TUKWILA, Wash. — The three-peat is on. Fredy Montero stepped up and buried the lone goal of the match as Seattle defeated FC Dallas 1-0 on Tuesday night at Starfire Sports Stadium to send the Sounders through to the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup final.
Seattle will host the Chicago Fire — who defeated USL Pro side Richmond Kickers 2-1, also on Tuesday — on Oct. 4 at CenturyLink Field for the right to lift the Open Cup crown.
Montero’s 40th-minute goal was one of few scoring chances in an otherwise intense battle.
With both sides facing a bye from MLS play during Labor Day, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid and Dallas boss Schellas Hyndman were free to use their full-strength starting lineups.
For FC Dallas, that included Brek Shea and Maicon Santos, but George John was left out after his taxing transfer saga with Blackburn of the English Premier League. Seattle countered with right back Zach Scott, who was effective against Shea during the teams’ Aug. 20 meeting, and Brad Evans in the middle.
Of the two sides, Seattle certainly had the better of the match in the early going. The Sounders sent many of their attacks up the right side — guarded by FCD left back Jair Benítez — through Mauro Rosales, and it was the Argentine who nearly struck first.
In the 26th minute, Rosales just missed the far post with a drive after Montero and Jeff Parke kept a corner kick alive.
Then, in the 35th, Álvaro Fernández made a move to the baseline and had his shot punched away by a diving Kevin Hartman.
The Sounders, however, were flowing and Montero’s goal capped a period of extended dominance for the home side.
On the goal, Montero faked a shot with his dominant right to lose FCD defender Ugo Ihemelu before pulling the ball onto his left foot. His curling effort from just outside the penalty area nestled softly inside Hartman’s far post for the 1-0 lead.
With FCD looking to reinforce their defense, John came on at halftime for ineffective midfielder Daniel Cruz, with Andrew Jacobson moving from center back into midfield to occupy the spot vacated by Cruz.
While there were plenty of fouls to be called, there weren’t too many scoring chances. FC Dallas were left to rue their best of the night — a laser beam off the foot of Marvin Chávez that squarely caught the near post.
The 49th minute chance was one of only two shots on goal for FCD on the night.
But Dallas kept mounting the pressure and came just shy of equalizing in the final moments of the match as an unmarked Chávez squandered his attempt. With Sounders ‘keeper Kasey Keller out of his net after a scramble, the midfielder failed to put his shot anywhere close to the target, sending his shot wide and putting Seattle in their third straight USOC final.
No matter the winner between Seattle and Chicago on Oct. 4, someone will tie a US Open Cup record. The Fire will be aiming for their fifth title, which would equal a modern-era record, while the Sounders are vying to become only the second team in 98 years to claim three consecutive trophies.
SEA -- Fredy Montero (Alvaro Fernandez) 40
DAL -- Daniel Cruz (caution; Reckless Foul) 12
DAL -- Daniel Hernandez (caution; Dissent) 22
SEA -- Leo Gonzalez (caution; Tactical Foul) 35
SEA -- Brad Evans (caution; Reckless Tackle) 58
DAL -- Ricardo Villar (caution; Reckless Tackle) 63
DAL -- Maicon Santos (caution; Dissent) 63
FC Dallas -- Kevin Hartman, Jair Benitez (Jack Stewart 89), Jeremy Hall, Ugo Ihemelu, Andrew Jacobson, Daniel Hernandez, Daniel Cruz (George John 46), Marvin Chavez, Brek Shea, Ricardo Villar (Jackson 64), Maicon Santos.
Substitutes Not Used: Victor Ulloa, Bobby Warshaw, Andrew Wiedeman, Chris Seitz.
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle 84), Fredy Montero (James Riley 89), Pat Noonan (Mike Fucito 66).
Substitutes Not Used: Erik Friberg, Nate Jaqua, Tyson Wahl, Josh Ford.
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee's Assistants: Mike Rottersman; Paul Scott
4th Official: Jeff Hosking
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 68 degrees