The 2011 edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup concluded on Tuesday October 4. Seattle Sounders won the right to host Chicago Fire based on the combination of quality of facilities, guaranteed revenue, fan support, and media availability and coverage. Century Link Field was a sea of rave green as the Sounders attempted to become the third team in history to three-peat as champions of America’s cup.
To borrow a phrase from Josh Hakala’s wonderful site http://thecup.us, Seattle was looking to add their third U.S. soccer major this season and are competitive in all four of those competitions. The U.S. soccer majors are the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, MLS Supporters’ Shield which goes to the team with the highest place in the table at the end of the regular season, MLS Cup which goes to the winner of the postseason tournament, and Concacaf Champions’ League.
The run-down on previous teams who have won any of the four U.S. soccer majors is provided by the great guys over at thecup.us;
All-Time ‘US Soccer Majors’ Winners List
11 – DC United (4 MC, 4 SS, 2 OC, 1 CCC)
8 – Los Angeles Galaxy (2 MC, 3 SS, 2 OC, 1 CCC)
6 – Chicago Fire (1 MC, 1 SS, 4 OC)
5 – Columbus Crew (1 MC, 3 SS, 1 OC)
3 – San Jose Earthquakes (2 MC, 1 SS)
3 – Sporting Kansas City (1 MC, 1 SS, 1 OC)
2 – Houston Dynamo (2 MC)
2 – Seattle Sounders (2 OC)
1 – Colorado Rapids (MC), FC Dallas (OC), Real Salt Lake (MC), New England Revolution (OC), Rochester Rhinos (OC), Tampa Bay Mutiny (SS), Miami Fusion (SS)
(MC – MLS Cup, SS – Supporters’ Shield, OC – US Open Cup, CCC/CCL – CONCACAF Champions Cup/League)
Now Seattle have won 3 majors, all of them the US Open Cup, by way of a very entertaining 2-0 win at CenturyLink Field against Chicago Fire. Unlike regular season games in MLS, both teams had everything to play for in the cup final and both coaches encouraged their players to leave it all out on the field. If you follow MLS games with any regularity, you are well aware of how boring they can be. In home matches teams are willing to settle for a draw, and in away matches teams only expect to escape with a draw. This usually makes for very cautious play in a congested midfield. Tuesday’s match was anything but that.
The buddy I was watching the game with could not believe that these were both MLS teams. They played a much more open style than the NY-LA game we had just finished watching. Patrick Nyarko stormed down the left side for Chicago and Seattle’s Fredy Montero consistently made short darting diagonal runs across the opposition’s back four.
Enjoy the match highlights:
A lot of fuss has been made of Seattle’s relatively easy road to the US Open Cup Final because they never played away from home. By virtue of the somewhat shady closed bidding process, Seattle won the rights to host every game they’ve played for a number of years in the cup. If you support a different MLS team then stir up attendance figures and light the fire under team management to drum up a better bid. However, outside of the politics that so often plagues the sport in America, how can you argue against the crowds that turn out in Seattle? 35,615 people turned out in 58 degree rain to watch their Sounder FC douse the Chicago Fire. That’s impressive for a tournament that does not get the national coverage it deserves.
Also, check out this amazing display from the Emerald City Supporters’ group.