CHESTER, Pa. – The Seattle Sounders can add some more silverware to their already-packed trophy case. The Philadelphia Union will need to wait a little longer to add the first to theirs.
In the thrilling conclusion to the 2014 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, Clint Dempsey scored the game-winning goal in extra time and Obafemi Martins iced the result with another to lift the Sounders to a 3-1 win over the host Union for Seattle’s fourth championship in the historic tournament.
Dempsey quieted the raucous crowd at PPL Park with a left-footed blast in the 101st minute following a feed from Martins, spoiling the Union’s first championship game in the franchise’s five-year history. Martins beat defender Ray Gaddis and then tucked one in past Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath in the 114thminute to leave no doubt for the high-flying Sounders, who currently own the best record in MLS.
Chad Barrett also scored for the Sounders, who will look to complete the historic treble this year with the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup.
The Union, who stormed to the USOC title game under the direction of interim manager Jim Curtin, opened the scoring with a goal from Maurice Edu. But for the fourth time this year, the Union had an Open Cup game go beyond regulation.
This time, though, they ran out of magic as their 10-game unbeaten streak at PPL Park came to an end.
In the 92nd minute, MacMath made his biggest save of the game, getting a hand on a Martins shot to tip it over the bar. Marco Pappa also struck the crossbar just before the end of the first extra-time period.
The Union nearly scored an incredible game-winner in the stoppage time of regulation. But after Vincent Nogueira forced a turnover around midfield and Cristian Maidana played him free with a great chip, Nogueira’s shot pinged off the post as the game went to extra time tied at 1-1.
After going into halftime trailing 1-0, the Sounders swarmed the Union early in the second half, with Barrett finding the equalizer in the 48th minute.
The play developed after Union center back Carlos Valdes failed to get a good head on a Seattle corner kick, leading to Chad Marshall heading it toward goal. MacMath stopped the Marshall header but Barrett was able to head in the rebound attempt while standing right near the goal line.
It was the fourth career US Open Cup goal for Barrett, who’s scored seven times in league play this season.
Edu got the Union on the board in the 38th minute when he wedged himself between a couple of defenders in the box and headed home a perfect curling free kick from Maidana. The goal – the second of the tournament for Edu – gave the Union a 1-0 lead heading into the break.
In the 10th minute, the Sounders got the first big chance of the game when an Andy Rose cross squirted through the box to Dempsey, who shot it high.
The Sounders got a huge first-half save from goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who used some quick reflexes to stop a one-timer from US Open Cup modern-era scoring leader Sebastien Le Toux following a great cross from Andrew Wenger.
With the game tied 1-1, MacMath – who got the start in front of transfer-window signing Rais Mbolhi – got his hand on a Brad Evans shot to push it wide.
The Sounders nearly broke the 1-1 deadlock in the 76th minute but Dempsey couldn’t get his foot on a Pappa cross following a tremendous buildup. Just one minute later, Martins – who started the game from the bench – had a shot fly just wide.
Just a few minutes before that, DeAndre Yedlin made the defensive play of the game for Seattle when he showed off his tremendous speed by tracking back 30 yards to dispossess Maidana on a breakaway.
With their fourth US Open Cup title, the Sounders are one away from matching the record held by Maccabi Los Angeles and Bethlehem Steel, whom the Union payed homage to with their their alternate uniforms.
The Union stay home to play the Houston Dynamo in an important league match Saturday, while the Sounders remain on the East Coast to play the New York Red Bulls.
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Obafemi Martins||What an option to have off the bench. His speed and power changed the game - decisively - in Seattle's favor.|
|2||Stefan Frei||Seattle's slow start nearly doomed them, and they surrendered chances to Philly all game. But Frei was up to the task.|
Scored the opener and did all he could over 120 minutes to deliver Open Cup glory to the home side.