TUKWILA, Wash. — The Seattle Sounders have booked a date with history.
The three-time defending US Open Cup champions will have a chance to add an unprecedented fourth title in a row after advancing past Chivas USA 4-1 in Wednesday's semifinal at the Starfire Sports Complex.
Eddie Johnson opened the scoring with a 31st-minute strike and the Sounders got second-half goals from Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans and Sammy Ochoa to extinguish a late Chivas USA rally. The Sounders will now play Sporting Kansas City in the final at Livestrong Sporting Park on Aug. 8.
Johnson broke open what had been a very tight match with his fifth goal in six games across all competitions. The World Cup veteran timed his run almost perfectly, taking Alonso’s through ball in stride to get into a one-on-one situation with goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. Before Kennedy could cut down the angle, Johnson fired a shot from just inside the penalty area.
Alonso seemingly put the game away in the 48th minute when he scored a penalty to give the Sounders a 2-0 lead.
Behind some rather impressive saves by Kennedy, Chivas refused to go away quietly. His hard work was rewarded when Cesar Romero got behind the Sounders defense. Goalkeeper Bryan Meredith was able to stop the initial shot, but Romero pounced on the rebound and made it 2-1 in the 74th minute.
Chivas USA’s renewed life was short-lived, though.
The Sounders essentially put the match away in the 83rd minute when Montero was able to find Evans all alone on the right side. Evans was able to easily beat Kennedy to the far post, scoring his first goal since the Sounders’ March 7 CONCACAF Champions League match against Santos Laguna. Ochoa put the finishing touch on the match with a goal in the 88th minute.
The second half opened up considerably, but the first half was much quieter.
Aside from Johnson’s goal, it was mostly a frustrating half for both teams, especially for Chivas who were held without a shot. The Rojiblancos seemed to have a particularly hard time with the tight dimensions of Starfire as seemingly every other of Kennedy’s goal kicks bounced harmlessly to his counterpart on the other end.
They did manage to create a couple opportunities though. In the fourth minute, Alejandro Moreno was able to slip his defender and make a run toward the endline, but his cross went through the box. Jorge Villafaña created a similar situation in the 21st minute, sending a dangerous cross through the box that Moreno couldn’t quite catch up to at the far post.
The Sounders, who seemed to settle down as the match went on, managed to force Kennedy into a couple saves on seven shots. Johnson nearly doubled the Sounders’ lead when he took a pass from Fredy Montero about 8 yards out, spun around and forced Kennedy to make a diving stop.
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.