Seattle Sounders vs. Chicago Fire
2014 US Open Cup Semifinals
August 13, 2014, 10:30 pm ET
Starfire Sports Complex, Tukwila, Wash.
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The second semifinal of the 2014 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup semifinal match kicks off Wednesday night between the Seattle Sounders and Chicago Fire, two teams that are no strangers to success in the domestic cup.
The Sounders and Fire have won a combined seven USOC titles, with the Fire holding an MLS-record four championships, the most recent coming in 2006. Chicago have played in a whopping 10 USOC semifinal matches. The Sounders' most recent USOC championship came in 2011, against none other than Chicago
The winner of Wednesday's game will play the final away at the winner of Tuesday’s semifinal between the Philadelphia Union and FC Dallas.
SOUNDERS' CUP RUNNETH OVER: The USOC title isn’t the only cup the Sounders are aiming for. They currently lead in the Supporters’ Shield table with 41 points from 21 games following their 2-0 win Sunday over the Houston Dynamo. And as such, their ideal scenario would be the first-ever “trifecta” of a Supporters’ Shield, MLS Cup and USOC title since the league was founded in 1996.
Considering their dominance this year in MLS play – with their only blip coming in a two-game losing streak that ended Sunday – they're the odds-on favorites to complete such a sweep. The return of defenders Chad Marshall and Djimi Traore, who were absent with injuries during their two-game losing streak, give Seattle virtually a full choice of players for the coming push.
FIRE NOT EXTINGUISHED YET: Hypothetically, the Fire still have a chance at lifting two trophies this season despite struggling mightily in MLS play. Their 1-0 win Sunday over the New York Red Bulls, just their fourth this season, moved them two within just two points of the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Sure, they’ve only earned 25 points from 22 games, but everything is still possible in the wide-open East. And head coach Frank Yallop expressed gratitude after Sunday’s win that his side hasn’t thrown in the towel yet.
“I’m really proud of the guys, the way they’ve hung in there and not lost focus,” Yallop said. “We’re not a bad side, we’re still growing and it’s easy to chuck the towel in and get complacent and turn on each other.”
YEDLIN EXPECTED TO START: The status of DeAndre Yedlin, the Sounders rising star following his breakthrough World Cup performance for the US national team, has been uncertain following his trip to Europe to meet with unidentified club vying for the 20-year-old’s services. Yedlin was on hand for Seattle’s victory Sunday over the Dynamo but only as an observer.
However, Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid said Tuesday that Yedlin was still with the club and was expected to start Wednesday, even as the finishing touches are put on the deal.
“[Yedlin] is out here, he trained with us today. We think everything’s going to be finished and done,” Schmid said. “Our expectation is that he will start tomorrow.”
MAGEE OUT: The Fire’s leading scorer Mike Magee, who has seven goals in MLS play and another in the Open Cup, will stay behind in Chicago after being handed a one-game suspension for his involvement in an altercation leading to a red card in last month’s quarterfinals win over the Atlanta Silverbacks.