A night that began with the Chicago Fire on the verge of augmenting their place in US Open Cup history ended in demoralizing fashion as the club set the wrong kind of record.
Head coach Frank Yallop admitted he was “shocked and stunned” by his team’s 6-0 rout – their worst-ever defeat in the Cup – at the hands of the rampant Seattle Sounders, as the Men in Red’s best chance at silverware disintegrated over an action-packed 90 minutes at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.
“I’m shocked and stunned by the result,” a deflated Yallop told reporters after the game. “Seattle were better in every department and it ends up a rout. In the semifinal of anything it’s shocking.”
The Fire boast an impressive success rate in the US Open Cup, with four wins, six final appearances and ten semifinal outings the best of the teams currently playing in MLS. However, it was the Sounders who now progress to a final meeting with the Philadelphia Union and the chance to join the Fire atop the MLS all-time list on four wins.
Despite falling behind to an opportunist strike from ex-Fire striker Chad Barrett in the sixth minute, there was little sign of the rout to follow as Quincy Amarikwa and Jeff Larentowicz both went close to restoring parity.
Andy Rose doubled the lead in the 33rd minute when he rose unmarked to head home a corner from Marco Pappa, another ex-Fire player, before adding a third in the 58th minute to ensure a comfortable closing half hour for Sigi Schmid’s side.
“At 2-0 down you still have a half chance of getting back in the game, but once the third goal goes in we’ve just got to see the game through, really,” Yallop conceded. “You’re not going to get anything out of that match and we were still very naïve in what we did after that. It’s where we’re at; we have a great result at home against New York and then our next game we get beat 6-0. If there’s one word I’d use it would be ‘shocking’ to describe the difference in performance.”
Statistically, the Fire enjoyed 57 percent possession and made 79 percent of 483 passes, in contrast to the Sounders’ 43 percent of 357. Tellingly, however, the home side had 19 shots, 11 on target, to the visitors’ tally of 14/3.
When asked about missing those early chances, Yallop responded: “It’s irrelevant really, you can’t play the game and concede six goals in a match. Whether we scored or not I don’t think it would have changed anything, it would have been 6-1. You’ve got to look at it as a whole, we’ve been battered by a good team at their place and that’s all you can say about it.”