in a champagne-doused locker room. Captain Kasey Keller repeated his tribute to the organization’s willingness to bid aggressively for home games, lauding the team’s competitive advantage at Starfire Sports Complex.
Seattle now hold a 13-0-1 record in US Open Cup play, including a stunning 11-0-0 record at home with a 23-6 goal differential.
“Whenever you get a chance to lift a trophy, you know it's a special occasion,” Keller said. “We were so disappointed that first year that we weren't able to host the final. We thought we deserved it; we thought our fans deserved it. But we had a great travel support to DC and we were able to win there.”
In his final season as a player, one got the feeling that Keller would like to make Open Cup finals in Seattle an annual event.
“It's one thing to have a great crowd ... but to be able to back it up and be successful for that crowd is something that I'm so proud of in these last three years that we've been able to accomplish," Keller added.
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com.