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United falls 2-1 to Seattle Sounders FC in U.S. Open Cup Final

Fredy Montero and Roger Levesque scored late on to give the visiting Seattle Sounders FC their first domestic trophy on their first attempt, via a 2-1 win over D.C. United last night before 17,329 disappointed fans at RFK Stadium. While the “WeWinTrophies.com” sales pitch did wonders in getting a US Open Cup record crowd into RFK, the soccer from the home side definitely let down the occasion. Josh Wicks was sent off after he stomped on the arm of Montero just seconds after he scored the opening goal in the 67th minute. Wicks, who was easily the player of the match to that point with a number of stunning one-v-one saves in the first half alone, was incensed at his sending off though television replays clearly showed a pure lack of class on the goalkeepers part.

Up to this point in the match thought it was the visitors who had bossed most of the games scoring opportunities. United only had a few chances that even bothered Kasey Keller and got nothing of danger inside the penalty area as the Black and Red were forced to unleash long range chances on goal. That all changed in the 67th minute when Freddie Ljunberg was sent in by Montero and his stabbed toe-poke was well saved from Wicks only to see the rebound fall right into the path of the Colombian striker. As he lay on the ground Wicks inexplicably stepped on his arm. Although the head referee Alex Prus and assistant linesman Rob Fereday missed the play, fourth official Andrew Chapin saw it clearly from midfield, as did many United fans seated just behind on the Quiet Side of RFK.

With United trailing and now down to ten men, Head coach Tom Soehn inserted backup goalkeeper Milos Kocic and subbed out the ineffective Christian Gomez. United poured forward to no avail as shot after shot was blocked by the bunkered in Sounders defense and then Seattle put the game past all doubt in the 86th minute on a counter attack. United defender Dejan Jakovic was left alone to defend Seattle forward Sebastian Le Toux down the left sideline. Le Toux seemed to get away with a foul just before they got to the end line and the Frenchman simply fed the ball across the goalmouth to waiting substitute Roger Levesque to put away for a 2-0 lead.

What little life United had remaining did conjur up a goal to halve the deficit in the 89th minute. Santino Quaranta’s free kick was deflected right into the path of Clyde Simms who easily slotted into the goal and gave United a brief albeit fading lifeline. United sent the kitchen sink forward but never really threatened to score in the resulting 5 minutes of stoppage time allowed by Prus.

Seattle Sounders FC walked into RFK Stadium with a ton of bravado and walked out with a well deserved U.S. Open Cup championship to take back to the Emerald City. United sits and waits for a rematch in 10 days at RFK.

United does it again, pulling off 3-3 comeback in Seattle

A late own-goal courtesy of Seattle defender Tyrone Marshall gave United an improbable 3-3 draw Wednesday night in Seattle, Washington. United battled back from 3-1 second half defecit to send home a demoralized crowd of 29,104 at Qwest Field. Second half substitute Christian Gomez scored in the 63rd minute to draw United back to within a goal at 3-2 and United pressed forward in the open match and got the equalizer in the 87th minute thanks to Marshall.

 

Chris Pontius, who scored the games opening goal in the 34th minute, whipped in a cross from the left flank that Santino Quaranta just managed to get a slight touch to. That touch put Marshall in a no-win situation as the ball caromed off his head and past Kasey Keller to stun the sell-out crowd. United has now completed it’s fifth comeback late in the match to salvage a result that seemed very much in doubt considering the overall poor defensive effort from the Black and Red.

United’s defense was torn apart on numerous occasions and if not for the heroic efforts of Josh Wicks in goal, United very well may have lost this game by a large margin. Wicks made point blank saves in the second half on Fredy Montero, Freddie Ljunberg and Sebastian Le Toux to keep United in the match after they were trailing 2-1 at the intermission.

 

United took the lead against the run of play in the 36th minute when Quaranta sent in a diagonal ball over the defense to the back post where Pontius’ one-time volley shot past Kasey Keller. The lead didn’t last very long though when in the 38th minute Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso uncorked a 30-yard Goal of the Year candidate that Wicks did very well to get a hand to before it blew past him into the upper 90. Seattle fed off the energized crowed and doubled their lead after United were guilty of sloppy defending. Dejan Jakovic won the ball on the left flank and then cheaply gave the ball away to set off the counter that gave Seattle the 2-1 lead in the 45 minute. Jakovic’ casual giveaway led to Nate Jaqua slipping behind United’s defense and his seemingly weak shot was redirected by Marc Burch past the helpless Wicks and Seattle had all the momentum heading into the locker room.

 

The beginning of second half saw the defensive miscues continue as Jakovic badly mis-played a bouncing ball that allowed Montero in alone on Wicks but the big man came up with the save. It was yet another mind-numbingly bad play by United that got Seattle a 3-1 lead in the 57th minute. Luciano Emilio, showing all the rust of his one-week suspension for a red card, made a horrific backpass right to Fredy Montero who took off towards goal and managed to juke and jive his way into the box and curled a left-footed beauty through a screen of March Burch and into the far side netting.

 

In spite of their worst defensive effort of the season, United drew on their ability to know that even facing a two-goal deficit, they still had a chance. Gomez got it started when he got onto a loose ball and pushed towards the penalty area and hit a laser that beat Keller low and to his right to pull United back. Seattle coach Sigi Schmid felt relatively comfortable in pulling his three most dangerous attacking players in Montero, Ljunberg and Jaqua and it came back to bite him as United got that late equalizer that no doubt sent the calls of second-guessing towards the coach.

 

Although United felt very fortunate to get a result from this match, it has to give the team some confidence in going forward on Saturday night against the Colorado Rapids in Commerce, Colorado. United has lost both of their matches at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and has had a terrible record overall in the Mile High City through their history. The match will be live on ComcastSportsnet at 9:30 pm EST

 

 

United Notes

 

– As has been mentioned numerous times already by various people, the Seattle Sounders FC experience simply has to be witnessed in person. Television does not do the atmosphere justice and that is only half the story. 1st Avenue in downtown Seattle is about as perfect a soccer experience that one can witness. Driving to the stadium you see countless bars absolutely packed with Seattle supporters in their green X-Box shirts and scarves and the streets flooded with passion and pride. It was an amazing thing to witness.

 

– Ben Olsen was on the 18- man roster and he’ll probably figure prominently in the match in Colorado on Saturday.